Near-open front unrounded vowel

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Near-open front unrounded vowel
æ
IPA number 325
Encoding
Entity (decimal) æ
Unicode (hex) U+00E6
X-SAMPA {
Kirshenbaum &
Braille ⠩ (braille pattern dots-146)
Sound

The near-open front unrounded vowel, or near-low front 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 æ, a lowercase of the Æ ligature. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as "ash".

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

In practice, /æ/ is sometimes used to represent an open front unrounded vowel; see the introduction to that page for more information.

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
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IPA help • IPA key • chart • Loudspeaker.svg chart with audio • view
  • 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 front, which means the tongue is positioned as far forward as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Note that rounded front vowels are often centralized, which means that they're in fact near-front.
  • It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.

Occurrence[edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans[1] Standard perd [pæːrt] 'horse' Allophone of /ɛ/ before sequences /rs/, /rt/, /rd/ and, in some dialects, before /k x l r/.
Ahtna kuggaedi [kʰuk̠æti] 'mosquito'
Arabic Standard[2] كتاب About this sound [kiˈt̪æːb]  'book' Allophone of /a/ in the environment of plain labial and coronal consonants as well as /j/. See Arabic phonology
Azerbaijani səs [sæs] 'sound'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic nata [næːta] 'ear' In some speakers of the Urmia and Jilu dialects; Others may use [a]. Outside these dialects, [ä] is widespread; However, the Tyari dialects may use [ɑ].
Bengali এক [æk] 'one' See Bengali phonology
Catalan[3][4][5] Majorcan sec [sæk] 'I sit' Typically transcribed as /ɛ/. See Catalan phonology
Minorcan
Valencian
Danish Dansk [ˈd̥ænsɡ̊] 'Danish' See Danish phonology
Dutch Low Saxon Some dialects dät [dæt] 'that' More back in other dialects.
English Australian[6] cat About this sound [kʰæt]  'cat' Contrasts with /æː/; may be higher [ɛ] in broader accents. See Australian English phonology
Cultivated New Zealand Higher [ɛ] for most other speakers.
General American[7] See English phonology
Received Pronunciation[8] Lower [a] for many younger speakers. See English phonology
South African May be higher [ɛ] in broader accents or lower [a] in Johannesburg. See English phonology
Norfolk[9] [kʰæ̈t] Somewhat centralized.[9]
Cockney[10] town [tˢæːn] 'town' May be lower [] or a diphthong [æə̯] instead. It corresponds to /aʊ̯/ in other dialects. See English phonology
Finnish mäki [ˈmæki] 'hill' See Finnish phonology
French Popular Parisian [11] tard [ˈtæʀ] 'late'
German Standard[12] Pointe [ˈpʰo̯æ̃ːtʰə] 'punch line' Nasalized.[12] Most often transcribed /ɛ̃(ː)/. Present only in loanwords. See German phonology
Greek Macedonia[13] γάτα gáta [ˈɣætæ] 'cat' See Modern Greek phonology
Thessaly[13]
Thrace[13]
Hindi बैल [bæl] 'oxen' See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Jalapa Mazatec tsæ [tsǣ] 'guava'
Lakon[14] rävräv [ræβræβ] 'evening'
Latvian ezers [ˈæz̪ærs̪] 'lake'
Lithuanian eglė [ˈæːɡʲlʲeː] 'spruce tree'
Luxembourgish[15] Käpp [kʰæpʰ] 'heads' Somewhat lowered.
Norwegian Bergen[16] ett [æt] 'one' This dialect doesn't have an /ɛ/ phoneme, and replaces it with either /æ/ or (rarer) with /ɪ/. See Norwegian phonology
Standard Eastern[17] lær [l̪æːɾ] 'leather' See Norwegian phonology
Persian در [dær] 'door' See Persian phonology
Pontic Greek Many dialects[18] καλάθια [kaˈlaθæ] 'baskets' A diphthong [e̯a] instead in Ofitika dialect.
Portuguese Some dialects[19] pedra [ˈpæðɾɐ] 'stone' Stressed vowel. In other dialects closer /ɛ/. See Portuguese phonology
Some European speakers[20] também [tɐˈmæ̃] 'also', 'too' Stressed vowel, allophone of nasal vowel /ẽ̞/. See Portuguese phonology
Russian[21] пять About this sound [pʲætʲ]  'five' Allophone of /a/ between palatalized consonants. See Russian phonology
Sinhala කැමති [kæməti] 'to like'
Slovak[22] väzy [ˈʋæzɪ] 'ligaments' Somewhat rare pronunciation, with [ɛ] being more common.
Swedish päron [ˈpʰæˌrɔn] 'pear' Allophone of /ɛ/ before /r/. See Swedish phonology
Turkish sen [sæn] 'you' Allophone of /e/ before syllable-final /l m n ɾ/. See Turkish phonology
Vietnamese Northern pha [fæ] 'phase' Some dialects. Corresponds to [a] in other dialects. See Vietnamese phonology
Yaghan mæpi [mæpi] 'reed'

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]