Near-close near-front rounded vowel

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Near-close near-front rounded vowel
IPA number 320
Entity (decimal) ʏ
Unicode (hex) U+028F
Kirshenbaum I.
Braille Error using {{Braille cell}}: input "inchem" not supported.⠽ (braille pattern dots-13456)

The near-close near-front rounded vowel, or near-high near-front rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʏ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is Y. Sometimes,[1] especially in broad transcription, this vowel is transcribed with a simpler symbol ⟨y⟩, which technically represents the close front rounded vowel.

The Handbook of the International Phonetic Association defines [ʏ] as a mid-centralized (lowered and centralized) close front rounded vowel,[2] therefore, an alternative transcription of this vowel is ⟨⟩ (a symbol equivalent to a more complex ⟨ÿ˕⟩). The symbol ⟨ʏ⟩ is sometimes also used to transcribe the close-mid near-front rounded vowel, which is a slightly lower vowel, though it still fits the definition of a mid-centralized [y]. It occurs in some dialects of English (such as Estuary or New Zealand),[3][4] as well as some other languages (such as Weert Limburgish)[5] and it can be transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʏ̞⟩ (a lowered ⟨ʏ⟩) in narrow transcription. For the close-mid near-front rounded vowel that is not usually transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʏ⟩ (or ⟨y⟩), see close-mid front rounded vowel.

For the fully central equivalents of these vowels, see near-close central rounded vowel and close-mid central rounded vowel.

The very rare near-close front rounded vowel, which differs from its near-front counterpart in that it is a lowered, but not centralized close front rounded vowel has been reported by one source[6] as a phonetic realization of Standard Eastern Norwegian /ʏ/. It is transcribed in IPA as ⟨ʏ̟⟩, ⟨⟩ or ⟨ø̝⟩.

The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, though many linguists prefer the terms "high" and "low".

In most languages this rounded vowel is pronounced with compressed lips (in an exolabial manner). However, in a few cases the lips are protruded (in an endolabial manner). This is the case with Swedish, which contrasts the two types of rounding.

Near-close near-front compressed vowel[edit]

The near-close near-front compressed vowel is typically transcribed in IPA simply as ⟨ʏ⟩, and that is the convention used in this article. There is no dedicated diacritic for compression in the IPA. However, the compression of the lips can be shown with the letter ⟨β̞⟩ as ⟨ɪ͡β̞⟩ (simultaneous [ɪ] and labial compression) or ⟨ɪᵝ⟩ ([ɪ] modified with labial compression). The spread-lip diacritic ⟨  ͍ ⟩ may also be used with a rounded vowel letter ⟨ʏ͍⟩ as an ad hoc symbol, though technically 'spread' means unrounded.

The close-mid near-front compressed vowel can be transcribed ⟨ɪ̞͡β̞⟩, ⟨ɪ̞ᵝ⟩ or ⟨ʏ͍˕⟩.


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
i • y
ɨ • ʉ
ɯ • u
ɪ • ʏ
ɪ̈ • ʊ̈
ɯ̽ • ʊ
e • ø
ɘ • ɵ
ɤ • o
 • ø̞
ə • ɵ̞
ɤ̞ • 
ɛ • œ
ɜ • ɞ
ʌ • ɔ
æ • 
ɐ • ɞ̞
a • ɶ
ä • ɒ̈
ɑ • ɒ
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


Since front rounded vowels are assumed to have compression, and few descriptions cover the distinction, some of the following may actually have protrusion.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Bavarian Northern[7] vill [v̥ʏl] 'much' Allophone of /i/ before /l/.[7]
Dutch Standard[8][9] hut [ɦʏ̞t] 'hut' Close-mid;[8][9] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʏ⟩ or, more rarely, with ⟨ʉ⟩, ⟨ɵ⟩ or ⟨œ⟩. Also described as close-mid central [ɵ][10] and near-close central [ʊ̈].[11] The near-close (rather than close-mid) [ʏ] has also been described as a standard realization of /y/; whereas in some dialects it is the usual realization of /ʏ/.[12] See Dutch phonology
English Estuary[13][14] foot [fʏʔt] 'foot' Possible realization of /ʊ/ and /uː/. In the former case, the height varies between near-close and close-mid.[13][15]
Multicultural London[16] Possible realization of /ʊ/.[16]
West Country[17] [fʏt] Possible realization of /ʊ/ and /uː/.[17]
New Zealand[4][18] nurse [nʏːs] 'nurse' Possible realization of /ɵː/ (and also /ʉː/).[4][18][19] See New Zealand English phonology
Ulster[20] mule [mjʏl] 'mule' Short allophone of /u/; occurs only after /j/.[20] See English phonology
Faroese[21] krúss [kɹʏsː] 'mug' See Faroese phonology
French Quebec[22] lune [lʏn] 'moon' Allophone of /y/ in closed syllables.[22] See Quebec French phonology
German Standard[23][24] schützen [ˈʃʏt͡sn̩] 'protect' Described variously as near-close[23] and close-mid.[24] May differ from /øː/ in almost nothing but length.[24] See Standard German phonology
Chemnitz dialect[25] dünn [t̪ʏn̪] 'thin' Used by some speakers in some cognates of standard German words; contrasts with the central /ɵ/. Other speakers use an unrounded [ɪ].[25] See Chemnitz German phonology
Some speakers[26] schwimmen [ˈʃvʏmən] 'to swim' Allophone of /ɪ/ before labial consonants. Used by some speakers in Northern and Central Germany.[26] See Standard German phonology
Some Swiss dialects[27][28] Vrǜnd [v̥rʏnd̥] 'friend' The example word is from the Bernese dialect.
Hungarian[29] üt About this sound [ʏt̪] 'to hit' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨y⟩. See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic[30] vinur [ˈʋɪ̞ːnʏ̞ɾ] 'friend' Close-mid;[30] also described as central [ɵ].[31] See Icelandic phonology
Limburgish Hamont dialect[32] bul [bʏl¹] 'a paper bag' May be transcribed in IPA with ⟨y⟩.[32] See Hamont dialect phonology
Weert dialect[5] bluts [blʏ̞ts] 'bump' Close-mid.[5]
Norwegian Standard Eastern[6] gull [ɡʏlː] 'gold' The quality has been variously described as near-close near-front [ʏ],[6] near-close central [ʏ̈][33] and close central [ÿ],[34] whereas the type of rounding has been variously described as compressed[35][36] and protruded.[36][37] It may differ from /ʏ/ only by the type of rounding. Typically, it is transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʉ⟩. See Norwegian phonology
Ripuarian Kerkrade dialect[38] kümme [ˈkʏmə] [translation needed] Realized as fully close [y] in the word-final position.[38]
Saterland Frisian[39] Kül [kʏl] 'end of a net'
Swedish Central Standard[40][41][42] ut [ʏːt̪] 'out' Often realized as a sequence [ʏβ̞] or [ʏβ][43] (hear the word: About this sound [ʏβt̪]). It may differ from /ʏ/ only by the type of rounding and length. Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʉː⟩; it is central [ʉː] in other dialects. See Swedish phonology
Turkish[44] atasözü [ät̪äˈs̪ø̞̈z̪ʏ] 'proverb' Allophone of /y/ described variously as "word-final"[44] and "occurring in final open syllable of a phrase".[45] See Turkish phonology
West Frisian Standard[46] put [pʏ̞t] 'well' Close-mid;[46] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ø⟩ or ⟨ʏ⟩. See West Frisian phonology
Wymysorys[47] büwa [ˈbʏvä] 'boys'

Near-close near-front protruded vowel[edit]

Near-close near-front protruded vowel

Catford notes that most languages with rounded front and back vowels use distinct types of labialization, protruded back vowels and compressed front vowels. However, a few, such as Scandinavian languages, have protruded front vowels. One of them, Swedish, even contrasts the two types of rounding in front vowels as well as height and duration.[48]

As there are no diacritics in the IPA to distinguish protruded and compressed rounding, the old diacritic for labialization, ⟨◌̫⟩, will be used here as an ad hoc symbol for protruded front vowels. Another possible transcription is ⟨ʏʷ⟩ or ⟨ɪʷ⟩ (a near-close near-front vowel modified by endolabialization), but that could be misread as a diphthong.

The close-mid near-front protruded vowel can be transcribed ⟨ʏ̫˕⟩, ⟨ʏ̞ʷ⟩ or ⟨ɪ̞ʷ⟩, whereas the near-close front protruded vowel can be transcribed ⟨ʏ̫˖⟩, ⟨ʏ̟ʷ⟩ or ⟨ɪ̟ʷ⟩.

For the close-mid near-front protruded vowel that is not usually transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʏ⟩ (or ⟨y⟩), see close-mid front protruded vowel.

Acoustically, this sound is "between" the more typical compressed near-close near-front vowel [ʏ] and the unrounded near-close near-front vowel [ɪ].



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Norwegian Standard Eastern[49][50][51] nytt About this sound [nʏ̫tː] 'new' The backness has been variously described as front[6] and near-front.[50][51] It may be transcribed in IPA with ⟨y⟩. See Norwegian phonology
Swedish Central Standard[40][41][42] ylle About this sound [²ʏ̫lːɛ̝] 'wool' The height has been variously described as close-mid,[40] near-close[41][42] and close.[52] It may differ from /ʉː/ only by the type of rounding and length. See Swedish phonology


  1. ^ E.g. in the case of the Hamont dialect of Limburgish (Verhoeven (2007:221)).
  2. ^ International Phonetic Association (1999), p. 13.
  3. ^ Altendorf & Watt (2004), pp. 188, 191.
  4. ^ a b c Bauer et al. (2007), p. 98.
  5. ^ a b c Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998), p. 110.
  6. ^ a b c d Vanvik (1979), p. 13.
  7. ^ a b Rowley (1990), p. 422.
  8. ^ a b Gussenhoven (1992), p. 47.
  9. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003), p. 128.
  10. ^ Rietveld & Van Heuven (2009), p. 69.
  11. ^ Verhoeven (2005), p. 245.
  12. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), pp. 131–132.
  13. ^ a b Przedlacka (2001), pp. 42–43.
  14. ^ Altendorf & Watt (2004), pp. 188, 190–191.
  15. ^ Altendorf & Watt (2004), pp. 188, 190.
  16. ^ a b Gimson (2014), p. 91.
  17. ^ a b Altendorf & Watt (2004), p. 200.
  18. ^ a b Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009).
  19. ^ Bauer & Warren (2004), p. 582.
  20. ^ a b Jilka, Matthias. "Irish English and Ulster English" (PDF). Stuttgart: Institut für Linguistik/Anglistik, University of Stuttgart. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014. 
  21. ^ Árnason (2011), pp. 68, 75.
  22. ^ a b Walker (1984), pp. 51–60.
  23. ^ a b Lodge (2009), p. 87.
  24. ^ a b c Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 34.
  25. ^ a b Khan & Weise (2013), p. 238.
  26. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 65.
  27. ^ Marti (1985), p. ?.
  28. ^ Fleischer & Schmid (2006), p. 247.
  29. ^ Szende (1994), p. 92.
  30. ^ a b Árnason (2011), p. 60.
  31. ^ Einarsson (1945:10), cited in Gussmann (2011:73)
  32. ^ a b Verhoeven (2007), p. 221.
  33. ^ Popperwell (2010), pp. 30–31.
  34. ^ Strandskogen (1979), pp. 15, 21.
  35. ^ Haugen (1974), p. 40.
  36. ^ a b Kristoffersen (2000), pp. 15–16.
  37. ^ Popperwell (2010), pp. 29, 31.
  38. ^ a b Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 16.
  39. ^ Fort (2001), p. 411.
  40. ^ a b c Engstrand (1999), p. 140.
  41. ^ a b c Bolander (2001), p. 55.
  42. ^ a b c Rosenqvist (2007), p. 9.
  43. ^ Engstrand (1999), p. 141.
  44. ^ a b Göksel & Kerslake (2005), p. 11.
  45. ^ Zimmer & Organ (1999), p. 155.
  46. ^ a b Tiersma (1999), p. 10.
  47. ^ Jarosław Weckwerth. "The pure vowels (monophthongs) of Wilamowicean – spectral characteristics" (PDF). pp. 1–2, 5. 
  48. ^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. ?.
  49. ^ Vanvik (1979), pp. 13, 20.
  50. ^ a b Strandskogen (1979), pp. 15, 23.
  51. ^ a b Popperwell (2010), pp. 32, 34.
  52. ^ Dahlstedt (1967), p. 16.