Close back unrounded vowel

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Not to be confused with the Armenian letter ա or the Cyrillic letter ш.
Close back unrounded vowel
ɯ
IPA number 316
Encoding
Entity (decimal) ɯ
Unicode (hex) U+026F
X-SAMPA M
Kirshenbaum u-
Braille ⠲ (braille pattern dots-256) ⠥ (braille pattern dots-136)
Sound

The close back unrounded vowel, or high back unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɯ. Typographically a turned letter m, given its relation to the sound represented by the letter u it can be considered a u with an extra "bowl". The sound is sometimes referred to as "unrounded u".

The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, hence the name of this article. However, a large number of linguists, perhaps a majority, prefer the terms "high" and "low".

Features[edit]

IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Close
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
iy
ɨʉ
ɯu
ɪʏ
eø
ɘɵ
ɤo
ɛœ
ɜɞ
ʌɔ
æ
aɶ
ɑɒ
Near-close
Close-mid
Mid
Open-mid
Near-open
Open
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
Symbols with diacritics do not appear on the official IPA vowel chart. They are shown here for an easier access to articles.
This table contains phonetic symbols, which may not display correctly in some browsers. [Help]

IPA help • IPA key • chart • Loudspeaker.svg chart with audio • view
  • Its vowel height is close, also known as high, which means the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.
  • Its vowel backness is back, which means the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Note that unrounded back vowels tend to be centralized, which means that they're in fact near-back.
  • It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.

Occurrence[edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Acehnese eu [ɯ] 'see' Durie[1] describes this sound as such, while Asyik[2] and Al-Ahmadi Al-Harbi[3] describe it as closer to [ɨ].
Alekano hanuva [hɑnɯβɑ] 'nothing'
Azeri qırx [gɯɾx] 'forty'
Bashkir ҡыҙ [qɯð] 'girl'
Min Nan [tɯ] 'pig' Some dialects
Wu [vɯ] 'father' Some dialects
Xiang [xɯ] 'fire'
Crimean Tatar canım [dʒanɯm] 'please'
Garifuna gürûgua ɡɯˈɹɯɡwə 'bite'
Irish Ulster caol [kʰɯːl̪ˠ] 'narrow' See Irish phonology
Korean[4] 음식 eumsik [ɯːmɕik̚] 'food' See Korean phonology
Kyrgyz кыз [qɯz] 'girl'
Ongota [kuˈbuːɯ] 'dry'
Sakha тыл [tɯl] 'tongue'
Scottish Gaelic caol [kʰɯːl̪ˠ] 'thin' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Sundanese meunang [mɯnaŋ] 'get'
Thai[5] ขึ้น[6] [kʰɯn˥˩] 'to go up'
Turkish ılık [ɯˈɫɯk] 'warm' See Turkish phonology
Turkmen ýaşyl [jäːˈʃɯl] 'green'
Vietnamese tư [tɯ] 'fourth' See Vietnamese phonology

The symbol ɯ is sometimes used for Japanese /u/, but that sound is rounded, albeit with labial compression rather than protrusion. It is more accurately described as an exolabial close back vowel.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Lee, Hyun Bok (1999), "Korean", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association:A Guide to the Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge University Press, pp. 120–123, ISBN 0-521-63751-1 
  • Tingsabadh, M.R. Kalaya; Abramson, Arthur S. (1993), Thai, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (1): 24–26, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004746