Close back rounded vowel

The close back rounded vowel, or high back rounded vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨u⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is u.

In most languages, this rounded vowel is pronounced with protruded lips ('endolabial'). However, in a few cases the lips are compressed ('exolabial').

The close back rounded vowel is almost identical featurally to the labio-velar approximant [w]. [u] alternates with [w] in certain languages, such as French, and in the diphthongs of some languages, [u̯] with the non-syllabic diacritic and [w] are used in different transcription systems to represent the same sound.

Close back rounded vowel
u
IPA number308
Encoding
Entity (decimal)u
Unicode (hex)U+0075
X-SAMPAu
Kirshenbaumu
Audio sample
source · help

Close back protruded vowel

The close back protruded vowel is the most common variant of the close back rounded vowel. It is typically transcribed in IPA simply as ⟨u⟩, which is the convention used in this article. As there is no dedicated IPA diacritic for protrusion, the symbol for the close back rounded vowel with an old diacritic for labialization, ⟨  ̫⟩, can be used as an ad hoc symbol ⟨⟩. Another possible transcription is ⟨⟩ or ⟨ɯʷ⟩ (a close back vowel modified by endolabialization), but that could be misread as a diphthong.

Features

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

Paired vowels are: unrounded  rounded

  • Its vowel height is close, also known as high, which means the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.
  • Its vowel backness is back, which means the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Unrounded back vowels tend to be centralized, which means that often they are in fact near-back.
  • Its roundedness is protruded, which means that the corners of the lips are drawn together, and the inner surfaces exposed.

Occurrence

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Standard[2] boek [bu̜k] 'book' Only weakly rounded.[3] See Afrikaans phonology
Arabic Standard[4] جنوب [d͡ʒaˈnuːb] 'south' See Arabic phonology
Armenian Eastern[5] դուռ [dur] 'door'
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[6]
Bulgarian[7] луд [ɫut̪] 'crazy' See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan[8] suc [s̺uk] 'juice' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Mandarin[9][10] / tǔ [t̪ʰu˩˧] 'earth' See Standard Chinese phonology
Cantonese[11] / fū [fuː˥] 'man' See Cantonese phonology
Shanghainese[12] [ku˩] 'melon' Height varies between close and close-mid; contrasts with a close to close-mid back compressed vowel.[12]
Danish Standard[13][14] du [d̥u] 'you' See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard[15][16] voet [vut] 'foot' Somewhat fronted in Belgian Standard Dutch.[16]
English Australian[17] book [buk] 'book' Also described as near-close near-back [ʊ];[18][19] corresponds to [ʊ] in other accents. See Australian English phonology
Cape Flats[20] May be advanced to [ʉ], or lowered and unrounded to [ɤ].[20] See South African English phonology
Cultivated South African[21] boot [bu̟ːt] 'boot' Typically more front than cardinal [u]. Instead of being back, it may be central [ʉː] in Geordie and RP, and front [] in Multicultural London. See English phonology and South African English phonology
General American[22]
Geordie[23]
Multicultural London[24]
Received Pronunciation[25]
Welsh[26][27][28]
Pakistani[29] [buːʈ]
Greater New York City [buːt][30]
New Zealand[31][32] treacle [ˈtɹ̝̊iːku] 'treacle' Possible realization of the unstressed vowel /ɯ/, which is variable in rounding and ranges from central to (more often) back and close to close-mid.[31][32] Corresponds to /əl/ in other accents. See New Zealand English phonology
Estonian[33] sule [ˈsule̞] 'feather' (gen. sg.) See Estonian phonology
Finnish[34][35] kukka [ˈkukːɑ] 'flower' See Finnish phonology
Faroese[36] gulur [ˈkuːlʊɹ] 'yellow' See Faroese phonology
French[37][38] [u] 'where' See French phonology
Georgian[39] და [ɡudɑ] 'leather bag'
German Standard[40][41] Fuß [fuːs] 'foot' See Standard German phonology
Many speakers[42] Stunde [ˈʃtundə] 'hour' The usual realization of /ʊ/ in Switzerland, Austria and partially also in Western and Southwestern Germany (Palatinate, Swabia).[42] See Standard German phonology
Greek Modern Standard[43][44] που / pu [pu] 'where' See Modern Greek phonology
Hungarian[45] út [uːt̪] 'way' See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic[46][47] þú [θ̠u] 'you' See Icelandic phonology
Italian[48] tutta [ˈt̪ut̪t̪ä] 'all' (sing. fem.) See Italian phonology
Kaingang[49] nduki [ˈndukːi] 'in the belly'
Korean / nun [nuːn] 'snow' See Korean phonology
Latin Classical[50] sus [suːs] 'pig'
Limburgish[51][52] sjoen [ʃu̟n] 'beautiful' Back[52] or near-back,[51] depending on the dialect. The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Lower Sorbian[53] zub [z̪up] 'tooth'
Luxembourgish[54] Luucht [luːχt] 'air' See Luxembourgish phonology
Mongolian[55] үүр [uːɾɘ̆] 'nest'
Persian دور [duɾ] 'far' See Persian phonology
Polish[56] buk [buk] 'beech tree' Also represented by ⟨ó⟩. See Polish phonology
Portuguese[57] tu [ˈtu] 'you' See Portuguese phonology
Romanian[58] unu [ˈun̪u] 'one' See Romanian phonology
Russian[59] узкий [ˈus̪kʲɪj] 'narrow' See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian[60] дуга / duga [d̪ǔːɡä] 'rainbow' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Shiwiar[61]
Spanish[62] curable [kuˈɾäβ̞le̞] 'curable' See Spanish phonology
Sotho[63] tumo [tʼumɔ] 'fame' Contrasts close, near-close and close-mid back rounded vowels.[63] See Sotho phonology
Swahili ubongo [ubongo] 'brain'
Thai[64] สุด [sut˨˩] 'rearmost'
Turkish[65][66] uzak [uˈz̪äk] 'far' See Turkish phonology
Udmurt[67] урэтэ [urete] 'to divide'
Ukrainian[68] рух [rux] 'motion' See Ukrainian phonology
Upper Sorbian[53][69] žuk [ʒuk] 'beetle' See Upper Sorbian phonology
Yoruba[70]
Zapotec Tilquiapan[71] gdu [ɡdu] 'all'

Close back compressed vowel

Close back compressed vowel
ɯᵝ
Audio sample
source · help

Some languages, such as Japanese and Swedish, have a close back vowel that has a distinct type of rounding, called compressed or exolabial.[72] Only Shanghainese is known to contrast it with the more typical protruded (endolabial) close back vowel, but the height of both vowels varies from close to close-mid.[12]

There is no dedicated diacritic for compression in the IPA. However, compression of the lips can be shown with the letter ⟨β̞⟩ as ⟨ɯ͡β̞⟩ (simultaneous [ɯ] and labial compression) or ⟨ɯᵝ⟩ ([ɯ] modified with labial compression). The spread-lip diacritic ⟨  ͍ ⟩ may also be used with a rounded vowel letter ⟨⟩ as an ad hoc symbol, but 'spread' technically means unrounded.

Features

  • Its vowel height is close, also known as high, which means the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.
  • Its vowel backness is back, which means the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Unrounded back vowels tend to be centralized, which means that often they are in fact near-back.
  • Its roundedness is compressed, which means that the margins of the lips are tense and drawn together in such a way that the inner surfaces are not exposed.

Occurrence

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Chinese Shanghainese[12] [tɯᵝ˩] 'capital' Height varies between close and close-mid; contrasts with a close to close-mid back protruded vowel.[12]
Japanese[73] 空気 / kūki [kɯ̟ᵝːki] 'air' Near-back; may be realized as central [ɨᵝ] by younger speakers.[73] See Japanese phonology
Lizu[74] [Fmɯ̟ᵝ] 'feather' Near-back.[74]
Norwegian[75][76] mot [mɯᵝːt] 'courage' The example word is from Urban East Norwegian, in which the vowel can be diphthongized to [ɯᵝə̯].[77] See Norwegian phonology
Swedish Central Standard[78][79] oro [²ɯᵝːrɯᵝː] 'unease' Often realized as a sequence [ɯᵝβ̞] or [ɯᵝβ][78] (hear the word: [²ɯᵝβrɯᵝβ]). See Swedish phonology

See also

Notes

  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ Donaldson (1993), pp. 2, 5.
  3. ^ Donaldson (1993), p. 5.
  4. ^ Thelwall & Sa'Adeddin (1990), p. 38.
  5. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009), p. 13.
  6. ^ Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  7. ^ Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999), p. 56.
  8. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992), p. 54.
  9. ^ Lee & Zee (2003), pp. 110–111.
  10. ^ Duanmu (2007), pp. 35–36.
  11. ^ Zee (1999), pp. 59–60.
  12. ^ a b c d e Chen & Gussenhoven (2015), pp. 328–329.
  13. ^ Grønnum (1998), p. 100.
  14. ^ Basbøll (2005), p. 46.
  15. ^ Gussenhoven (1992), p. 47.
  16. ^ a b Verhoeven (2005), p. 245.
  17. ^ Cox & Palethorpe (2007), p. 344.
  18. ^ Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009a).
  19. ^ Lindsey (2012).
  20. ^ a b Finn (2004), p. 970.
  21. ^ Lass (2002), p. 116.
  22. ^ Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009b).
  23. ^ Watt & Allen (2003), p. 268.
  24. ^ Gimson (2014), p. 91.
  25. ^ Roach (2004), p. 242.
  26. ^ Collins & Mees (1990), p. 95.
  27. ^ Connolly (1990), p. 125.
  28. ^ Tench (1990), p. 135.
  29. ^ Mahboob & Ahmar (2004), p. 1007.
  30. ^ Labov, William; Ash, Sharon; Boberg, Charles (2006). The Atlas of North American English. chpt. 17.
  31. ^ a b "NZE Phonology" (PDF). Victoria University of Wellington. p. 3.
  32. ^ a b Bauer & Warren (2004), p. 585.
  33. ^ Asu & Teras (2009), p. 368.
  34. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005), pp. 60, 66.
  35. ^ Suomi, Toivanen & Ylitalo (2008), p. 21.
  36. ^ Árnason (2011), pp. 68, 74.
  37. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993), p. 73.
  38. ^ Collins & Mees (2013), p. 225.
  39. ^ Shosted & Chikovani (2006), pp. 261–262.
  40. ^ Hall (2003), pp. 87, 107.
  41. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 34.
  42. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 64.
  43. ^ Arvaniti (2007), p. 28.
  44. ^ Trudgill (2009), p. 81.
  45. ^ Szende (1994), p. 92.
  46. ^ Árnason (2011), p. 60.
  47. ^ Einarsson (1945:10), cited in Gussmann (2011:73)
  48. ^ Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004), p. 119.
  49. ^ Jolkesky (2009), pp. 676–677, 682.
  50. ^ Wheelock's Latin (1956).
  51. ^ a b Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), p. 159.
  52. ^ a b Peters (2006), p. 119.
  53. ^ a b Stone (2002), p. 600.
  54. ^ Gilles & Trouvain (2013), p. 70.
  55. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005), pp. 62, 66–67.
  56. ^ Jassem (2003), p. 105.
  57. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 91.
  58. ^ Sarlin (2014), p. 18.
  59. ^ Jones & Ward (1969), p. 67.
  60. ^ Landau et al. (1999), p. 67.
  61. ^ Fast Mowitz (1975), p. 2.
  62. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 256.
  63. ^ a b Doke & Mofokeng (1974), p. ?.
  64. ^ Tingsabadh & Abramson (1993), p. 24.
  65. ^ Zimmer & Organ (1999), p. 155.
  66. ^ Göksel & Kerslake (2005), p. 11.
  67. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005), pp. 64, 68.
  68. ^ Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995), p. 4.
  69. ^ Šewc-Schuster (1984), p. 20.
  70. ^ Bamgboṣe (1969), p. 166.
  71. ^ Merrill (2008), p. 109.
  72. ^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. 295.
  73. ^ a b Okada (1999), p. 118.
  74. ^ a b Chirkova & Chen (2013), p. 78.
  75. ^ Vanvik (1979), pp. 13, 17.
  76. ^ While Vanvik (1979) does not describe the exact type of rounding of this vowel, some other sources (e.g. Haugen (1974:40) and Kristoffersen (2000:16)) state explicitly that it is compressed.
  77. ^ Vanvik (1979), p. 17.
  78. ^ a b Engstrand (1999), p. 140.
  79. ^ Rosenqvist (2007), p. 9.

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External links

Back vowel

A back vowel is any in a class of vowel sound used in spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a back vowel is that the highest point of the tongue is positioned relatively back in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Back vowels are sometimes also called dark vowels because they are perceived as sounding darker than the front vowels.Near-back vowels are essentially a type of back vowels; no language is known to contrast back and near-back vowels based on backness alone.

Close-mid back rounded vowel

The close-mid back rounded vowel, or high-mid back 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 ⟨o⟩.

For the close-mid back rounded vowel that is usually transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʊ⟩ or ⟨u⟩, see near-close back rounded vowel. If the usual symbol is ⟨o⟩, the vowel is listed here.

Close back unrounded vowel

The close back unrounded vowel, or high back unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. Acoustically it is a close back-central unrounded vowel. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɯ⟩. Typographically a turned letter m, given its relation to the sound represented by the letter u it can be considered a u with an extra "bowl". It is not to be confused with ⟨uɪ⟩, a sequence of the symbols ⟨u⟩ and ⟨ɪ⟩ (which represent the close back rounded vowel and the near-close front unrounded vowel, respectively), nor with ⟨ω⟩, which is an unofficial symbol for the near-close back unrounded vowel.

Kazakh Short U

Kazakh Short U (Ұ ұ; italics: Ұ ұ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script. In Unicode, this letter is called "Straight U with stroke". Its form is the Cyrillic letter Ue (Ү ү Ү ү) with a horizontal line through it. It is similar to the symbol for the Japanese yen or the Chinese yuan (¥), and the Latin letter Y with stroke (Ɏ ɏ).

Kazakh Short U is used in the alphabet of the Kazakh language, where it represents the close back rounded vowel /u/, or the near-close near-back rounded vowel /ʊ/. In other circumstances, it is used as a replacement for the former letter to represent close front rounded vowel /y/ in situations where it would be easilly confused with Cyrillic letter У у. It is romanized as ⟨u⟩ in Kazakh.

Near-close back rounded vowel

The near-close back rounded vowel, or near-high back rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some vocal languages. The IPA symbol that represents this sound is ⟨ʊ⟩. It is informally called "horseshoe u". Prior to 1989, there was an alternate IPA symbol for this sound, ⟨ɷ⟩, called "closed omega"; use of this symbol is no longer sanctioned by the IPA. In Americanist phonetic notation, the symbol ⟨ᴜ⟩ (a small capital U) is used. Sometimes, especially in broad transcription, this vowel is transcribed with a simpler symbol ⟨u⟩, which technically represents the close back rounded vowel.

Handbook of the International Phonetic Association defines [ʊ] as a mid-centralized (lowered and centralized) close back rounded vowel (transcribed [u̽] or [ü̞]), and the current official IPA name of the vowel transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʊ⟩ is near-close near-back rounded vowel. However, some languages have the close-mid near-back rounded vowel, a vowel that is somewhat lower than the canonical value of [ʊ], though it still fits the definition of a mid-centralized [u]. It occurs in some dialects of English (such as General American and Geordie) as well as some other languages (such as Maastrichtian Limburgish). It can be transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʊ̞⟩ (a lowered ⟨ʊ⟩) in narrow transcription. For the close-mid (near-)back rounded vowel that is not usually transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʊ⟩ (or ⟨u⟩), see close-mid back rounded vowel.

In some other languages (such as Bengali, Korean and Luxembourgish) as well as some dialects of English (such as Scottish) there is a fully back near-close rounded vowel (a sound between cardinal [u] and [o]), which can be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʊ̠⟩, ⟨u̞⟩ or ⟨o̝⟩.

There is even one language (Palula) that contrasts a long near-close back rounded vowel with a short close-mid near-back rounded vowel, but they tend to be transcribed simply as /uː/ and /u/.A few languages also have the near-close back unrounded vowel (which does not have a separate IPA symbol) in their inventory.

Near-close near-back vowel

The International Phonetic Alphabet distinguishes two near-close near-back vowels:

The near-close near-back unrounded vowel [ɯ̽] or [ɯ̞̈]

The near-close near-back rounded vowel [ʊ]

O with diaeresis (Cyrillic)

O with diaeresis (Ӧ ӧ; italics: Ӧ ӧ) is a letter of the Cyrillic script.

In all its forms it looks exactly like the Latin letter Ö (Ö ö Ö ö).

O with diaeresis is used in the alphabets of the Altay, Khakas, Komi, Kurdish, Mari, Shor and Udmurt languages.

Pharyngealization

Pharyngealization is a secondary articulation of consonants or vowels by which the pharynx or epiglottis is constricted during the articulation of the sound.

Phonological history of English close back vowels

Most dialects of modern English have two close back vowels: the near-close near-back rounded vowel /ʊ/ found in words like foot, and the close back rounded vowel /uː/ (realized as central [ʉː] in many dialects) found in words like goose. The STRUT vowel /ʌ/, which historically was back, is often central [ɐ] as well. This article discusses the history of these vowels in various dialects of English, focusing in particular on phonemic splits and mergers involving these sounds.

SAMPA chart

The following show the typical symbols for consonants and vowels used in SAMPA, an ASCII-based system based on the International Phonetic Alphabet. Note that SAMPA is not a universal system as it varies from language to language.

Table of vowels

This table lists the vowel letters of the International Phonetic Alphabet.

U

U (named u , plural ues) is the 21st letter and the fifth vowel in the ISO basic Latin alphabet. It is preceded by T, and is followed by V.

U (Cyrillic)

U (У у; italics: У у) is a letter of the Cyrillic script. It commonly represents the close back rounded vowel /u/, somewhat like the pronunciation of ⟨oo⟩ in "boot". The forms of the Cyrillic letter U are similar to the lowercase of the Latin letter Y (Y y; Y y), but like most other Cyrillic letters, the upper and lowercase forms are similar in shape and differ mainly in size and vertical placement.

U with tilde (Cyrillic)

U with tilde (У̃ у̃; italics: У̃ у̃) is a letter of the Cyrillic script.

U with tilde is used in the Khinalug language where it represents a nasalized close back rounded vowel /ũ/.

Uni (letter)

Uni (asomtavruli ႭჃ, later Ⴓ, nuskhuri ⴍⴣ, later ⴓ, mkhedruli უ) is the 23rd letter of the three Georgian scripts.In the system of Georgian numerals it has a value of 400 as letter Vie.Uni commonly represents the close back rounded vowel /u/, like the pronunciation of ⟨oo⟩ in "foot".

Voiced labio-velar approximant

The voiced labio-velar approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in certain spoken languages, including English. It is the sound denoted by the letter ⟨w⟩ in the English alphabet; likewise, the symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨w⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is w. In most languages it is a labialized velar approximant [ɰʷ], and the semivocalic counterpart of the close back rounded vowel [u] - i.e. the non-syllabic close back rounded vowel. In inventory charts of languages with other labialized velar consonants, /w/ will be placed in the same column as those consonants. When consonant charts have only labial and velar columns, /w/ may be placed in the velar column, (bi)labial column, or both. The placement may have more to do with phonological criteria than phonetic ones.Some languages have the voiced labio-prevelar approximant, which is articulated slightly more front compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiced labio-prevelar approximant, though not as front as the prototypical labialized palatal approximant.

X-SAMPA

The Extended Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet (X-SAMPA; , /%Eks"s{mp@/) is a variant of SAMPA developed in 1995 by John C. Wells, professor of phonetics at the University of London. It is designed to unify the individual language SAMPA alphabets, and extend SAMPA to cover the entire range of characters in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The result is a SAMPA-inspired remapping of the IPA into 7-bit ASCII.

SAMPA was devised as a hack to work around the inability of text encodings to represent IPA symbols. Later, as Unicode support for IPA symbols became more widespread, the necessity for a separate, computer-readable system for representing the IPA in ASCII decreased. However, X-SAMPA is still useful as the basis for an input method for true IPA.

IPA topics

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