Close central unrounded vowel

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For the use of /ɨ/ on Wikipedia, see Help:IPA for English.
Close central unrounded vowel
IPA number 317
Entity (decimal) ɨ
Unicode (hex) U+0268
Kirshenbaum i"
Braille ⠴ (braille pattern dots-356) ⠊ (braille pattern dots-24)

The close central unrounded vowel, or high central unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound used in some languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɨ, namely the lower-case letter i with a horizontal bar. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as barred i. In American tradition this symbol (and the name "barred i") denote a slightly different sound, that of the second syllable of roses when distinct from Rosa's;[1] see also near-close central unrounded vowel.


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
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/ɨ/ is uncommon as a phoneme in Indo-European languages, but does occur as an allophone in many Slavic languages. However, it is very common as a separate phoneme in the indigenous languages of the Americas and is often in phonemic contrast with other close vowels such as /i/ and /u/ both in modern living languages as well as reconstructed proto-languages (e.g. proto-Uto-Aztecan). Campbell, Kaufman & Smith-Stark (1986) identify the presence of this vowel phoneme as an areal feature of a Mesoamerican Sprachbund (although this is not a defining feature of the entire area).

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Acehnese tupeue [tupɨə] 'to know' Asyik[2] and Al-Ahmadi Al-Harbi[3] describe this sound as such while Durie[4] describes it as closer to [ɯ]
Angor hüfᵻ [xɨβə] 'hot'
Czech Some dialects był [bɨɫ] 'he was' Found in some eastern Moravian, Lach and Silesian dialects. See Czech phonology
Chinese Mandarin rì About this sound [ɻɨ̹˥˩]  'day' See Mandarin phonology
English Southeastern English[5] rude [ɹɨ̹ːd] 'rude' May be rounded [ʉː], or a diphthong [ʊʉ̯~əʉ̯] instead.
Guaraní yvy [ɨʋɨ] 'earth'
Irish Munster[6] caora [kɨ̟ːɾˠə] 'sheep' Somewhat fronted;[6] allophone of /i/ between broad consonants.[6] See Irish phonology
Kaingang fy [ɸɨ] 'seed'
Mongolian[7] хүчир [xutʃʰɨɾɘ̆] 'difficult'
Muisca Hycha[8] hycha [hɨʂa] 'I'
Romanian înot [ɨˈn̪o̞t̪] 'I swim' See Romanian phonology
Russian[9] ты About this sound [t̪ɨ]  'you' (singular) Occurs only after unpalatalized consonants. See Russian phonology
Sahaptin[10] [kʼsɨt] 'cold' Epenthetic. No lengthened equivalent
Sirionó[11] [eˈsɨ] 'dry wood'
Swedish bi [bɨː] 'bee' Found in dialects in Närke and Bohuslän and in sociolects in Stockholm and Gothenburg. See Swedish phonology
Tera[12] zu [zɨ] 'said'
Udmurt[13] ургетэ, ыргетэ[14] [ɨrgete] 'it growls'
Uzbek qiz [qɨz] 'girl' Allophone of /i/.
Vietnamese trưa [ʈɨə˧] 'noon' See Vietnamese phonology
Võro sysar [sɨsarʲ] 'sister'
Welsh Northern dialects[15] llun [ɬɨːn] 'picture' See Welsh phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[16] nɨ [nɨ] 'be sour'

Polish y is often transcribed as /ɨ/, but actually it is a close-mid advanced central unrounded vowel, more narrowly transcribed [ɘ̟].[17] Similarly, European Portuguese unstressed e, often represented as /ɨ/, is actually a near-close near-back unrounded vowel, more narrowly transcribed using ad hoc symbols such as [ɯ̽] (mid-centralized), [ɯ̟] (fronted) and [ʊ̜] (less rounded i.e. unrounded).[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Flemming, E., Johnson, S. (2007), "Rosa’s roses: reduced vowels in American English", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 37/1, pp. 83–96.
  2. ^ Asyik, Abdul Gani (1982), "The agreement system in Acehnese" (PDF), Mon-Khmer Studies 11: 1–33, retrieved 9 November 2012 
  3. ^ Al-Ahmadi Al-Harbi, Awwad Ahmad (2003), "Acehnese coda condition: An optimality-theoretic account", Umm Al-Qura University Journal of Educational and Social Sciences and Humanities 15: 9–21 
  4. ^ Mid-vowels in Acehnese
  5. ^ Lodge (2009:174)
  6. ^ a b c Ó Sé (2000)
  7. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005:62, 66–67)
  8. ^ González de Perez (2005:50)
  9. ^ Jones & Ward (1969:33)
  10. ^ Hargus & Beavert (2002)
  11. ^ Firestone (1965:?)
  12. ^ Tench (2007:230)
  13. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005:64, 68)
  14. ^ ургетыны [Udmurt-Russian dictionary] (in Russian) 
  15. ^ Ball (1984:?)
  16. ^ Merrill (2008:109)
  17. ^ Jassem (2003:105)
  18. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91)


  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 25 (2): 90–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005223 
  • Ball, Martin J. (1984), "Phonetics for phonology", in Ball, Martin J.; Jones, G.E, Welsh Phonology, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, ISBN 0-7083-0861-9 
  • Campbell, Lyle; Kaufman, Terrence; Smith-Stark, Thomas C (1986), "Meso-America as a linguistic area", Language 62 (3): 530–570, doi:10.2307/415477, JSTOR 415477 
  • Firestone, Homer L. (1965), "Description and classification of Sirionó: A Tupí-Guaraní language.", Janua linguarum, Series Practica (16), London: Mouton & Co 
  • Hargus, Sharon; Beavert, Virginia (2002), "Predictable versus Underlying Vocalism in Yakima Sahaptin", International Journal of American Linguistics 68 (3): 316–340, doi:10.1086/466492 
  • 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 
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (1): 103–107, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001191 
  • Jones, Daniel; Ward, Dennis (1969), The Phonetics of Russian, Cambridge University Press 
  • Lodge, Ken (2009), A Critical Introduction to Phonetics 
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344 
  • Ó Sé, Diarmuid (2000), Gaeilge Chorca Dhuibhne (in Irish), Dublin: Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann, ISBN 0-946452-97-0 
  • Tench, Paul (2007), "Tera", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 37 (1): 228–234, doi:10.1017/s0025100307002952