Is there a term for phoneme pairs such as [p b] or [s z] which have a voiced and unvoiced variant?

Additional Clarification:
In an IPA table, sounds like [p] and [b] are usually paired in the same cell. Is there a term sound types (cells) that have more than one phoneme in them.

  • Do you mean a single word that encompasses that expresses the notion "same except for voicing"? No.
    – user6726
    Oct 28, 2015 at 19:02
  • 1
    Perhaps, "voicing congeners".
    – Greg Lee
    Oct 28, 2015 at 19:28
  • Congeners are things that share a property, but differ only by a property.
    – user6726
    Oct 28, 2015 at 20:06
  • 1
    @fdb, you probably meant /p/ and /b/ are not the same except for voicing.
    – Greg Lee
    Oct 28, 2015 at 21:23
  • 1
    One could just as easily draw the table with different cell definitions, anyway. Oct 28, 2015 at 23:28

1 Answer 1


IMHO there is no specific term because you do not need it. If you want to speak about [p] and [b] without distinction of voicedness, you just speak about "bilabial occlusives", which covers both the voiced and unvoiced variant. Should you really somehow need to coin an ad-hoc term, I guess "voicing pairs" would be understandable in the context.

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