Open front unrounded vowel
|Open front unrounded vowel|
The open front unrounded vowel, or low front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. According to the official standards of the International Phonetic Association, the symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨a⟩.
In practice, however, it is very common to approximate this sound with ⟨æ⟩ (officially a near-open (near-low) front unrounded vowel), and to use ⟨a⟩ as an open (low) central unrounded vowel. This is the normal practice, for example, in the historical study of the English language. The loss of separate symbols for open and near-open front vowels is usually considered unproblematic, since the perceptual difference between the two is quite small, and very few languages contrast the two. See open central unrounded vowel for more information. If one needs to specify that the vowel is front, they can use symbols like [a̟] ([a] with "advanced" diactric), or [æ̞] (lowered [æ]), with the latter being more common.
The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, and the name of the article follows this. However, a large number of linguists,[who?] perhaps a majority, prefer the terms "high" and "low".
|IPA vowel chart|
|Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded|
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- Its vowel height is open, also known as low, which means the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth – that is, as low as possible in the mouth.
- 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. This subsumes central open (central low) vowels because the tongue does not have as much flexibility in positioning as it does in the mid and close (high) vowels; the difference between an open front vowel and an open back vowel is similar to the difference between a close front and a close central vowel, or a close central and a close back vowel.
- It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.
Many languages have some form of an unrounded open vowel. For languages that have only a single low vowel, the symbol for this vowel ⟨a⟩ may be used because it is the only low vowel whose symbol is part of the basic Latin alphabet. Whenever marked as such, the vowel is closer to a central [ä] than to a front [a].
|Arabic||Levantine||بان||[baːn]||'he/it appeared'||See Arabic phonology|
|Assyrian Neo-Aramaic||la||[laː]||'no'||Widely present in Urmia and Jilu dialects. Corresponds to [ä] in most of the other varieties. In the Tyari dialect, [ɑ] is usually used.|
|Catalan||Majorcan||sac||[sak]||'sack'||Corresponds to [ä] in other varieties. See Catalan phonology|
|Dutch||Broad Amsterdam||ijs||[aːs]||'ice'||Corresponds to [ɛi̯] in standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology|
|Standard||Ranges from front to central.|
|Utrecht||bad||[bat]||'bath'||Corresponds to [ɑ] in standard Netherlandic Dutch.|
|English||Canadian||hat||[hat] (help·info)||'hat'||Depending on the region, the quality may be anywhere from front [ɛ] to back [ɑ]. For the Canadian vowel, see Canadian Shift. See also English phonology|
|Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg|
|Modern speakers of Received Pronunciation|
|Cockney||stuck||[stak]||'stuck'||Can be [ɐ̟] instead.|
|Inland Northern American||stock||'stock'||Less front [ɑ ~ ä] in other American dialects. See Northern cities vowel shift|
|Local Dublin||Less front [ɒ ~ ɑ] in Mainstream Dublin, open-mid rounded [ɔ] in New Dublin.|
|German||Bernese||drääje||[ˈtræ̞ːjə]||'turn'||See Bernese German phonology|
|Gujarati||શાંતિ shanti||[ʃant̪i]||'peace'||See Gujarati phonology|
|Limburgish||Hamont dialect||pääns||[paːns²]||'belly'||May be transcribed /æ(ː)/. It's fully front, and it contrasts short and long versions. It contrasts with [äː], [ɑ] and [ɑː]. See Phonology of the Hamont-Achel dialect of Limburgish|
|Hasselt dialect||maak||[maːk²]||'making'||Somewhat retracted and, in the dialect of Weert, somewhat raised.|
|North Frisian||braan||[braːn]||'to burn'|
|Norwegian||Stavanger||hatt||[hat]||'hat'||Corresponds to [ä] in Standard Eastern Norwegian. See Norwegian phonology|
|Trondheim||lær||[laːɾ]||'leather'||Corresponds to [æː] in Standard Eastern Norwegian. See Norwegian phonology|
|Standard Eastern||hat||[haːt]||'hate'||Some older speakers, others use a central [äː]. See Norwegian phonology|
|Vest-Agder||Some dialects, in others it's more back. It corresponds to [aː ~ äː] in Standard Eastern Norwegian. See Norwegian phonology|
|Polish||jajo||[ˈjajɔ] (help·info)||'egg'||Fronted allophone of /a/ [ä] between palatal or palatalized consonants. See Polish phonology|
|Russian||Muscovite dialect||Москва||[maskˈva]||'Moscow'||Unstressed /о/ [ɐ] and stressed /а/ [ä] in Standard Russian: [mɐskˈvä]|
|Spanish||Eastern Andalusian||las madres||[læ̞(h) ˈmæ̞ːð̞ɾɛ(h)]||'the mothers'||Corresponds to [ä] in other dialects, but in these dialects they're distinct. See Spanish phonology|
|Welsh||mam||[mam]||'mother'||See Welsh phonology|
- Verhoeven (2007), p. 221.
- Thelwall & Sa'Adeddin (1990), p. 38.
- Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999), p. ?.
- Collins & Mees (2003), p. 136.
- Collins & Mees (2003), p. 133.
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- Collins & Mees (2003), pp. 104.
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- Boberg (2005), pp. 133–154.
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- Vanvik (1979), p. 16.
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- Zamora Vicente (1967), p. ?.
- Merrill (2008), p. 109.
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