Near-back vowel

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A near-back vowel (also called a back-central vowel or a centralized back vowel) is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a near-back vowel is that the tongue is positioned as in a back vowel, but slightly further forward in the mouth.

The only near-back vowel which has a dedicated symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet is the near-close near-back vowel without specified rounding [ʊ].

There also are near-back vowels which don't have dedicated symbols in the IPA: