Unvoiced labiodental fricative

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f

food /fuːd/

The unvoiced labiodental fricative is the unvoiced labiodental fricative sound, which is used in English - labiodental fricative being a type of non-sibilant fricative.

Represented by the the IPA phonetic symbol /f/, this corresponds to the initial consonant sound in words like "fish", and "food" and the final one in "life" and "half". There are also a few words where it corresponds to "gh", as in "cough" or "ph", as in "physics".

/f/ is an unvoiced consonant; its voiced counterpart is the voiced labiodental fricative.

Common words[edit | edit source]

Some common words which practice the pronunciation of /f/ include the following:

  • with initial "f": face - fact - fail - fall - family - far - feel - few - fight - find - first - follow - for - forget - form - friend - from
  • with final "f": belief - brief - chief - half - if - knife - life - off - relief - safe - self - staff - stuff - wife
  • with mid "f": after - before - benefit - different - difficult - effect - information - offer - office - often - sulfurAmE - therefore
  • with "gh": cough - enough - laugh - laughter - rough - tough
  • with "ph": atmosphere - phase - philosophy - phonetics - photograph - phrase - physical - physics - telephone - sulphurBrE

/v/ devoicing[edit | edit source]

  • have to (meaning “must”) can be pronounced /ˈhæv tə/ or /ˈhæf tə/
  • “of course” can be pronounced /əv kɔːrs/ or /əf kɔːrs/

Spelling anomaly[edit | edit source]

  • lieutenant /lefˈtenənt,BrE luːˈtenəntAmE/

Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1[edit | edit source]

Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following section aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.

Spanish[edit | edit source]