Close Central Unrounded Vowel
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Close Central Unrounded Vowel
Close central unrounded vowel
IPA Number317
Entity (decimal)ɨ
Unicode (hex)U+0268
Braille? (braille pattern dots-356)? (braille pattern dots-24)
Audio sample

The close central unrounded vowel, or high central unrounded vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound used in some languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨?⟩, 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⟩ (centralizedi⟩) or ⟨⟩ (centralized ⟨?⟩).[2]

The close central unrounded vowel is the vocalic equivalent of the rare post-palatal approximant [j?].[3]

Some languages feature the near-close central unrounded vowel (About this soundlisten ), which is slightly lower. It is most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩ and ⟨⟩, but other transcriptions such as ⟨⟩ and ⟨⟩ are also possible. In many British dictionaries, this vowel has been transcribed ⟨?⟩, which captures its height; in the American tradition it is more often ⟨?⟩, which captures its centrality, or ⟨?⟩,[4] which captures both. ⟨?⟩ is also used in a number of other publications, such as Accents of English by John C. Wells. In the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, ⟨?⟩ represents free variation between /?/ and /?/.



/?/ is uncommon as a phoneme in Indo-European languages, occurring most commonly as an allophone in some Slavic languages, such as Russian. However, it is very common as a separate phoneme in the indigenous languages of the Americas and is often in phonemic contrast with other close vowels such as /i/ and /u/ both in modern living languages as well as reconstructed proto-languages (such as Proto-Uto-Aztecan). Campbell, Kaufman & Smith-Stark (1986) identify the presence of this vowel phoneme as an areal feature of a Mesoamerican Sprachbund (although that is not a defining feature of the entire area).

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Acehnese tupeue [tup] 'to know' Asyik[5] and Al-Ahmadi Al-Harbi[6] describe this sound as such while Durie[7] describes it as closer to [?]
Amharic[8] /s?r? [sr] 'root' Near-close.[8]
Angami Khonoma[9] prü [p] 'hail stone' The height varies between close [?] and mid .[9] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨?⟩.
Arhuaco ik? [?k'?] 'Arhuaco language'
Berber Central Atlas Tamazight[10] khdim (?) [?dm] 'to work' Epenthetically inserted into consonant clusters before labial and coronal consonants.
Chinese Mandarin ch? (?) [t?] 'to eat'
Teochew t? (?) [t] 'pig'
English Inland Southern American[11] good [d] 'good' Corresponds to in other dialects. See English phonology
Southeastern English[12] [d] May be rounded instead;[12] it corresponds to in other dialects. See English phonology
London[13][14] lip [lp] 'lip' Possible realization of /?/.[13][14]
South African[15] [lp] For some speakers it can be equal to . General and Broad varieties of SAE have an allophonic variation, with [?] ( in Broad) occurring near velar and palatal consonants, and [~?] elsewhere. See South African English phonology
Southern American[16] [lp] Allophone of /?/ before labial consonants, sometimes also in other environments.[16]
Southeastern English[17] rude [:d] 'rude' May be rounded , or a diphthong [~] instead.
Guaraní[18] yvy [] 'earth'
Hausa[19] cin abinci [tin ab?nti] 'to eat' Allophone of /i/.[19]
Irish Munster[20] caora [k?:] 'sheep' Allophone of /i/ between broad consonants.[20] See Irish phonology
Ulster[21] [example needed] Allophone of /?/. Near-close.[21]
Kalagan[22] [p?'n?t?] 'beard'
Kashmiri[23] tsünan () [t?s?nan] 'peach'
Kera[24] [r] 'knee'
Kurdish[25][26] Palewani (Southern) kirma?an (?) [cmä:?ä:n] 'kermanshah' Equal to Kurmanji and Sorani . See Kurdish phonology
Latgalian[27] dy?an ['dän?] 'very much' See Latgalian phonology
Mah Meri[28] [däb?k?] 'to be drunk'
Malay Kelantan-Pattani ngecat [.ca?] 'to paint' See Kelantan-Pattani Malay
Mapudungun[29] mü?a [m'n] 'male cousin on father's side' Unstressed allophone of /?/.[29]
Mongolian[30] khüchir () [xut] 'difficult'
Mono[31] d? [d?] 'count'
Paicî[32] [example needed] May be transcribed in IPA with ⟨?⟩.
Romanian[33] înot [?'n?o?t?] 'I swim' See Romanian phonology
Russian[34] ??/ty 'you' (singular/informal) Occurs only after unpalatalized consonants. Near-close when unstressed.[34] See Russian phonology
Sahaptin[35] k'sit [k's?t] 'cold' Epenthetic. No lengthened equivalent
Sema[36] sü [] 'to hurt' Described variously as close [?][36] and near-close [].[37]
Shipibo[38] tenaitianronki ['tn?i?ti?õi?] [translation needed] Possible realization of /?/ after coronal consonants.[38]
Sirionó[39] [e's?] 'dry wood'
Swedish Bohuslän[40] bli [bl:] 'to become' A fricated vowel that corresponds to in Central Standard Swedish.[40] See Swedish phonology
Tajik Bukharan[41] ?ii? (????) [] 'the sound of
wood sawing'
Allophone of /i/ in the environment of uvular consonants.[41]
Tamil[42] v?li (?) [vä:l?] 'tail' Epenthetic vowel inserted in colloquial speech after word-final liquids; can be rounded instead.[42] See Tamil phonology
Tera[43] zu [z?] 'said'
vur [vr] 'to give' Allophone of /?/ in closed syllables.[44]
Turkish Standard[45] s [s?:] 'shallow' Also described as close back [46] and near-close near-back [47] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨?⟩. See Turkish phonology
Balkans[48] [example needed] Word-final merger of standard Turkish sounds /i/ and /?/, shift of /y/ and /u/ into single phoneme due to interactions caused by Balkan sprachbund. Dombrowski[48] transcribes this phoneme as /i/.
Udmurt[49] urget?, yrgjete (?, ?[50]) [?rgete] 'it growls'
Vietnamese[51] b?ng [] 'to carry'
Welsh Northern dialects[52] llun [:n] 'picture' Close when long, near-close when short.[52] Merges with /?/ in southern dialects. See Welsh phonology
pump [pmp] 'five'
Yaeyama pïtu [p?tu] 'person'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[53] n? [n?] 'be sour'

The sound of Polish ⟨y⟩ is often represented as /?/, but actually it is a close-mid advanced central unrounded vowel, more narrowly transcribed [].[54] Similarly, European Portuguese unstressed ⟨e⟩, often represented as /?/, is actually a near-close near-back unrounded vowel,[55] more narrowly transcribed using ad hoc symbols such as [] (mid-centralized), [] (fronted) and [] (less rounded i.e. unrounded)

See also


  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ See e.g. Gimson (2014:133), who transcribes the unrounded central realization of the English GOOSE vowel /u:/ with the symbol [:].
  3. ^ Instead of "post-palatal", it can be called "retracted palatal", "backed palatal", "palato-velar", "pre-velar", "advanced velar", "fronted velar" or "front-velar".
  4. ^ Pullum & Ladusaw (1996:298)
  5. ^ Asyik, Abdul Gani (1982), "The agreement system in Acehnese" (PDF), Mon-Khmer Studies, 11: 1-33, archived from the original (PDF) on 5 June 2013, retrieved 2012
  6. ^ Al-Ahmadi Al-Harbi, Awwad Ahmad (2003), "Acehnese coda condition: An optimality-theoretic account", Umm Al-Qura University Journal of Educational and Social Sciences and Humanities, 15: 9-21, archived from the original on 2009-07-29, retrieved
  7. ^ Mid-vowels in Acehnese Archived 2010-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Hayward & Hayward (1999), p. 47.
  9. ^ a b Blankenship et al. (1993), p. 129.
  10. ^ Abdel-Massih (1971:15)
  11. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 534-535.
  12. ^ a b Lodge (2009:174)
  13. ^ a b Altendorf & Watt (2004:188-189)
  14. ^ a b Mott (2012:75)
  15. ^ Lass (2002), pp. 113-115.
  16. ^ a b Wells (1982:534)
  17. ^ Lodge (2009), p. 174.
  18. ^ "Phonological inventory of Paraguayan Guarani". South American Phonological Inventory Database. Berkeley: University of California. 2015.
  19. ^ a b Schuh & Yalwa (1999), p. 90.
  20. ^ a b Ó Sé (2000), p. ?.
  21. ^ a b Ní Chasaide (1999:114)
  22. ^ Wendel & Wendel (1978), p. 198.
  23. ^ "Koshur: Spoken Kashmiri: A Language Course: Transcription". Retrieved 2016.
  24. ^ Pearce (2011), p. 251.
  25. ^ Thackston (2006a), p. 1.
  26. ^ Khan & Lescot (1970), pp. 8-16.
  27. ^ Nau (2011), pp. 9-10.
  28. ^ Kruspe & Hajek (2009), p. 244.
  29. ^ a b Sadowsky et al. (2013:92)
  30. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005), pp. 62, 66-67.
  31. ^ Olson (2004), p. 235.
  32. ^ Gordon & Maddieson (1996), p. 118.
  33. ^ Sarlin (2014), p. 18.
  34. ^ a b Jones & Ward (1969), pp. 33, 38.
  35. ^ Hargus & Beavert (2002).
  36. ^ a b Teo (2014), p. 28.
  37. ^ Teo (2012), p. 368.
  38. ^ a b Valenzuela, Márquez Pinedo & Maddieson (2001), p. 283.
  39. ^ Firestone (1965), p. ?.
  40. ^ a b c Riad (2014), p. 21.
  41. ^ a b Ido (2014), p. 91.
  42. ^ a b Keane (2004), p. 114.
  43. ^ Tench (2007), p. 230.
  44. ^ Tench (2007:231)
  45. ^ Zimmer & Organ (1999:155)
  46. ^ Göksel & Kerslake (2005:10)
  47. ^ K?l?ç & Ö?üt (2004)
  48. ^ a b Dombrowski, Andrew. "Vowel Harmony Loss in West Rumelian Turkish".
  49. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005), pp. 64, 68.
  50. ^ [Udmurt-Russian dictionary] (in Russian)
  51. ^ "b?ng". Retrieved .
  52. ^ a b Ball (1984), p. ?.
  53. ^ Merrill (2008), p. 109.
  54. ^ Jassem (2003), p. 105.
  55. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 91.


External links

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