|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 ⟨?⟩, a rotated lowercase letter a.
In English this vowel is most typically transcribed with the symbol ⟨?⟩, 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 [?] or [?].
Much like ⟨?⟩, ⟨?⟩ is a versatile symbol that is not defined for roundedness and that can be used for vowels that are near-open central, near-open near-front, near-open near-back, open-mid central, open central or a (often unstressed) vowel with variable height, backness and/or roundedness that is produced in that general area. For open central unrounded vowels transcribed with ⟨?⟩, see open central unrounded vowel.
When the usual transcription of the near-open near-front and the near-open near-back variants is different from ⟨?⟩, they are listed in near-open front unrounded vowel and open back unrounded vowel or open back rounded vowel, respectively.
The near-open central unrounded vowel is sometimes the only open vowel in a language and then is typically transcribed with ⟨a⟩.
In the following list, ⟨?⟩ is assumed to be unrounded. The rounded variant is transcribed as ⟨⟩. Some instances of the latter may actually be fully open.
|Bengali||/ pa||[p?]||'leg'||Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨a⟩. See Bengali phonology|
|Bulgarian||??/para||[p?'ra]||'coin'||Unstressed allophone of /?/ and /a/. May be transcribed in IPA with ⟨?⟩. See Bulgarian phonology|
|Burmese||?/maat||[m]||'vertical'||Allophone of /a/ in syllables closed by a glottal stop and when nasalized; realized as fully open in open oral syllables.|
|Catalan||Barcelona metropolitan area||emmagatzemar||[?m(:)?d?z'mä]||'to store'||Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨?⟩. See Catalan phonology|
|Chinese||Cantonese||? / sam1||[sm?]||'heart'||Open-mid. See Cantonese phonology|
|Shanghainese||[k]||'to cut'||Appears only in closed syllables; the exact height and backness is somewhat variable.|
|Danish||fatter||['fæt?]||'understands'||Varies between near-open central unrounded [?], near-open near-back rounded  and mid near-back unrounded . See Danish phonology|
|[l]||'berry'||Short allophone of /a/; varies between near-open [?] and open-mid .|
|English||California||nut||[n?t]||'nut'||See English phonology|
|East Anglian||[n]||Used in some places (e.g. Colchester) instead of the traditional .|
|New Zealand||[nt]||Varies between near-open near-front , near-open central [?], open near-front and open central . See New Zealand English phonology|
|Received Pronunciation||See English phonology|
|Inland Northern American||bet||[b?t]||'bet'||Variation of /?/ used in some places whose accents have undergone the Northern cities vowel shift.|
|Middle Class London||lot||[lt]||'lot'||Rounded; can be back instead. See English phonology|
|Galician||feita||['fejt]||'done'||Realization of final unstressed /a/. See Galician phonology|
|German||Standard||oder||'or'||The exact height, backness and roundedness is somewhere between and , depending on the environment. Sometimes, an opening diphthong of the -type is used instead. See Standard German phonology|
|Northern German accents||kommen||['km?n]||'to come'||Varies between central [?] and back [?]; corresponds to an open-mid rounded in Standard German. See Standard German phonology|
|Greek||Modern Standard||???? / akakía||[?k?'c?i.?]||'acacia'||Most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨a⟩. See Modern Greek phonology|
|Hausa||[example needed]||Possible allophone of /a/, which can be as close as and as open as .|
|Hindustani||//d?s/daas||['ds]||'ten'||Common realization of /?/. See Hindustani phonology|
|Korean||/ hana||[h?n?]||'one'||Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨a⟩. See Korean phonology|
|Lithuanian||kas||[k?s?]||'what'||See Lithuanian phonology|
|Luxembourgish||Kanner||['kn]||'children'||Near-back. See Luxembourgish phonology|
|Mapudungun||karü||['k]||'green'||Open-mid; often transcribed in IPA with ⟨a⟩.|
|Norwegian||Østfold dialect||bada||['b:d?]||'to bathe'||The example word illustrates both the rounded  and the unrounded [?].|
|Portuguese||aja||['ä]||'act' (subj.)||Closer  in European Portuguese than in Brazilian Portuguese ([?]). See Portuguese phonology|
|Romanian||Moldavian dialects||b?rbat||[b?r'bat]||'man'||Corresponds to in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology|
|Russian||Standard Moscow||?||'head'||Corresponds to in standard Saint Petersburg pronunciation; occurs mostly immediately before stressed syllables. See Russian phonology|
|Sabiny||[example needed]||Contrasts overshort unrounded and overshort rounded near-open central vowels.|
|Ukrainian||??||['sl?w?]||'plum'||See Ukrainian phonology|
|Vietnamese||ch?ch||[cjk?]||'askance'||Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩. See Vietnamese phonology|
|Xumi||[Hts][clarification needed]||'salt'||Near-open [?] in Lower Xumi, open-mid  in Upper Xumi. The latter phone may be transcribed with ⟨?⟩. The example word is from Lower Xumi.|