Open Vowel
Get Open Vowel essential facts below. View Videos or join the Open Vowel discussion. Add Open Vowel to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
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 U.S. terminology [1]) 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.

Partial list

The open vowels with dedicated symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet are:

There also are central vowels that do not have dedicated symbols in the IPA:

There is no unambiguous way of transcribing the open central vowels (but see obsolete/nonstandard IPA ?). The diaeresis indicates centralization, so ⟨ä⟩ could mean near-front and ⟨⟩ could mean near-back. However, in practice the diaeresis is assumed to mean central, while ⟨a?⟩ and ⟨⟩ are used for the front and back articulations, respectively.

The extremely rare contrast between open front, central and back unrounded vowels has been reported to occur in the Hamont dialect of Limburgish, which features long versions of these sounds, as well as short versions of the open front and back vowels. The short versions do not contrast directly with the open central vowel, which can only be long.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "VOWEL QUALITY". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ This vowel is not known to occur as a phoneme distinct from /oe/ in any language.
  3. ^ Verhoeven (2007), p. 221.


  • Verhoeven, Jo (2007), "The Belgian Limburg dialect of Hamont", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 37 (2): 219-225, doi:10.1017/S0025100307002940

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes