Close-mid front rounded vowel

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Close-mid front rounded vowel
IPA number 310
Entity (decimal) ø
Unicode (hex) U+00F8
Kirshenbaum Y
Braille ⠳ (braille pattern dots-1256)

The close-mid front rounded vowel, or high-mid front rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. Acoustically it is a close-mid front-central rounded vowel.[1] The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ø, a lowercase letter o with a diagonal stroke through it, derived from the Danish, Norwegian and Faroese alphabets which use the letter to represent this sound. The symbol is commonly referred to as "o, slash" in English.

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,[citation needed] prefer the terms "high" and "low".

Close-mid front compressed vowel[edit]

The close-mid front compressed vowel is typically transcribed in IPA simply as ø, 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 e͡β̞ (simultaneous [e] and labial compression) or eᵝ ([e] modified with labial compression). The spread-lip diacritic   ͍ may also be used with a rounded vowel letter ø͍ as an ad hoc symbol, though technically 'spread' means unrounded.


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
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
  • Its vowel height is close-mid, also known as high-mid, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a close vowel (a high vowel) and a mid vowel.
  • 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 often they are in fact near-front.
  • Its roundedness is compressed, which means that the margins of the lips are tense and drawn together in such a way that the inner surfaces are not exposed.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[2] [example needed] Near-front.[2]
Chinese Wu /tzeu [tsøː] 'most'
Danish Standard[3][4][5][6][7] købe [ˈkʰø̠ːb̥ə] 'buy' Near-front.[3][4][5][6][7] See Danish phonology
Dutch Northeastern neus [nøːs] 'nose' Dialects of provinces Groningen, Drenthe, Overijssel and Gelderland.
English Broad South African[8] bird [bø̠ːd] 'bird' Near-front.[8][9] May be lower [ø̞̈ː] in South Africa.[8] In Cultivated South African English, it is realized as [əː].[8] See English phonology
General South African[8]
Estuary[10] book [bø̠ʔk] 'book' Near-front; possible realization of /ʊ/.[10] See English phonology
Faroese øl [øːl] 'beer'
French[11] peu [pø] 'few' See French phonology
Franco-Provençal filye [ˈføʎə] 'daughter'
German Standard[12][13] schön About this sound [ʃø̠ːn]  'beautiful' Near-front;[12][13] also described as mid [ø̞̈].[14] See German phonology
Hungarian[15] nő [nø̠ː] 'woman' Near-front.[15] See Hungarian phonology
Limburgish Most dialects[16][17][18] beuk [bø̠ːk] 'books' Near-front.[16][17][18] The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Rural Weerts[19] keuke [ˈkøːkə] 'kitchen' Corresponds to /yə/ in the city dialect. The vowel transcribed /øː/ in the city dialect is actually a centering diphthong /øə/.[20]
Lombard Western coeur [køːr] 'heart' Also written ö, particularly in Switzerland and Italy.
Luxembourgish[21][22] blöd [bløːt] 'stupid' Occurs only in loanwords.[21][22] See Luxembourgish phonology
Ngwe Mmockngie dialect [nøɣə̀] 'sun'
Norwegian Standard Eastern[23] søt [sø̠ːt̪] 'sweet' Near-front.[23] See Norwegian phonology
Portuguese Micaelense[24] boi [ˈbø] 'ox' Allophone of /o/. See Portuguese phonology
Some European speakers[25] dou [ˈd̪øw] 'I give'
Rotuman mösʻạki [møːsʔɔki] 'to put to bed'
West Frisian Hindeloopers[26] beuch [bøːx] [translation needed] Diphthongized to [øʏ] in Standard West Frisian.[26] See West Frisian phonology
Standard[27] put [pøt] 'well' Also described as central [ɵ];[28] typically transcribed as /ø/ or /ʏ/. See West Frisian phonology

Vowel transcribed /øː/ in Belgian Dutch is in fact mid central [ɵ̞ː].[29]

Close-mid front protruded vowel[edit]

Close-mid 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 languages, such as Scandinavian ones, have protruded front vowels. One of these, Swedish, even contrasts the two types of rounding in front vowels (see near-close near-front rounded vowel, with Swedish examples of both types of rounding).

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



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Swedish Central Standard[30] öl About this sound [ø̫ːl̪]  'beer' May be diphthongized to [øə̯]. See Swedish phonology

See also[edit]



  • Allan, Robin; Holmes, Philip; Lundskær-Nielsen, Tom (2000), Danish: An Essential Grammar, London: Routledge, ISBN 0-19-824268-9 
  • Altendorf, Ulrike; Watt, Dominik (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, ISBN 3-11-017532-0 
  • Engstrand, Olle (1999), "Swedish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the usage of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 140, ISBN 0-521-63751-1 
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L. (1993), "French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (2): 73–76, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004874 
  • Gilles, Peter; Trouvain, Jürgen (2013), "Luxembourgish" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 43 (1): 67–74, doi:10.1017/S0025100312000278 
  • Grønnum, Nina (1998), "Illustrations of the IPA: Danish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 28 (1 & 2): 99–105, doi:10.1017/s0025100300006290 
  • Grønnum, Nina (2003), Why are the Danes so hard to understand? 
  • Grønnum, Nina (2005), Fonetik og fonologi, Almen og Dansk (3rd ed.), Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, ISBN 87-500-3865-6 
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos; Aarts, Flor (1999), "The dialect of Maastricht" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association (University of Nijmegen, Centre for Language Studies) 29: 155–166, doi:10.1017/S0025100300006526 
  • Heijmans, Linda; Gussenhoven, Carlos (1998), "The Dutch dialect of Weert" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 28: 107–112, doi:10.1017/S0025100300006307 
  • Iivonen, Antti; Harnud, Huhe (2005), "Acoustical comparison of the monophthong systems in Finnish, Mongolian and Udmurt", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35 (1): 59–71, doi:10.1017/S002510030500191X 
  • Kohler, Klaus J. (1990), "German", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 86–89, ISBN 0-521-65236-7 
  • Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8. 
  • Ladefoged, Peter; Johnson, Keith (2010), A Course in Phonetics (6th ed.), Boston, Massachusetts: Wadsworth Publishing, ISBN 978-1-4282-3126-9 
  • 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, ISBN 978-0-8264-8873-2 
  • Mangold, Max (2005), Das Aussprachewörterbuch, Duden, p. 37, ISBN 9783411040667 
  • Peters, Jörg (2006), "The dialect of Hasselt", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36 (1): 117–124, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002428 
  • Szende, Tamás (1994), "Hungarian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 24 (2): 91–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005090 
  • Tiersma, Peter Meijes (1999) [First published 1985 in Dordrecht by Foris Publications], Frisian Reference Grammar (2nd ed.), Ljouwert: Fryske Akademy, ISBN 90-6171-886-4 
  • Traunmüller, Hartmut (1982), "Vokalismus in der westniederösterreichischen Mundart.", Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik 2: 289–333, doi:10.1017/S0025100300006290 
  • Trouvain, Jürgen; Gilles, Peter (2009), PhonLaf - Phonetic Online Material for Luxembourgish as a Foreign Language 1 (PDF), pp. 74–77 
  • van der Veen, Klaas F. (2001), "13. West Frisian Dialectology and Dialects", in Munske, Horst Haider; Århammar, Hans, Handbook of Frisian studies, Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag GmbH, pp. 98–116, ISBN 3-484-73048-X 
  • Vanvik, Arne (1979), Norsk fonetik, Oslo: Universitetet i Oslo, ISBN 82-990584-0-6 
  • Verhoeven, Jo (2005), "Belgian Standard Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35 (2): 243–247, doi:10.1017/S0025100305002173 
  • Verhoeven, Jo (2007), "The Belgian Limburg dialect of Hamont", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 37 (2): 219–225, doi:10.1017/S0025100307002940 
  • Watt, Dominic; Allen, William (2003), "Tyneside English", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 267–271, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001397