Open-mid back unrounded vowel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Open-mid back unrounded vowel
IPA number 314
Entity (decimal) ʌ
Unicode (hex) U+028C
Kirshenbaum V
Braille ⠬ (braille pattern dots-346)

The open-mid back unrounded vowel, or low-mid 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 ʌ, graphically a rotated lowercase vee (called a turned V, though it was created as a small-capital without the crossbar), and both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as either a wedge, a caret, or a hat. In transcriptions for some languages (including several dialects of English), this symbol is also used for the near-open central vowel.

The IPA prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowels, and the name of the article follows this. However, linguists[who?] are known to use the terms "high" and "low".


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
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


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
English Cape Town[1] lot [lʌ̈t] 'lot' Centralized.[1] It corresponds to a weakly rounded [ɒ̈] in all other South African dialects.
Cardiff[2] thought [θʌ̈ːt] 'thought' Centralized,[2] for some speakers it may be rounded and closer. See English phonology
Cockney[3] no [nʌ̈ː] 'no, nah' Centralized,[3] often a diphthong. It corresponds to /əʊ̯/ in other dialects. See English phonology
General South African[4] [nʌː] May be a diphthong [ʌʊ̯] instead.[5]
Inland Northern American[6] gut About this sound [ɡʌt]  'gut' Less fronted than other dialects, but Scottish /ʌ/ has also been described as almost central [ɜ].[7] See English phonology and Northern cities vowel shift
Older Received Pronunciation
French Belgian bus [ˈbʌs] 'bus' This pronunciation is found in Walloon speaking areas.[11] It sometimes occurs when short.
Irish Ulster dialect ola [ʌlˠə] 'oil' See Irish phonology
Korean[12] byeol [pjʌl] 'star' See Korean phonology
Vietnamese [13] [ʌn] 'grace' Also transcribed as central [ə]. See Vietnamese phonology

Before World War II, the /ʌ/ of Received Pronunciation was phonetically close to a back vowel [ʌ]; this sound has since shifted forward towards [ɐ] (a near-open central vowel). Daniel Jones reports his speech (southern British), as having an advanced back vowel [ʌ̘] between his central /ə/ and back /ɔ/; however, he also reports that other southern speakers had a lower and even more advanced vowel approaching cardinal [a].[14] In American English varieties, e.g., the West and Midwest, and the urban South, the typical phonetic realization of the phoneme /ʌ/ is a central vowel that can be transcribed as [ɜ] (open-mid central).[15][16] Truly backed variants of /ʌ/ that are phonetically [ʌ] can occur in Inland Northern American English, Newfoundland English, Philadelphia English, some African-American Englishes, and (old-fashioned) white Southern English in coastal plain and Piedmont areas.[17][18] Despite this, the letter ʌ is still commonly used to indicate this phoneme, even in the more common varieties with central variants [ɐ] or [ɜ]. This may be due to both tradition as well as the fact that some other dialects retain the older pronunciation.[19]


  1. ^ a b c Lass (2002), p. 115.
  2. ^ a b Coupland (1990), p. 95.
  3. ^ a b Wells (1982a), p. 309.
  4. ^ Wells (1982b), pp. 614 and 621.
  5. ^ Wells (1982b), p. 614.
  6. ^ W. Labov, S. Ash and C. Boberg (1997), A national map of the regional dialects of American English, Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania, retrieved May 27, 2013 
  7. ^ Lodge (2009), p. 167.
  8. ^ Thomas (2001), pp. 27–28, 61–63.
  9. ^ Thomas (2001), pp. 27–28, 73–74.
  10. ^ Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006), p. 7.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Lee (1999).
  13. ^ [[#CITEREFvi.C3.A2n|vi (ân)]].
  14. ^ Jones (1972), pp. 86–88.
  15. ^ Gordon (2004b), p. 340.
  16. ^ Tillery & Bailey (2004), p. 333.
  17. ^ Thomas (2001), pp. 27–28, 112–115, 121, 134, 174.
  18. ^ Gordon (2004a), pp. 294–296.
  19. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999), p. 135.


  • Coupland, Nikolas (1990), English in Wales: Diversity, Conflict, and Change, ISBN 1-85359-032-0 
  • Gordon, Matthew (2004a), "New York, Philadelphia and other Northern Cities", in Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W., A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 294–296, ISBN 3-11-017532-0  Missing |last2= in Editors list (help)
  • Gordon, Matthew (2004b), "The West and Midwest: phonology", in Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W., A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, p. 340, ISBN 3-11-017532-0  Missing |last2= in Editors list (help)
  • Jones, Daniel (1972), An outline of English phonetics (9th ed.), Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons Ltd. 
  • Lass, Roger (2002), "South African English", in Mesthrie, Rajend, Language in South Africa, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521791052 
  • Lee, Hyun Bok (1999), "Korean", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 120–122, ISBN 0-521-63751-1 
  • Lodge, Ken (2009), A Critical Introduction to Phonetics, pp. 166–167, ISBN 978-0-8264-8873-2 
  • Roca, Iggy; Johnson, Wyn (1999), Course in Phonology, Blackwell Publishing 
  • Scobbie, James M; Gordeeva, Olga B.; Matthews, Benjamin (2006), Acquisition of Scottish English Phonology: an overview, Edinburgh: QMU Speech Science Research Centre Working Papers 
  • Thomas, Erik R. (2001), An acoustic analysis of vowel variation in New World English, Publication of the American Dialect Society (Duke University Press for the American Dialect Society) 85, ISSN 0002-8207 
  • Tillery, Jan; Bailey, Guy (2004), "The urban South: phonology", in Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W., A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, p. 333, ISBN 3-11-017532-0  Missing |last2= in Editors list (help)
  • Wells, J.C. (1982a). "Accents of English 2: The British Isles". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Wells, J.C. (1982b). Accents of English 3: Beyond the British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-28541-0.