December 14, 2005

The Bilabial Trill Has Had Its Moment

There is a small error in the New York Times article on the addition of a symbol for the labiodental flap to the International Phonetic Alphabet that Geoff mentioned: the bilabial trill does not still await its day. Actually, it has been in the IPA for many years. I've drawn a circle around it below:

The pulmonic consonants in the IPA chart with the bilabial trill circled

That's U+0299 in Unicode, like this: ʙ. The bilabial trill is better known in the United States as the "Bronx cheer". It isn't very common, but it does enliven phonetics classes.

The sound that has yet to receive an official symbol is a "voiceless bilabial trill preceded by a dental stop, forming a single unit". It is not presently known with which borough of New York, if any, this sound is associated.

Posted by Bill Poser at December 14, 2005 02:30 PM