Mid front unrounded vowel

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Mid front unrounded vowel
IPA number 302 430
Entity (decimal) e​̞
Unicode (hex) U+0065 U+031E
Braille ⠑ (braille pattern dots-15) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠣ (braille pattern dots-126)

The mid front unrounded vowel is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. While there is no dedicated symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the exact mid front unrounded vowel between close-mid [e] and open-mid [ɛ], it is normally written e. If precision is required, diacritics may be used, such as or ɛ̝ (the former, indicating lowering, being more common). In Sinology and Koreanology , (small capital E, U+1D07, ᴇ) is used sometimes.

For many languages that have only one phonemic front unrounded vowel in the mid-vowel area (i.e. neither close nor open), this vowel is pronounced as a true mid vowel, phonetically distinct from either a close-mid or open-mid vowel. Examples are Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Greek and Turkish. A number of dialects of English also have such a mid front vowel. However, there is no general predisposition for this. Igbo, for example, has a close-mid [e], whereas Bulgarian has an open-mid [ɛ], even though neither language has another phonemic mid front vowel.

The Kensiu language spoken in Malaysia and Thailand is claimed to be unique in having true-mid vowels that are phonemically distinct from both close-mid and open-mid vowels without differences in other parameters such as backness or roundedness.[1]


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
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Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Arabic Hejazi[2] ليش [le̞ːʃ] 'why' Typically transcribed /eː/.
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic h [he̞ː] 'yes' Usually shifted to [e] and [ɪ] in the Urmia and Jilu dialects.
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[3] [example needed]
Catalan Alguerese sec [se̞k] 'dry' /ɛ/ and /e/ merge into [e̞] in these dialects. See Catalan phonology
Danish[4] Conservative[5] hæl [ˈhe̞ːˀl] 'heel' Described variously as close-mid [e][6][7][8][9][10] and open-mid [ɛ][11] in contemporary Standard Danish. Most often, it is transcribed [ɛ(ː)]. See Danish phonology
English Cardiff[12] square [skwe̞ː] 'square' Corresponds to /ɛə/ in RP.
Received Pronunciation[13] let [le̞t] 'let' Corresponds to [ɛ] in other dialects. See English phonology
Inland Northern American[14] bit [bë̞t̚] 'bit' Near-front,[14][15] may be [ɪ] (also ə in Scotland) instead for other speakers. See Northern Cities vowel shift
Scottish[15] [bë̞ʔ]
Yorkshire[16] play [ple̞ː] 'play'
Finnish[17] menen [ˈme̞ne̞n] 'I go' See Finnish phonology
German Standard[18] Bett About this sound [bɛ̝̈tʰ]  'bed' Near-front;[18] also described as open-mid front [ɛ].[19] See Standard German phonology
Greek φαινόμενο/fainómeno [fe̞ˈno̞me̞no̞] 'phenomenon' See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrew[20] כן [ke̞n] 'yes' Hebrew vowels are not shown in the script, see Niqqud and Modern Hebrew phonology
Hungarian[21] hét [he̞ːt̪] 'seven' See Hungarian phonology
Japanese[22] 笑み About this sound [e̞mʲi]  'smile' See Japanese phonology
Korean[23] 베개 [pe̞ˈɡɛ] 'pillow' See Korean phonology
Norwegian Standard Eastern[24] nett [n̪ɛ̝t̪] 'net' Typically transcribed /ɛ/. See Norwegian phonology
Portuguese Brazilian energia [ẽ̞ne̞ɦˈʑi.ɐ] 'energy' Unstressed vowel.[25] See Portuguese phonology
Romanian fete [ˈfe̞t̪e̞] 'girls' See Romanian phonology
Russian[26] человек [t͡ɕɪlɐˈvʲe̞k] 'human' Occurs only after soft consonants. See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian[27] питање / pitanje About this sound [pǐːt̪äːɲ̟e̞]  'question' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Spanish[28] bebé [be̞ˈβ̞e̞] 'baby' See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central Standard[29] häll [he̞l̪] 'flat rock' Typically transcribed in IPA as ɛ. Many dialects pronounce short /e/ and /ɛ/ the same. See Swedish phonology
Tagalog daliri [dɐˈliɾe̞] 'finger' See Tagalog phonology
Turkish[30] ev [e̞v] 'house' See Turkish phonology
West Frisian[31] ik [e̞k] 'I' Typically transcribed in IPA as ɪ. See West Frisian phonology


  1. ^ Bishop, N. (1996). A preliminary description of Kensiw (Maniq) phonology. Mon–Khmer Studies Journal, 25.
  2. ^ Jarrah, Mohamed Ali Saleh (1993)
  3. ^ Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  4. ^ Uldall (1933), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:289)
  5. ^ Ladefoged & Johnson (2010:227)
  6. ^ Grønnum (1998:100)
  7. ^ Grønnum (2005:268)
  8. ^ Grønnum (2003)
  9. ^ Basbøll (2005:45)
  10. ^ "John Wells's phonetic blog: Danish". 5 November 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  11. ^ Allan, Holmes & Lundskær-Nielsen (2000:17)
  12. ^ Coupland (1990:95)
  13. ^ Roach (2004:242)
  14. ^ a b Labov, William; Ash, Sharon; Boberg, Charles (15 July 1997). "A National Map of the Regional Dialects of American English". Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006:7)
  16. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999:179)
  17. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005:60, 66)
  18. ^ a b Kohler (1999:87)
  19. ^ Mangold (2005:37)
  20. ^ Laufer (1999:98)
  21. ^ Szende (1994:92)
  22. ^ Okada (1991:94)
  23. ^ Lee (1999:121)
  24. ^ Vanvik (1979:13)
  25. ^ Corresponds to /ɛ/, or /ɨ/ and /i/ (where Brazilian dialects have [i ~ ɪ ~ e̞]), in other national variants. May be lowered to [ɛ̝ ~ ɛ] in amazofonia, nordestino, mineiro (MG) and fluminense (RJ) if not nasalized ([ẽ̞] does not corresponds to phoneme //), or be raised and merged to /e/ in sulista, paulistano, caipira and sertanejo.
  26. ^ Jones & Ward (1969:41)
  27. ^ Landau et al. (1999:67)
  28. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:256)
  29. ^ Engstrand (1999:140)
  30. ^ Zimmer & Orgun (1999:155)
  31. ^ Sipma (1913:10)


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