The near-close central unrounded vowel, or near-high central unrounded vowel, is a vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The International Phonetic Alphabet can represent this sound in a number of ways (see the box on the right), but the most common symbols are ⟨ɪ̈⟩ (centralized[ɪ]) and ⟨ɨ̞⟩ (lowered[ɨ]). Other possible transcriptions are ⟨ɪ̠⟩ (retracted[ɪ]) and ⟨ɘ̝⟩ (raised[ɘ]), with the latter symbol being the least common. The X-SAMPA equivalents are, respectively, I\, 1_o, I_- and @\_r.
In many British dictionaries, this vowel has been transcribed ⟨ɪ⟩, which captures its height; in the American tradition it is more often ⟨ɨ⟩, which captures its centrality, or ⟨ᵻ⟩, which captures both. ⟨ᵻ⟩ is also used in a number of other publications, such as Accents of English by John C. Wells. In the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, ⟨ᵻ⟩ represents free variation between /ɪ/ and /ə/.
For some speakers it can be equal to [ə]. General and Broad varieties of SAE have an allophonic variation, with [ɪ] ([i] in Broad) occurring near velar and palatal consonants, and [ɪ̈~ə] elsewhere. See South African English phonology
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Altendorf, Ulrike; Watt, Dominic (2004), "The dialects in the South of England: phonology", in Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Kortmann, Bernd; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive, A handbook of varieties of English, 1: Phonology, Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 181–196, ISBN3-11-017532-0
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Hayward, Katrina; Hayward, Richard J. (1999), "Amharic", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 45–50, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004874, ISBN0-521-65236-7
Jones, Daniel; Ward, Dennis (1969), The Phonetics of Russian, Cambridge University Press
Kruspe, Nicole; Hajek, John (2009), "Mah Meri", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 39 (2): 241–248, doi:10.1017/S0025100309003946
Lass, Roger (2002), "South African English", in Mesthrie, Rajend, Language in South Africa, Cambridge University Press, ISBN9780521791052