As far as anyone here knows, are there any natural languages in which the apico-labial trill is a phoneme?

  • i think you are referring to an articulation where the tongue apex touches the lips and the lips vibrate against the tongue apex. i haven't thought through the aerodynamics of such an articulation, but I am struggling to make such a sound so i wonder whether it is even a possible articulation.
    – user483
    May 26, 2012 at 2:18
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    It's pretty much a "raspberry." May 26, 2012 at 6:40
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    thanks. i think in that case we'll want to call it a lamino-labial trill (or linguolabial, as the answer below has), since it's the tongue blade rather than the apex against which the upper lip vibrates. right?
    – user483
    May 26, 2012 at 18:49
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    I'd have to say 'yes.' However, it is possible to force air between to tip of a flattened tongue and the upper lip to make a trill. May 27, 2012 at 23:20
  • just to be sure exactly where the air flows... milkandcookies.com/link/54954 (and because it's even funnier than the subject) :D
    – msb
    Nov 12, 2013 at 23:26

1 Answer 1


Sounds made using the tongue and lip/s are usually called "linguolabials" (eg in the IPA). There are a very few languages which make use of this sound as a phoneme, some examples are listed in the Wikipedia article on linguolabials. The article lists Coatlán Zapotec as having a linguolabial trill, but it appears to be iconic, used to represent a child's fart, not an actual phoneme.

There appear to be no reports of languages that use a linguolabial trill as a phoneme. Edward Vajda claims that the Chadic language Margi (spoken in Nigeria) has an "apico-labial flap", but this is not in agreement with other analyses of Margi (it may be that he meant to refer to the well-known labiodental flap of Margi).

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