Mid front unrounded vowel

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Mid front unrounded vowel
IPA number 302 430
Entity (decimal) e​̞
Unicode (hex) U+0065 U+031E
Braille ⠑ (braille pattern dots-15) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠣ (braille pattern dots-126)

The mid front unrounded vowel is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. While there is no dedicated symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the exact mid front unrounded vowel between close-mid [e] and open-mid [ɛ], it is normally written e. If precision is required, diacritics may be used, such as or ɛ̝ (the former, indicating lowering, being more common). In Sinology and Koreanology , (small capital E, U+1D07, ᴇ) is used sometimes.

For many languages that have only one phonemic front unrounded vowel in the mid-vowel area (i.e. neither close nor open), this vowel is pronounced as a true mid vowel, phonetically distinct from either a close-mid or open-mid vowel. Examples are Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Greek and Turkish. A number of dialects of English also have such a mid front vowel. However, there is no general predisposition for this. Igbo, for example, has a close-mid [e], whereas Bulgarian has an open-mid [ɛ], even though neither language has another phonemic mid front vowel.

The Kensiu language spoken in Malaysia and Thailand is claimed to be unique in having true-mid vowels that are phonemically distinct from both close-mid and open-mid vowels without differences in other parameters such as backness or roundedness.[1]



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic h [he̞ː] 'yes' Usually shifted to [e] and [ɪ] in the Urmia and Jilu dialects.
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[2] [example needed]
Catalan Alguerese sec [se̞k] 'dry' /ɛ/ and /e/ merge into [e̞] in these dialects. See Catalan phonology
English Cardiff[3] square [skwe̞ː] 'square' Corresponds to /ɛə/ in RP.
Cockney let [le̞t] 'let' May be a diphthong instead before voiced consonants.
Cultivated Australian Close-mid [e] for other speakers, but it may be even higher [ɪ] in New Zealand.
Cultivated New Zealand
Received Pronunciation[4] Many speakers pronounce a more open vowel [ɛ] instead. See English phonology
Southern English
Inland Northern American[5] bit [bë̞t̚] 'bit' Centralized, used in some dialects. Corresponds to [ɪ] in other dialects, in Scotland it can be [ɪ~ə] instead. See Northern Cities vowel shift
Scottish[6] [bë̞ʔ]
Yorkshire[7] play [ple̞ː] 'play'
Finnish[8] menen [ˈme̞ne̞n] 'I (will) go' See Finnish phonology
German Standard[9] Bett About this sound [bɛ̝̈tʰ]  'bed' Centralized;[9] it's the realization of /ɛ/ according to the vowel chart in Kohler (1999). On the other hand, Mangold (2005) places it in the open mid position: [ɛ]. See German phonology
Greek φαινόμενο fainómeno [fe̞ˈno̞me̞no̞] 'phenomenon' See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrew[10] כן [ke̞n] 'yes' Hebrew vowels are not shown in the script, see Niqqud and Modern Hebrew phonology
Hungarian[11] hét [he̞ːt̪] 'seven' See Hungarian phonology
Japanese[12] 笑み About this sound [e̞mʲi]  'smile' See Japanese phonology
Korean[13] 베개 [pe̞ˈɡɛ] 'pillow' See Korean phonology
Norwegian Standard Eastern[14] nett [n̪ɛ̝t̪] 'net' Typically transcribed /ɛ/. See Norwegian phonology
Portuguese Brazilian energia [ẽ̞ne̞ɦˈʑi.ɐ] 'energy' Unstressed vowel.[15] See Portuguese phonology
Romanian fete [ˈfe̞t̪e̞] 'girls' See Romanian phonology
Russian[16] человек [t͡ɕɪlɐˈvʲe̞k] 'human' Occurs only after soft consonants. See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian[17] питање / pitanje About this sound [pǐːt̪äːɲ̟e̞]  'question' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Spanish[18] bebé [be̞ˈβ̞e̞] 'baby' See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central Standard[19] häll [he̞l̪] 'flat rock' Typically transcribed as /ɛ/. Many dialects pronounce short /e/ and /ɛ/ the same. See Swedish phonology
Tagalog daliri [dɐˈliɾe̞] 'finger' See Tagalog phonology
Turkish[20] ev [e̞v] 'house' See Turkish phonology
IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
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


  1. ^ Bishop, N. (1996). A preliminary description of Kensiw (Maniq) phonology. Mon–Khmer Studies Journal, 25.
  2. ^ Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  3. ^ Coupland (1990:95)
  4. ^ Roach (2004:242)
  5. ^ Labov, William; Ash, Sharon; Boberg, Charles (15 July 1997). "A National Map of the Regional Dialects of American English". Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006:7)
  7. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999:179)
  8. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005:60, 66)
  9. ^ a b Kohler (1999:87)
  10. ^ Laufer (1999:98)
  11. ^ Szende (1994:92)
  12. ^ Okada (1991:94)
  13. ^ Lee (1999:121)
  14. ^ Vanvik (1979:13)
  15. ^ Corresponds to /ɛ/, or /ɨ/ and /i/ (where Brazilian dialects have [i ~ ɪ ~ e̞]), in other national variants. May be lowered to [ɛ̝ ~ ɛ] in amazofonia, nordestino, mineiro (MG) and fluminense (RJ) if not nasalized ([ẽ̞] does not corresponds to phoneme //), or be raised and merged to /e/ in sulista, paulistano, caipira and sertanejo.
  16. ^ Jones & Ward (1969:41)
  17. ^ Landau et al. (1999:67)
  18. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:256)
  19. ^ Engstrand (1999:140)
  20. ^ Zimmer & Orgun (1999:155)


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