Near-close central unrounded vowel

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Near-close central unrounded vowel
IPA number 319 415
Entity (decimal) ɪ​̈
Unicode (hex) U+026A U+0308
X-SAMPA I\ or 1_o
Braille ⠌ (braille pattern dots-34) ⠈ (braille pattern dots-4) ⠒ (braille pattern dots-25)

The near-close central unrounded vowel, or near-high central unrounded vowel, is a vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The International Phonetic Alphabet can represent this sound in a number of ways (see the box on the right), but the most common symbols are ⟨ɪ̈⟩ (centralized [ɪ]) and ⟨ɨ̞⟩ (lowered [ɨ]). Other possible transcriptions are ⟨ɪ̠⟩ (retracted [ɪ]) and ⟨ɘ̝⟩ (raised [ɘ]), with the latter symbol being the least common. The X-SAMPA equivalents are, respectively, I\, 1_o, I_- and @\_r.

In many British dictionaries, this vowel has been transcribed ⟨ɪ⟩, which captures its height; in the American tradition it is more often ⟨ɨ⟩, which captures its centrality, or ⟨⟩,[1] which captures both. The third edition of the OED adopted an unofficial extension of the IPA, ⟨⟩, that is a conflation of ⟨ɪ⟩ and ⟨ɨ⟩, and represents either [ɪ̈] or free variation between [ɪ] and [ə]. It is also used in a number of other publications, for example the well-known Accents of English written by John C. Wells.

The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, and the name of the article follows this. However, a large number of linguists, perhaps a majority in the USA, prefer the terms "high" and "low".


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
Afrikaans Standard[2] lig [lɪ̈χ] 'light' Stressed allophone of /ə/. See Afrikaans phonology
Many speakers[3] lug 'air' Many speakers merge /œ/ and /ə/ into [ɪ̈], especially in natural speech.[3] See Afrikaans phonology
Amharic[4] ሥር [sɨ̞r] 'root' Often transcribed in IPA with ⟨ə⟩.
Berber Central Atlas Tamazight[5] [orthographic form?] [χdɪ̈m] 'to work' Epenthetically inserted into consonant clusters before labial and coronal consonants.
Cornish [example needed]
English Inland Southern American[6] good [ɡɪ̈d] 'good' Corresponds to [ʊ] in other dialects. See English phonology
Southeastern English[7] May be rounded [ʊ̈] instead;[7] it corresponds to [ʊ] in other dialects. See English phonology
London[8][9] lip [lɪ̈ʔp] 'lip' Possible realization of /ɪ/.[8][9]
South African[10] [lɪ̈p] For some speakers it can be equal to [ə]. General and Broad varieties of SAE have an allophonic variation, with [ɪ] ([i] in Broad) occurring near velar and palatal consonants, and [ɪ̈~ə] elsewhere. See South African English phonology
Southern American[11] Allophone of /ɪ/ before labial consonants, sometimes also in other environments.[11]
Irish Munster[12] goirt [ɡɨ̞ɾˠtʲ] 'salty' Allophone of /ɪ/ between broad consonants.[12] See Irish phonology
Ulster[13] [example needed] Allophone of /ɪ/.[13]
Mah Meri[14] [d͡ʑäbɨ̞ʔ͡k̚] 'to be drunk'
Mapudungun[15] müṉa [mɘ̝ˈn̪ɐ̝] 'male cousin on father's side' Unstressed allophone of /ɘ/.[15]
Russian[16] кожа About this sound [ˈkʷo̞ʐ̺ɨ̞] 'skin' Occurs only after unpalatalized consonants and in unstressed syllables. See Russian phonology
Sema[17] sü [ʃɨ̞̀] 'to hurt' Also described as close [ɨ].[18]
Tera[19] vur [vɨ̞r] 'to give' Allophone of /ɨ/ in closed syllables.[19]
Vietnamese Hanoi dialect thc [tʰɨ̞k˧˥] 'mood' Allophone of /ɨ/ before /k, ŋ/. See Vietnamese phonology
Southern xin [s̪ɨ̞n˧˥] 'to ask for sth' Allophone of /i/ before /t, n/. See Vietnamese phonology
Welsh Northern dialects[20] pump [pɨ̞mp] 'five' Merges with /ɪ/ in southern dialects. See Welsh phonology