Central vowel

A central vowel, formerly also known as a mixed vowel, is any in a class of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a central vowel is that the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel. (In practice, unrounded central vowels tend to be further forward and rounded central vowels further back.)

IPA: Vowels
Front Central Back
Close
Near-close
Close-mid
Mid
Open-mid
Near-open
Open

Paired vowels are: unrounded  rounded

List

The central vowels that have dedicated symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet are:

There also are central vowels that don't have dedicated symbols in the IPA:

Bibliography

  • International Phonetic Association (1999), Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-65236-7
Ae (Cyrillic)

Ae (Ӕ ӕ; italics: Ӕ ӕ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script, used exclusively in the Ossetian language to represent the mid central vowel /ə/. Its ISO 9 transliteration is ⟨æ⟩ but some transliteration schemes may render it as ⟨ä⟩.

Close-mid central rounded vowel

The close-mid central rounded vowel, or high-mid central rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɵ⟩, a lowercase barred letter o.

The character ɵ has been used in several Latin-derived alphabets such as the one for Yañalif, but in that language it denotes a different sound than it does in the IPA. The character is homographic with Cyrillic Ө. The Unicode code point is U+019F Ɵ LATIN CAPITAL LETTER O WITH MIDDLE TILDE (HTML Ɵ).

This vowel occurs in Cantonese, Dutch, French, Russian and Swedish as well as in a number of English dialects as a realization of /ʊ/ (as in foot), /ɜː/ (as in nurse) or /oʊ/ (as in goat).

This sound rarely contrasts with the near-close front rounded vowel. For this reason, it may be sometimes transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʏ⟩.

Close-mid central unrounded vowel

The close-mid central unrounded vowel, or high-mid central unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɘ⟩. This is a mirrored letter e, and should not be confused with the schwa ⟨ə⟩, which is a turned e. It was added to the IPA in 1993; before that, this vowel was transcribed ⟨ë⟩ (Latin small letter e with umlaut, not Cyrillic small letter yo). Certain older sources transcribe this vowel ⟨ɤ̈⟩.

The ⟨ɘ⟩ letter may be used with a lowering diacritic ⟨ɘ̞⟩, to denote the mid central unrounded vowel.

Conversely, ⟨ə⟩, the symbol for the mid central vowel may be used with a raising diacritic ⟨ə̝⟩ to denote the close-mid central unrounded vowel, although that is more accurately written with an additional unrounding diacritic ⟨ə̝͑⟩ to explicitly denote the lack of rounding (the canonical value of IPA ⟨ə⟩ is undefined for rounding).

To type this symbol on Windows, press and hold the ALT key while typing "600" using the number pad keys.

Close central rounded vowel

The close central rounded vowel, or high central rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʉ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is }. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as "barred u".

The close central rounded vowel is the vocalic equivalent of the rare labialized post-palatal approximant [ẅ].In most languages this rounded vowel is pronounced with protruded lips (endolabial). However, in a few cases the lips are compressed (exolabial).

There is also a near-close central rounded vowel in some languages.

Close central unrounded vowel

The close central unrounded vowel, or high central unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound used in some languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɨ, namely the lower-case letter i with a horizontal bar. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as barred i.

Occasionally, this vowel is transcribed ⟨ï⟩ (centralized ⟨i⟩) or ⟨ɯ̈⟩ (centralized ⟨ɯ⟩).The close central unrounded vowel is the vocalic equivalent of the rare post-palatal approximant [j̈].

E

E (named e , plural ees) is the fifth letter and the second vowel in the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. It is the most commonly used letter in many languages, including Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Latin, Latvian, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Mid central vowel

The mid central vowel (also known as schwa) is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ə⟩, a rotated lowercase letter e.

While the Handbook of the International Phonetic Association does not define the roundedness of [ə], it is more often unrounded than rounded. The phonetician Jane Setter describes the pronunciation of the unrounded variant as follows: "[ə] is a sound which can be produced by basically relaxing the articulators in the oral cavity and vocalising." To produce the rounded variant, all that needs to be done in addition to that is to round the lips.

Afrikaans contrasts unrounded and rounded mid central vowels; the latter is usually transcribed with ⟨œ⟩. The contrast is not very stable, and many speakers use an unrounded vowel in both cases.Some languages, such as Danish and Luxembourgish, have a mid central vowel that is variably rounded. In some other languages, things are more complicated, as the change in rounding is accompanied with the change in height and/or backness. For instance, in Dutch, the unrounded allophone of /ə/ is mid central unrounded [ə], but its word-final rounded allophone is close-mid front rounded [ø̜], close to the main allophone of /ʏ/.The symbol ⟨ə⟩ is often used for any unstressed obscure vowel, regardless of its precise quality. For instance, the English vowel transcribed ⟨ə⟩ is a central unrounded vowel that can be close-mid [ɘ], mid [ə] or open-mid [ɜ], depending on the environment.

Nayi language

Nayi (also known as "Nao") is an Omotic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family spoken in western Ethiopia.

Most of the speakers of the language live in two separated areas. The largest grouping live in Decha woreda of the Keffa Zone. The nearest city to their region is Bonga. A few in Dulkuma village of the Shoa Bench woreda, some in Sheko woreda having moved there in 1976-1977 as a result of conflicts between local feudal lords and the military government (Aklilu 2002:4). In Decha, young people no longer speak the language.

The language is notable for its retroflex consonants (Aklilu Yilma 1988), a striking feature shared with closely related Dizi, Sheko and nearby (but not closely related) Bench. The language has 5 vowels that can be long or short. The question of the status of a short mid central vowel is still unresolved. There are three phonemic tones and syllabic nasal consonants. There are ejective stops and affricates, but no implosives (Aklilu 2002:6,7).

Nayi, together with the Dizi and Sheko languages, is part of a cluster of languages variously called "Maji" or "Dizoid".

Near-open central vowel

The near-open central vowel, or near-low central vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɐ⟩, a rotated lowercase letter a.

In English this vowel is most typically transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʌ⟩, i.e. as if it were open-mid back. That pronunciation is still found in some dialects, but most speakers use a central vowel like [ɐ].

While the IPA does not specify the rounding of [ɐ], its rounded variant has been reported to occur as a phoneme only in Sabiny, which contrasts overshort unrounded and overshort rounded near-open central vowels.In certain languages (e.g. Bulgarian, Cantonese and Portuguese), the symbol ⟨ɐ⟩ is used instead of ⟨ɜ⟩ to denote the open-mid central unrounded vowel.

Open-mid central rounded vowel

The open-mid central rounded vowel, or low-mid central rounded vowel, is a vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɞ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is 3\. The symbol is called closed reversed epsilon. It was added to the IPA in 1993; before that, this vowel was transcribed ⟨ɔ̈⟩.

Due to either typographic or design error, IPA charts were published with this vowel transcribed as a closed epsilon, ⟨ʚ⟩, and this graphic variant made its way into Unicode as U+029A ʚ LATIN SMALL LETTER CLOSED OPEN E. The form ⟨ɞ⟩ (U+025E ɞ LATIN SMALL LETTER CLOSED REVERSED OPEN E) is considered correct.

Open-mid central unrounded vowel

The open-mid central unrounded vowel, or low-mid central unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɜ⟩. The IPA symbol is not the digit ⟨3⟩ or the Cyrillic small letter Ze (з). The symbol is instead a reversed Latinized variant of the lowercase epsilon, ɛ. The value was specified only in 1993; until then, it had been transcribed ⟨ɛ̈⟩.

The ⟨ɜ⟩ letter may be used with a raising diacritic ⟨ɜ̝⟩, to denote the mid central unrounded vowel. It may also be used with a lowering diacritic ⟨ɜ̞⟩, to denote the near-open central unrounded vowel.

Conversely, ⟨ə⟩, the symbol for the mid central vowel may be used with a lowering diacritic ⟨ə̞⟩ to denote the open-mid central unrounded vowel, although that is more accurately written with an additional unrounding diacritic ⟨ə̞͑⟩ to explicitly denote the lack of rounding (the canonical value of IPA ⟨ə⟩ is undefined for rounding).

Similarly, the symbol for the near-open central vowel with a raising diacritic ⟨ɐ̝⟩ may be used instead of ⟨ɜ⟩. Again, an additional unrounding diacritic ⟨ɐ̝͑⟩ may be used to explicitly denote the unroundedness, as the canonical value of IPA ⟨ɐ⟩ is also not definited for rounding.

Open central unrounded vowel

The open central unrounded vowel, or low central unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. While the International Phonetic Alphabet officially has no dedicated letter for this sound between front [a] and back [ɑ], it is normally written ⟨a⟩. If precision is required, it can be specified by using diacritics, such as centralized ⟨ä⟩ or retracted ⟨a̠⟩.

Acoustically, however, the open front [a] is an extra-low central vowel. It is more common to use plain ⟨a⟩ for an open central vowel and, if needed, ⟨æ⟩ (officially near-open front vowel) for an open front vowel. Alternatively, Sinologists may use the letter ⟨ᴀ⟩ (small capital A). The IPA has voted against officially adopting this symbol in 1976, 1989, and 2012.The Hamont dialect of Limburgish has been reported to contrast long open front, central and back unrounded vowels. This is extremely unusual.

Open central vowel

Open central vowel may refer to:

Open central unrounded vowel, a vowel sound written as ⟨ä⟩ or ⟨ɑ̈⟩ in the International Phonetic Alphabet

Open central rounded vowel, a vowel sound written as ⟨ɒ̈⟩ in the International Phonetic Alphabet

Yerý with diaeresis

Yery with diaeresis (Ӹ ӹ; italics: Ӹ ӹ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script. Its form is derived from the Cyrillic letter Yery (Ы ы Ы ы).

Yery with diaeresis is used in the alphabet of the Hill Mari language, where it represents the mid central vowel /ə/.

Ã

Ã/ã (a with tilde) is a letter used in some languages, generally considered a variant of the letter A.

In Portuguese, Ã/ã represents a nasal near-open central vowel, [ɐ̃] (its exact height varies from near-open to mid according to dialect). It appears on its own and as part of the diphthongs ãe [ɐ̃j̃] and ão [ɐ̃w̃].

The symbol is used for the nasal vowel /ã/ in Guaraní, Kashubian and Taa.

In Aromanian, the symbol is used for the mid-central vowel /ə/.

In Vietnamese, it represents [aː] in a high breaking-rising tone. This also used in !Xóõ.

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, /ã/ stands for a nasal open front unrounded vowel, as in Quebec French maman and Jean.

The letter was also used in the Greenlandic alphabet to represent a long vowel ([aː]) next to a geminated consonant, but now it is replaced with Aa (example: Ãpilátoq → Aappilattoq).

Ï

Ï, lowercase ï, is a symbol used in various languages written with the Latin alphabet; it can be read as the letter I with diaeresis or I-umlaut.

In Afrikaans, Catalan, Dutch, French, Galician, Welsh, Southern Sami, and occasionally English, ⟨ï⟩ is used when ⟨i⟩ follows another vowel and indicates hiatus (diaeresis) in the pronunciation of such a word. It indicates that the two vowels are pronounced in separate syllables, rather than together as a diphthong or digraph. For example, French maïs (IPA: [ma.is], maize); without the diaeresis, the ⟨i⟩ is part of the digraph ⟨ai⟩: mais (IPA: [mɛ], but). The letter is also in Dutch Oekraïne (pronounced [ukraːˈinə], Ukraine), and English naïve ( or ).

In scholarly writing on Turkic languages, ⟨ï⟩ is sometimes used to write the close back unrounded vowel /ɯ/, which, in the standard modern Turkish alphabet, is written as the dotless i ⟨ı⟩. The back neutral vowel reconstructed in Proto-Mongolic is sometimes written ⟨ï⟩.In the transcription of Amazonian languages, ï is used to represent the high central vowel [ɨ].

Ə

Ə ə, also called schwa or inverted e, is an additional letter of the Latin alphabet, used in the Azerbaijani language, in Gottscheerish, and in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ dialect of Halkomelem. Both the majuscule and minuscule forms of this letter are based on the form of an upside down e, while the Pan-Nigerian alphabet pairs the same lowercase letter with Ǝ.

In the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), minuscule ə is used to represent the mid central vowel or a schwa. A superscript minuscule ᵊ is used to modify the preceding consonant to have a mid central vowel release.

The letter was used in the Uniform Turkic Alphabet, for example in Janalif for the Tatar language in the 1920s–1930s. In the Latin Azerbaijani and Chechen alphabets, Ə represents the near-open front unrounded vowel, /æ/. Also, in a romanization of Pashto, the letter Ə is used to represent [ə]. When some Roman orthographies in the Soviet Union were converted to use the Cyrillic script in the 1930s and 1940s, this letter has been adopted verbatim.

In the Latin transliteration of Avestan, the corresponding long vowel is written as schwa-macron, Ə̄/ə̄.

An r-colored vowel can be represented using ɚ.

A schwa with a retroflex hook (ᶕ) is used in phonetic transcription.

Ȧ

Ȧ (minuscule: ȧ) is a letter of the Latin alphabet, derived from A with the addition of a dot above the letter. It is occasionally used as a phonetic symbol for a low central vowel, /ä/. As a character in a computer file, it can be represented in the Unicode character encoding, but not the standard ASCII character encoding.

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