Near-open Central Unrounded Vowel
Get Near-open Central Unrounded Vowel essential facts below. View Videos or join the Near-open Central Unrounded Vowel discussion. Add Near-open Central Unrounded Vowel to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Near-open Central Unrounded Vowel
Near-open central vowel
IPA Number324
Entity (decimal)ɐ
Unicode (hex)U+0250
Braille? (braille pattern dots-256)? (braille pattern dots-1)
Audio sample

The near-open central vowel, or near-low central vowel,[1] 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[2] and that can be used for vowels that are near-open central,[3] near-open near-front,[4] near-open near-back,[5] open-mid central,[6] open central[7] or a (often unstressed) vowel with variable height, backness and/or roundedness that is produced in that general area.[8] 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[9] and then is typically transcribed with ⟨a⟩.


  • Its vowel height is near-open, also known as near-low, which means the tongue is positioned similarly to an open vowel, but is slightly more constricted - that is, the tongue is positioned similarly to a low vowel, but slightly higher.
  • Its vowel backness is central, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel.
  • It is undefined for roundedness, which means that it can be either rounded or unrounded. In practice however, the unrounded variant is more common.


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.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Bengali[10] / pa [p?] 'leg' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨a⟩. See Bengali phonology
Bulgarian[6] ??/para [p?'ra] 'coin' Unstressed allophone of /?/ and /a/.[6] May be transcribed in IPA with ⟨?⟩. See Bulgarian phonology
Burmese[11] ?/maat [m] 'vertical' Allophone of /a/ in syllables closed by a glottal stop and when nasalized; realized as fully open in open oral syllables.[12]
Catalan Barcelona metropolitan area[13][14] emmagatzemar [?m(:)?d?z'mä] 'to store' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨?⟩. See Catalan phonology
Chinese Cantonese[15] ? / sam1 [sm?] 'heart' Open-mid.[15] See Cantonese phonology
Shanghainese[16] [k] 'to cut' Appears only in closed syllables; the exact height and backness is somewhat variable.[16]
Danish[17] fatter ['fæt?] 'understands' Varies between near-open central unrounded [?], near-open near-back rounded [] and mid near-back unrounded .[17] See Danish phonology
Dinka Luanyjang[18] [orthographic
form needed
[l] 'berry' Short allophone of /a/; varies between near-open [?] and open-mid [].[18]
Emilian Bulåggna [bu'l?] 'Bologna' Centralized /a/.
English Australia calm [k?:m] 'calm' Central. See Australian English phonology
California[19] nut [n?t] 'nut' See English phonology
Cockney[20][21] [n] Near-front.[20]
East Anglian[22] [n] Used in some places (e.g. Colchester) instead of the traditional .[22]
New Zealand[23] [nt] Varies between near-open near-front [], near-open central [?], open near-front and open central .[23] See New Zealand English phonology
Received Pronunciation[3] See English phonology
Inland Northern American[24] bet [b?t] 'bet' Variation of /?/ used in some places whose accents have undergone the Northern cities vowel shift.
Middle Class London[25] lot [lt] 'lot' Rounded; can be back instead.[25] See English phonology
Galician feita ['fejt] 'done' Realization of final unstressed /a/. See Galician phonology
German Standard[8] 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.[8] See Standard German phonology
Northern German accents[26] kommen ['km?n] 'to come' Varies between central [?] and back [?]; corresponds to an open-mid rounded in Standard German.[26] See Standard German phonology
Greek Modern Standard[9] ???? / akaa [?k?'c?i.?] 'acacia' Most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨a⟩. See Modern Greek phonology
Hausa[27] [example needed] Possible allophone of /a/, which can be as close as and as open as .[27]
Hindustani[28] /‎/das ['ds] 'ten' Common realization of /?/.[28] See Hindustani phonology
Korean[29] / hana [h?n?] 'one' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨a⟩. See Korean phonology
Kumzari[4] [orthographic form?] [p] 'large' Near-front.[4]
Lithuanian kas [k?s?] 'what' See Lithuanian phonology
Luxembourgish[5] Kanner ['kn] 'children' Near-back.[30] See Luxembourgish phonology
Mapudungun[31] ka ['k] 'green' Open-mid;[31] often transcribed in IPA with ⟨a⟩.
Norwegian Østfold dialect[32] bada ['b:d?] 'to bathe' The example word illustrates both the rounded [] and the unrounded [?].
Portuguese[33][34] aja ['ä] 'act' (subj.) Closer [] in European Portuguese than in Brazilian Portuguese ([?]).[33][34] See Portuguese phonology
Romanian Moldavian dialects[35] b?rbat [b?r'bat] 'man' Corresponds to in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Russian Standard Moscow[36] ? / golova 'head' Corresponds to in standard Saint Petersburg pronunciation;[36] occurs mostly immediately before stressed syllables. See Russian phonology
Sabiny[37] [example needed] Contrasts overshort unrounded and overshort rounded near-open central vowels.[38]
Ukrainian[39] ?? / slyva ['sl?w?] 'plum' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese[40] ch?ch [cjk?] 'askance' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩. See Vietnamese phonology
Xumi[41][42] [?ts][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.[42][43]

See also


  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ International Phonetic Association (1999), p. 166.
  3. ^ a b Roca & Johnson (1999), p. 186.
  4. ^ a b c Anonby (2011), p. 378.
  5. ^ a b Gilles & Trouvain (2013), pp. 68, 70.
  6. ^ a b c Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999), p. 56.
  7. ^ Cox & Fletcher (2017), pp. 64-65.
  8. ^ a b c Krech et al. (2009), p. 86.
  9. ^ a b Arvaniti (2007), p. 25.
  10. ^ Khan (2010), p. 222.
  11. ^ Watkins (2001), p. 293.
  12. ^ Watkins (2001), pp. 292-293.
  13. ^ Rafel (1999), p. 14.
  14. ^ Harrison (1997), pp. 2.
  15. ^ a b Zee (1999), p. 59.
  16. ^ a b Chen & Gussenhoven (2015), p. 328.
  17. ^ a b Basbøll (2005), p. 58.
  18. ^ a b Remijsen & Manyang (2009), pp. 117, 119.
  19. ^ Ladefoged (1999), p. 42.
  20. ^ a b Wells (1982), p. 305.
  21. ^ Hughes & Trudgill (1979), p. 35.
  22. ^ a b Trudgill (2004), p. 167.
  23. ^ a b Bauer et al. (2007), p. 98.
  24. ^ Labov, William; Ash, Sharon; Boberg, Charles (1997), A National Map of the Regional Dialects of American English, Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania, retrieved 2013
  25. ^ a b Altendorf & Watt (2004:188). The authors differentiate between symbols [] and []; the former denotes a more back vowel.
  26. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 64.
  27. ^ a b Schuh & Yalwa (1999), pp. 90-91.
  28. ^ a b Ohala (1999), p. 102.
  29. ^ Lee (1999), p. 121.
  30. ^ Gilles & Trouvain (2013), p. 70.
  31. ^ a b Sadowsky et al. (2013), p. 92.
  32. ^ Jahr (1990:92)
  33. ^ a b Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 91.
  34. ^ a b Barbosa & Albano (2004), p. 229.
  35. ^ Pop (1938), p. 29.
  36. ^ a b Yanushevskaya & Bun?i? (2015), p. 225.
  37. ^ "UPSID 4)S". Retrieved 2016.
  38. ^ "UPSID SEBEI". Retrieved 2016.
  39. ^ Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995), p. 4.
  40. ^ Hoang (1965), p. 24.
  41. ^ Chirkova & Chen (2013), pp. 369-370.
  42. ^ a b Chirkova, Chen & Kocjan?i? Antolík (2013), pp. 388-389.
  43. ^ Chirkova & Chen (2013), p. 369.


External links

  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