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The International Phonetic Alphabet uses a breve, [ ̆ ], to indicate a speech sound (usually a vowel) with less than normal or extra short duration. That is, [ă] is a very short vowel with the quality of [a].
For typographic convenience, the breve is sometimes used for a non-syllabic vowel (that is, part of a diphthong), which is officially indicated by a similar diacritic placed under the vowel letter, as in eye [aɪ̯]. It is also sometimes used for flap consonants which do not have dedicated symbols in the IPA, since a flap is in effect a very brief stop. However, the diacritic may be found either on the symbols for stops, or on approximants or fricatives such as ⟨w̆⟩, ⟨v̆⟩, or ⟨ʟ̆⟩.
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