Near-close near-front rounded vowel

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Near-close near-front rounded vowel
IPA number 320
Entity (decimal) ʏ
Unicode (hex) U+028F
Kirshenbaum I.
Braille ⠔ (braille pattern dots-35) ⠽ (braille pattern dots-13456)

The near-close near-front rounded vowel, or near-high near-front rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʏ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is Y.

The Handbook of the International Phonetic Association defines [ʏ] as a mid-centralized (lowered and centralized) close front rounded vowel,[1] therefore, an alternative transcription of this vowel is ⟨⟩ (a symbol equivalent to a more complex ⟨ÿ˕⟩).

The very rare near-close front rounded vowel, which differs from its near-front counterpart in that it is a lowered, but not centralized close front rounded vowel has been reported by one source[2] as a phonetic realization of Standard Eastern Norwegian /ʏ/. It is transcribed in IPA as ⟨ʏ̟⟩, ⟨⟩ or ⟨ø̝⟩ (this article uses ⟨ʏ̟⟩).

The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, though many linguists prefer the terms "high" and "low".

In most languages this rounded vowel is pronounced with compressed lips (in an exolabial manner). However, in a few cases the lips are protruded (in an endolabial manner). This is the case with Swedish, which contrasts the two types of rounding.

Near-close near-front compressed vowel[edit]

The near-close near-front compressed vowel is typically transcribed in IPA simply as ⟨ʏ⟩, and that is the convention used in this article. There is no dedicated diacritic for compression in the IPA. However, the compression of the lips can be shown with the letter ⟨β̞⟩ as ⟨ɪ͡β̞⟩ (simultaneous [ɪ] and labial compression) or ⟨ɪᵝ⟩ ([ɪ] modified with labial compression). The spread-lip diacritic ⟨  ͍ ⟩ may also be used with a rounded vowel letter ⟨ʏ͍⟩ as an ad hoc symbol, though technically 'spread' means unrounded.


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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IPA help • IPA key • chart • Loudspeaker.svg chart with audio • view


Since front rounded vowels are assumed to have compression, and few descriptions cover the distinction, some of the following may actually have protrusion.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Armenian Western գիւղ [kʰʏʁ] 'village'
Dutch Standard[3] fuut [fʏt] 'grebe' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨y⟩. The quality of this vowel has also described as [ʉ̞][4] and [].[5] See Dutch phonology
Some dialects[6][7] rug [rʏx] 'back' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʏ⟩ or, more rarely, with ⟨ʉ⟩, ⟨ɵ⟩ or ⟨œ⟩. It corresponds to [ø̠][4][8] (also described as [ɵ][9] and [ʊ̈])[5] in Standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology
English Estuary[10][11] foot [fʏʔt] 'foot' Possible realization of /ʊ/ and, in Estuary and West County English, also /uː/.[10][12][13] See English phonology
Multicultural London[12]
West Country[14] [fʏt]
New Zealand[15][16] nurse [nʏːs] 'nurse' Possible realization of /ɵː/ (and also /ʉː/).[15][16][17] See New Zealand English phonology
Ulster[18] mule [mjʏl] 'mule' Short allophone of /u/; occurs only after /j/.[18] See English phonology
Faroese[19] krúss [kɹʏsː] 'mug' See Faroese phonology
French Quebec lune [lʏn] 'moon' Allophone of /y/ in closed syllables. See Quebec French phonology
German Standard[20][21] schützen [ˈʃʏt͡sn̩] 'protect' See German phonology
Southern Bernese [example needed] Corresponds to [œi̯] in the city of Bern. See Bernese German phonology
Hungarian[22] üt About this sound [ʏt̪] 'to hit' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨y⟩. See Hungarian phonology
Limburgish Hamont dialect[23] bul [bʏl¹] 'a paper bag' May be transcribed in IPA with ⟨y⟩.[23] See Hamont dialect phonology
Weert dialect[24] [example needed] Allophone of /øə/ before nasals.[24]
Ripuarian Colognian[citation needed] üch [ʏɧ] [translation needed] See Colognian phonology
Kerkrade dialect[25] kümme [ˈkʏmə] [translation needed] Realized as fully close [y] in the word-final position.[25]
Swedish Central Standard[26] ut About this sound [ʏβ̞t̪] 'out' May be central [ʉː] in other dialects. See Swedish phonology
Turkish[27] atasözü [ät̪äˈs̪ø̞̈z̪ʏ] 'proverb' Allophone of /y/ described variously as "word-final"[27] and "occurring in final open syllable of a phrase".[28] See Turkish phonology
Wymysorys[29] büwa [ˈbʏvä] 'boys'

Icelandic ⟨u⟩ is often transcribed with ⟨ʏ⟩, but it is actually close-mid central [ɵ].[30][31][32]

Near-close near-front protruded vowel[edit]

Near-close near-front protruded vowel

Catford notes that most languages with rounded front and back vowels use distinct types of labialization, protruded back vowels and compressed front vowels. However, a few, such as Scandinavian languages, have protruded front vowels. One of them, Swedish, even contrasts the two types of rounding in front vowels as well as height and duration.[33]

As there are no diacritics in the IPA to distinguish protruded and compressed rounding, old diacritic for labialization, ⟨◌̫⟩, will be used here as an ad hoc symbol for protruded front vowels. Another possible transcription is ⟨ʏʷ⟩ or ⟨ɪʷ⟩ (a near-close near-front vowel modified by endolabialization), but that could be misread as a diphthong.

Acoustically, this sound is "between" the more typical compressed near-close near-front vowel [ʏ] and the unrounded near-close near-front vowel [ɪ].



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Kurdish Jafi xö [xʏ̫ː] 'salt'
Norwegian Standard Eastern[34][35] nytt About this sound [nʏ̫tː] 'new' Described variously as near-front[34] and front.[2] See Norwegian phonology
Swedish Central Standard[26] ylle About this sound [ˈʏ̫̂lːɛ̝̂] 'wool' See Swedish phonology