Mid back unrounded vowel

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Mid back unrounded vowel
IPA number 315 430
Entity (decimal) ɤ​̞
Unicode (hex) U+0264 U+031E

The mid back unrounded vowel is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. Acoustically it is a mid back-central unrounded vowel.[1] Although there is no dedicated symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the exact mid back unrounded vowel between close-mid [ɤ] and open-mid [ʌ] because no language is known to distinguish all three, ⟨ɤ⟩ is normally used. If more precision is desired, diacritics can be used, such as ⟨ɤ̞⟩ or ⟨ʌ̝⟩.


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
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Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Bulgarian[2] път [pɤ̞̈t̪] 'path' Near-back.[2] See Bulgarian phonology
Chinese Shanghainese[3] [kɤ̞̈¹] 'ditch' Near-back; tends to be diphthongized to [ɤ̞̈ɯ̞̈] by younger speakers.[3]
Danish Standard[4] læger [ˈleːɤ̞̈] 'doctors' Near-back; one of possible realizations of the sequences /ər, rə, rər/.[4] See Danish phonology
English Cardiff[5] plus [pl̥ʌ̝̈s] 'plus' Near-back, may be [ə], [ɜ], [ɜ̟] or [ë̞] instead.[5] It corresponds to [ʌ] in other dialects.
Norfolk[6] Near-back;[6] corresponds to [ʌ] in other dialects. See English phonology
Philadelphia[7] [pɫ̥ʌ̝s] May be either open-mid [ʌ] or a lowered and unrounded /uː/ ([ɯ̽]) instead.[7] It corresponds to [ʌ] in other dialects. See English phonology
Gayo[8] kule [kuˈlɤ̞ː] 'tiger' One of the possible allophones of /ə/.[8]
German Chemnitz dialect[9] Schirm [ʃʌ̝̈ˤːm] 'umbrella' Pharyngealized near-back; may be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʌˤː⟩. It may be realized as [ɪːɒ̯] instead.[9] See Chemnitz dialect phonology
Ibibio[10] [dʌ̝̈k˦] 'enter' Near-back; typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʌ⟩.[10]
Vietnamese Hanoi[11] t [t̻ɤ̞̈˧˨] 'sheet' Near-back.[11] Realization of /ɤ/ (also transcribed in IPA with ⟨ə⟩) according to Kirby (2011). See Vietnamese phonology

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Geoff Lindsey (2013) The vowel space, Speech Talk
  2. ^ a b Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999), p. 56.
  3. ^ a b Chen & Gussenhoven (2015), p. 328.
  4. ^ a b Basbøll (2005), p. 58.
  5. ^ a b Collins & Mees (1990), p. 93.
  6. ^ a b Lodge (2009), p. 168.
  7. ^ a b Gordon (2004), p. 290.
  8. ^ a b Eades & Hajek (2006), p. 111.
  9. ^ a b Khan & Weise (2013), p. 236.
  10. ^ a b Urua (2004), p. 106.
  11. ^ a b Kirby (2011), p. 384.