Voiceless bilabial plosive

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Voiceless bilabial plosive
IPA Number101
Entity (decimal)p
Unicode (hex)U+0070
Braille⠏ (braille pattern dots-1234)
Audio sample

The voiceless bilabial plosive or stop is a type of consonantal sound used in most spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨p⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is p.


Features of the voiceless bilabial stop:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also oral, with no nasal outlet, the airflow is blocked entirely, and the consonant is a plosive.
  • Its place of articulation is bilabial, which means it is articulated with both lips.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the centrallateral dichotomy does not apply.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


IPA Description
p plain p
aspirated p
velarized p
palatalized p
labialized p
p with no audible release
voiced p
tense p
ejective p


The stop [p] is missing from about 10% of languages that have a [b]. (See voiced velar stop for another such gap.) This is an areal feature of the "circum-Saharan zone" (Africa north of the equator, including the Arabian peninsula). It is not known how old this areal feature is, and whether it might be a recent phenomenon due to Arabic as a prestige language (Arabic lost its /p/ in prehistoric times), or whether Arabic was itself affected by a more ancient areal pattern. It is found in other areas as well; for example, in Europe, Proto-Celtic and Old Basque are both reconstructed as having [b] but no [p].

Nonetheless, the [p] sound is very common cross-linguistically. Most languages have at least a plain [p], and some distinguish more than one variety. Many Indo-Aryan languages, such as Hindustani, have a two-way contrast between the aspirated [pʰ] and the plain [p] (also transcribed as [p˭] in extensions to the IPA).


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe паӏо/paio About this sound[paːʔʷa]  'hat'
Arabic Algerian پاپيش‎/pāpīš [paːpiːʃ] 'beautiful girls'
Hejazi پول‎/pōl [po̞ːl] 'Paul' Only used in loanwords, transcribed and pronounced as ⟨ب⟩ by many speakers.
Egyptian كبش‎/kabš [kɛpʃ] 'ram' Allophone of [b] before unvoiced consonants. Also used in loanwords.
Armenian Eastern[1] պապիկ/papik About this sound[pɑpik]  'grandpa' Contrasts with aspirated form
Assyrian ܦܬܐ pata [pata] 'face'
Basque harrapatu [(h)arapatu] 'to catch'
Bengali Eastern পানি/panī [paniː] 'water' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Bengali phonology
Chinese Cantonese 爆炸 / baauja About this sound[paːu˧ t͡saː˧] 'explosion' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin 爆炸 / bàozhà About this sound[pɑʊ˥˩ tʂa˥˩] Contrasts with aspirated form. See Mandarin phonology
Catalan[2] parlar [pərˈɫa] 'to speak' See Catalan phonology
Chuvash путене/putene [put̬ʲɛ'nɛ] 'quail'
Czech pes [pɛs] 'dog' See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[3] bog [ˈpɔ̽ʊ̯ˀ] 'book' Usually transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩ or ⟨b⟩. Contrasts with aspirated form, which is usually transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩ or ⟨p⟩. See Danish phonology
Dutch[4] plicht [plɪxt] 'duty' See Dutch phonology
English pack [pʰæk] 'pack' See English phonology
Esperanto tempo [ˈtempo] 'time' See Esperanto phonology
Filipino pato [paˈto] 'duck'
Finnish pappa [ˈpɑpːɑ] 'grandpa' See Finnish phonology
French[5] pomme [pɔm] 'apple' See French phonology
German Pack [pʰak] 'pile' See Standard German phonology
Greek πόδι / pódi [ˈpo̞ði] 'leg' See Modern Greek phonology
Gujarati /pag [pəɡ] 'foot' See Gujarati phonology
Hebrew פּקיד‎/pakid [pakid] 'clerk' See Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindustani पल / پل/pal [pəl] 'moment' Contrasts with aspirated form. See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian pápa [ˈpaːpɒ] 'pope' See Hungarian phonology
Italian[6] papà [paˈpa] 'dad' See Italian phonology
Japanese[7] ポスト / posuto [posɯto] 'mailbox' See Japanese phonology
Kabardian пэ/pė About this sound[pa]  'nose'
Korean / bit [pit̚] 'light' See Korean phonology
Kurdish Northern por [ˈpʰoːɾ] 'hair' See Kurdish phonology
Central پیرۆزە/píroze [pʰiːɾoːzæ] 'lammergeier'
Southern پۊنگه/pûûnga [pʰʉːŋa] 'pennyroyal'
Lakota púza [ˈpʊza] 'dry'
Lithuanian pastatas [ˈpaːstɐtɐs] 'building' See Lithuanian phonology
Luxembourgish[8] bëlleg [ˈpələɕ] 'cheap' Less often voiced [b]. It is usually transcribed /b/, and contrasts with voiceless aspirated form, which is usually transcribed /p/.[8] See Luxembourgish phonology
Macedonian пее/pee [pɛː] 'sing' See Macedonian phonology
Malay panas [pänäs] 'hot' Often unreleased in syllable codas so /p/ is read as [] instead in lembap [ləmbap̚] 'damp'. See Malay phonology
Maltese aptit [apˈtit] 'appetite'
Marathi पाऊस/paa'uus/pā'ūs [pɑːˈuːs] 'rain' See Marathi phonology
Mutsun po·čor [poːt͡ʃor] 'a sore'
Nepali पिता/pitā [pit̪ä] 'father' See Nepali phonology
Norwegian pappa [pɑpːɑ] 'dad' See Norwegian phonology
Odia ଥର/pathara [pɔʈʰɔrɔ] 'stone' Contrasts with aspirated form.
Pashto پانير‎/pa'nir [pɑˈnir] 'cheese'
Persian پول/pul [pul] 'money'
Pirahã pibaóí [ˈpìbàóí̯] 'otter'
Polish[9] pas About this sound[päs]  'belt' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[10] pai [paj] 'father' See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi ਪੱਤਾ/pattaa/pattā [pət̪ːäː] 'leaf'
Romanian pas [pas] 'step' See Romanian phonology
Russian[11] плод/plod [pɫot̪] 'fruit' Contrasts with palatalized form. See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian[12] пиће / piće [pǐːt͡ɕě] 'drink' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak pes [pɛ̝s] 'dog'
Spanish[13] peso [ˈpe̞so̞] 'weight' See Spanish phonology
Swahili pombe [ˈpoᵐbɛ] 'beer'
Swedish apa [ˈɑːˌpa] 'monkey' See Swedish phonology
Thai ป้/paeng [pɛ̂ːŋ] 'powder' See Thai phonology
Tsez пу/pu [pʰu] 'side' Contrasts with ejective form.
Turkish kap [kʰäp] 'pot' See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian[14] павук/pavuk [pɐˈβ̞uk] 'spider' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese[15] nhíp [ɲip˧ˀ˥] 'tweezers' See Vietnamese phonology
Welsh siop [ʃɔp] 'shop' See Welsh phonology
West Frisian panne [ˈpɔnə] 'pan'
Yi / ba [pa˧] 'exchange' Contrasts aspirated and unaspirated forms.
Central Alaskan Yup'ik panik [panik] 'daughter'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[16] pan [paŋ] 'bread'

See also



  • Basbøll, Hans (2005), The Phonology of Danish, ISBN 0-203-97876-5
  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 22 (1–2): 53–56, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004618
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 25 (2): 90–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005223
  • Danyenko, Andrii; Vakulenko, Serhii (1995), Ukrainian, Lincom Europa, ISBN 9783929075083
  • Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L (1993), "Illustrations of the IPA:French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 23 (2): 73–76, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004874
  • Gilles, Peter; Trouvain, Jürgen (2013), "Luxembourgish" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (1): 67–74, doi:10.1017/S0025100312000278
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 22 (2): 45–47, doi:10.1017/S002510030000459X
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (1): 103–107, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001191
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (2): 255–259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344
  • Okada, Hideo (1999), "Japanese", in International Phonetic Association (ed.), Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge University Press, pp. 117–119, ISBN 978-0-52163751-0
  • Padgett, Jaye (2003), "Contrast and Post-Velar Fronting in Russian", Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 21 (1): 39–87, doi:10.1023/A:1021879906505, S2CID 13470826
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 117–121, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001628
  • Thompson, Laurence (1959), "Saigon phonemics", Language, 35 (3): 454–476, doi:10.2307/411232, JSTOR 411232
  • Landau, Ernestina; Lončarić, Mijo; Horga, Damir; Škarić, Ivo (1999), "Croatian", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 66–69, ISBN 0-521-65236-7

External links