Countdown to Christmas Quiz: Question 7 – Saturday 7th December

Here’s an easy one. What does the following symbol represent?

IPA symbol

(a) Voiceless bilabial fricative

(b) Voiced bilabial stop

(c) Voiceless dental fricative

(d) Voiceless velar fricative

ANSWER: (a) Voiceless bilabial fricative.

Symbols for consonants in the International Phonetic Alphabet are used primarily to mark three things; voice (are the vocal cords moving?), place (what is the position of the articulators being used?), and manner (to what extent is the airflow being obstructed?) The symbols above represents a sound where the vocal cords are not vibrating (voiceless), the lips are touching (bi-labial), and the air is passing through them (fricative) rather than being blocked. Once you get the hang of describing things in this three-way pattern, the sounds and symbols begin to make sense.

Links

The IPA Chart at the International Phonetics Association website.

Typing IPA Symbols, an online resource for creating IPA strings in English.

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2 responses to “Countdown to Christmas Quiz: Question 7 – Saturday 7th December

    • Close – just off by the tip of your tongue 😉 But keep playing and check out the rest of the quiz questions through until Christmas Eve – even the Dudes will be taking Christmas Day off!

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