|Voiced labiodental nasal|
The voiced labiodental nasal is a type of consonantal sound. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨?⟩. The IPA symbol is a lowercase letter m with a leftward hook protruding from the lower right of the letter. Occasionally it is instead transcribed as an em with a dental diacritic: ⟨m?⟩.
The labiodental pronunciation of [?] is very similarly to that of the bilabial nasal [m], but instead of the lips touching each other, the lower lip touches the upper teeth. The position of the lips and teeth is generally the same as for the production of the labiodental fricatives [f] and [v], though air escapes between the lip and the teeth in the case of the fricatives.
Although commonly appearing in languages, it is overwhelmingly an allophone restricted to a position before the labiodental consonants [f] and [v]. A phonemic /?/ has only been reported for the Kukuya language, which contrasts it with /m, mpf, mbv/ and is "accompanied by strong protrusion of both lips". It is  before /a/ and [?] before /i/ and /e/, perhaps because labialization is constrained by the spread front vowels; it does not occur before the back (rounded) vowels /o/ and /u/.
It is doubted by some scholars that true closure can be made by a labiodental gesture because of gaps between the incisors, which for many speakers would allow air to flow during the occlusion. This is particularly pertinent considering that one of the Kukuya words with this consonant, /?áá/, means a 'gap between filed incisors,' a practice of the local people. The /?/ might therefore be better characterized as a labiodental nasal approximant than as a nasal occlusive.
Nonetheless, [?] is extremely common around the world phonetically, as it is the universal allophone of /m/ and a very common allophone of /n/ before the labiodental fricatives [f] and [v], as for example in English comfort and circumvent, and, for many people, infinitive and invent. In the Angami language, [?] occurs as an allophone of /m/ before /?/. In Drubea, [?] is reported as an allophone of /v/ before nasal vowels.
A proposal to retire the letter ⟨?⟩ was made in the run-up to the Kiel Convention of 1989, with the labiodental nasal to be transcribed solely by ⟨m?⟩, but the proposal was defeated in committee.
Features of the voiced labiodental nasal:
Phonemic /?/ is extremely rare. As an allophone of nasal consonants before [f] or [v], however, [?] is very common.
|Catalan||càmfora||['ka?fu]||'camphor'||See Catalan phonology|
|Czech||tramvaj||['tra?vaj]||'tram'||See Czech phonology|
|Danish||symfoni||[sy?fo'ni?]||'symphony'||See Danish phonology|
|Dutch||omvallen||['v?l?(n)]||'to fall over'||See Dutch phonology|
|English||symphony||'symphony'||See English phonology|
|Finnish||kamferi||['kfe?ri]||'camphor'||See Finnish phonology|
|German||fünf||[ff]||'five'||See German phonology|
|Greek||???/émvryo||['evrio?]||'embryo'||Learned or careful pronunciation. See Modern Greek phonology|
|Hebrew||?||[si?'fo?ja]||'symphony'||See Modern Hebrew phonology|
|Hungarian||hamvad||['hv?d]||'smoulder'||See Hungarian phonology|
|Italian||invece||[i?'ve:te]||'instead'||See Italian phonology|
|Macedonian||?||[tra?'vaj]||'tram'||See Macedonian phonology|
|Norwegian||komfyr||[k'fy:?]||'stove'||See Norwegian phonology|
|Romanian||înva||['v?t?sä]||'to learn'||See Romanian phonology|
|Russian||???||['a?f?r?]||'amphora'||See Russian phonology|
|Serbo-Croatian||? / tramvaj||[träj]||'tram'||Allophone of before and . See Serbo-Croatian phonology|
|Slovene||simfonija||[si?f?'ní:ja]||'symphony'||Allophone of and before and .|
|Spanish||influir||[i?flu'i?]||'to have influence'||See Spanish phonology|
|Swedish||amfibie||[a?'fi:bj?]||'amphibia'||See Swedish phonology|
|West Frisian||ûnwis||[u:?'s]||'unsure'||Allophone of /n/ before labiodental sounds.|