in my native language of Georgian there's a phoneme transcribed as /v/ which has a wide range of allophones depending on the speaker.

I for example have the following allophones:

[ɸ] or [f] when next to voiceless consonants

labialization [ʷ] after a consonant.

in a Post-vocalic position it might possibly be vocalized as [u~u̯~w] as in for example in the word ავზი (avzi) meaning "sink", though I'm not really sure about it and would like to know if my observations are correct.

Now let's go back to the question I'm trying to figure out the phonetic quality of my word-initial /v/ for a quite some time now,first I thought that it was [v] then after that it was [β] and now I'm thinking that it might be labiodental approximant [ʋ] but I'm not sure since I'm not a phonetician nor a linguist although I'm really interested in phonetics and phonology.

here's a recording of me pronouncing /v/, can anyone tell me what's the phonetic quality of the consonant shown in the recording? thanks in advance.

PS: I've listened to recordings of [v β ʊ] online and I wasn't able to hear the difference between them.

  • [ʊ] is the vowel found in English put, so it would be odd if you’re unable to distinguish that from the consonants [v β] in recordings. Did you mean [ʋ]? You can easily check whether you’re saying [β] or [v ~ ʋ]: if your upper teeth are touching your lower lip, you’re saying a labiodental sound ([v] or [ʋ]); if your lips aren’t touching your teeth, but aren’t quite touching each other either, you’re saying a bilabial [β]. As for [v] versus [ʋ], those two sounds are in free variation in many languages; they differ only in how much friction there is. Yours sounds like [β] or [ʋ] to me. May 26 at 10:11
  • 1. in some postvocalic it is bit difficult for me tell difference between /u/ and /v/, 2. I guess [β] is the correct to Transcribe it, I don't feel like my lips are touching my teeth, it's like you described it. May 26 at 13:48
  • Even postvocalically, [u] is purely labial (the lips are rounded, nothing else), while [v] is labiodental (upper teeth touch lower lip). It can often be difficult to tell the difference between postvocalic [w ~ u ~ ʊ ~ o], which are all produced in the same area at the back of the mouth, but [v ~ ʋ] should be distinct and easy enough to tell apart. Depending on how much your lips are rounded, [β] can be ambiguous, lying acoustically and articulatorily between [ʋ] and [w]. And of course it’s common for /v/ to be realised as [w ~ u ~ ʊ ~ o] postvocalically, but that’s a different matter. May 26 at 14:22
  • Oh, I just realised you were talking about phonemes in your comment – I missed that first time around. Yes, /v/ and /u/ tend to merge postvocalically in quite a few languages, either partially or completely. May 26 at 14:25
  • if it's phonetically in between [ʋ] and [w] then the most appropriate transcription for it would probably be [β̞] or [ʋ̟] I assume. May 27 at 2:01


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.