A close vowel, also known as a high vowel (in American terminology), is any in a class of vowel sound used in many spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a close vowel is that the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth as it can be without creating a constriction. A constriction would produce a sound that would be classified as a consonant.
The term "close" (/kloʊs/, as in the opposite of "far") is prescribed by the International Phonetic Association. Close vowels are often referred to as "high" vowels, as in the Americanist phonetic tradition, because the tongue is positioned high in the mouth during articulation.
In the context of the phonology of any particular language, a high vowel can be any vowel that is more close than a mid vowel. That is, close-mid vowels, near-close vowels, and close vowels can all be considered high vowels.
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
The six close vowels that have dedicated symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet are:
(IPA letters for rounded vowels are ambiguous as to whether the rounding is protrusion or compression. However, transcription of the world's languages tends to pattern as above.)
There also are close vowels that don't have dedicated symbols in the IPA:
Other close vowels can be indicated with diacritics of relative articulation applied to letters for neighboring vowels, such as ⟨i̠⟩ or ⟨ɪ̝⟩ for a close near-front unrounded vowel.
Abkhaz is a language of the Northwest Caucasian family which, like the other Northwest Caucasian languages, is very rich in consonants. Abkhaz has a large consonantal inventory that contrasts 58 consonants in the literary Abzhywa dialect, coupled with just two phonemic vowels (Chirikba 2003:18–20).
Abkhaz has three major dialects, Abzhywa, Bzyp and Sadz, which differ mainly in phonology.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 front rounded vowel
The close-mid front rounded vowel, or high-mid front rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. Acoustically, it is a close-mid front-central rounded vowel. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the sound is ⟨ø⟩, a lowercase letter o with a diagonal stroke through it, borrowed from Danish, Norwegian, and Faroese, which sometimes use the letter to represent the sound. The symbol is commonly referred to as "o, slash" in English.
For the close-mid front rounded vowel that is usually transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʏ⟩ or ⟨y⟩, see near-close front rounded vowel. If the usual symbol is ⟨ø⟩, the vowel is listed here.Close-mid vowel
A close-mid vowel (also mid-close vowel, high-mid vowel, mid-high vowel or half-close vowel) is any in a class of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a close-mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned one third of the way from a close vowel to an open vowel.Cochimí language
Cochimí was once the language of the greater part Baja California, as attested by Jesuit documents of the 18th century. It seems to have become extinct around the beginning of the 20th century (Modern "Cochimi"-speakers are actually speakers of Kumiai.) There were two main dialects, northern and southern; the dividing line was approximately at the Misión San Ignacio Kadakaamán, in the north of present-day Baja California Sur.
The Jesuit texts establish that the language was related to the Yuman languages of the Colorado River region. It is thought to be the most divergent language of the family, which is generally called Yuman–Cochimí to reflect this. Based on glottochronology studies, the separation between Cochimi and the Yuman languages is believed to have occurred about 1000 BC.Cover symbols used in linguistics
Linguists use a variety of symbols to represent not just single sounds, but certain particular classes of sounds. They are usually capital letters. This article lists those "cover symbols".Jingulu language
Jingulu (Djingili) is an Australian language spoken by the Jingili in the Northern Territory of Australia, historically around the township of Elliot. It is an endangered language with only between 10 and 15 speakers in 1997, the youngest being in the fifties. An additional 20 people had some command of it. However, it was not used in daily communication which instead was conducted in either English or Kriol.Kiliwa language
Kiliwa, alternate Names: Kiliwi, Ko’lew or Quiligua (in Kiliwa: Koléew Ñaja') is a Yuman language spoken in Baja California, in the far northwest of Mexico, by the Kiliwa people.Lisan ud-Dawat
Lisaan ud-Da'wat (Arabic: لسان الدعوة, Lisan ud-Dawat, "language of the Dawat"; abbreviated LDA) is the language of the Taiyebi Bohras of Gujarat, an Isma'ili Shia Muslim community. It is a dialect of the Gujarati language, but incorporates a heavy amount of Arabic, Urdu, and Persian vocabulary and is written in the Arabic script. Originally a ritual language, since the period of the 41st Da'i al-Mutlaq Saiyedna Jivabhai Fakhruddin from 1330 AH (c. 1911 AD) in Vadodara it has also been propagated as the vernacular language for members of the Alavi Bohras, but the version used by the Saiyedna and his assembly members or clergy still differs slightly from the Gujarati spoken by other community members.Some key works in Lisan al-Dawat are the translations of the literary masterpieces of Isma'ili literature written during the reign of the Fatimids in Egypt, with summaries and admonitions in poetic form written by Fakhruddin. Some of the nasihats recited regularly by Alavi Bohras are "Aye Mumino socho zara, duniyaa che aa daar e fanaa" (O ye believer, this worldly life is but temporary) and "Khazaano ilm no mushkil-kushaa ni itrat che" (The treasure of knowledge is the progeny of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the legatee of Muhammad).
Many in the community look upon Lisan al-Dawat as a bridge for their Gujarati community to Arabic.Mid back unrounded vowel
The mid back unrounded vowel is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. Acoustically it is a mid back-central unrounded vowel. Although there is no dedicated symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the exact mid back unrounded vowel between close-mid [ɤ] and open-mid [ʌ] because no language is known to distinguish all three, ⟨ɤ⟩ is normally used. If more precision is desired, diacritics can be used, such as ⟨ɤ̞⟩ or ⟨ʌ̝⟩.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.Mid front rounded vowel
The mid front rounded vowel is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. Acoustically it is a mid front-central rounded vowel.Although there is no dedicated symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the "exact" mid front rounded vowel between close-mid [ø] and open-mid [œ], ⟨ø⟩ is generally used. If precision is desired, diacritics can be used, such as ⟨ø̞⟩ or ⟨œ̝⟩.Mid vowel
A mid vowel (or a true-mid vowel) is any in a class of vowel sounds used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned midway between an open vowel and a close vowel.
Other names for a mid vowel are lowered close-mid vowel and raised open-mid vowel, though the former phrase may also be used to describe a vowel that is as low as open-mid; likewise, the latter phrase may also be used to describe a vowel that is as high as close-mid.Near-close central rounded vowel
The near-close central rounded vowel, or near-high central rounded vowel, is a vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The International Phonetic Alphabet can represent this sound in a number of ways (see the box on the right), but the most common symbols are ⟨ʉ̞⟩ (lowered [ʉ]) and ⟨ʊ̈⟩ (centralized [ʊ]) for a protruded vowel, and ⟨ʏ̈⟩ for a compressed vowel. Other possible transcriptions of the protruded variant include ⟨ʊ̟⟩ (advanced [ʊ]) and ⟨ɵ̝⟩ (raised [ɵ]).
The symbol ⟨ᵿ⟩, a conflation of ⟨ʊ⟩ and ⟨ʉ⟩, is used as an unofficial extension of the IPA to represent this sound by a number of publications, such as Accents of English by John C. Wells and the Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch, a pronunciation dictionary for German. In the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, ⟨ᵿ⟩ represents free variation between /ʊ/ and /ə/.Near-close vowel
A near-close vowel or a near-high vowel is any in a class of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a near-close vowel is that the tongue is positioned similarly to a close vowel, but slightly less constricted.
Other names for a near-close vowel are lowered close vowel and raised close-mid vowel, though the former phrase may also be used to describe a vowel that is as low as close-mid (sometimes even lower); likewise, the latter phrase may also be used to describe a vowel that is as high as close.
Near-close vowels are also sometimes described as lax variants of the fully close vowels, though, depending on the language, they may not necessarily be variants of close vowels at all.
It is rare for languages to contrast a near-close vowel with a close vowel and a close-mid vowel based on height alone. An example of such language is Danish, which contrasts short and long versions of the close front unrounded /i/, near-close front unrounded /e̝/ and close-mid front unrounded /e/ vowels, though in order to avoid using any relative articulation diacritics, Danish /e̝/ and /e/ are typically transcribed with phonetically inaccurate symbols /e/ and /ɛ/, respectively. This contrast is not present in Conservative Danish, which realizes the latter two vowels as, respectively, close-mid [e] and mid [e̞].It is even rarer for languages to contrast more than one close/near-close/close-mid triplet. For instance, Sotho has two such triplets: fully front /i–ɪ–e/ and fully back /u–ʊ–o/. In the case of this language, the near-close vowels /ɪ, ʊ/ tend to be transcribed with the phonetically inaccurate symbols /ɨ, ʉ/, i.e. as if they were close central.
It may be somewhat more common for languages to contain allophonic vowel triplets that are not contrastive; for instance, Russian has one such triplet:
close central rounded [ʉ], an allophone of /u/ between soft consonants in stressed syllables;
near-close central rounded [ʉ̞], an allophone of /u/ between soft consonants in unstressed syllables;
close-mid central rounded [ɵ], an allophone of /o/ after soft consonants.Open-mid vowel
An open-mid vowel (also mid-open vowel, low-mid vowel, mid-low vowel or half-open vowel) is any in a class of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of an open-mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned one third of the way from an open vowel to a close vowel.Open vowel
An open vowel is a vowel sound in which the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth. Open vowels are sometimes also called low vowels (in American terminology ) in reference to the low position of the tongue.
In the context of the phonology of any particular language, a low vowel can be any vowel that is more open than a mid vowel. That is, open-mid vowels, near-open vowels, and open vowels can all be considered low vowels.Relative articulation
In phonetics and phonology, relative articulation is description of the manner and place of articulation of a speech sound relative to some reference point. Typically, the comparison is made with a default, unmarked articulation of the same phoneme in a neutral sound environment. For example, the English velar consonant /k/ is fronted before the vowel /iː/ (as in keep) compared to articulation of /k/ before other vowels (as in cool). This fronting is called palatalization.
The relative position of a sound may be described as advanced (fronted), retracted (backed), raised, lowered, centralized, or mid-centralized. The latter two terms are only used with vowels, and are marked in the International Phonetic Alphabet with diacritics over the vowel letter. The others are used with both consonants and vowels, and are marked with iconic diacritics under the letter. Another dimension of relative articulation that has IPA diacritics is the degree of roundedness, more rounded and less rounded.