Near-close near-front unrounded vowel

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Near-close near-front unrounded vowel
IPA Number319
Entity (decimal)ɪ
Unicode (hex)U+026A
Braille⠌ (braille pattern dots-34)
Audio sample

The near-close front unrounded vowel, or near-high front unrounded vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɪ⟩, i.e. a small capital letter i. The International Phonetic Association advises serifs on the symbol's ends.[2] Some sans-serif fonts do meet this typographic specification.[3] Prior to 1989, there was an alternate symbol for this sound: ⟨ɩ⟩, the use of which is no longer sanctioned by the IPA.[4] Despite that, some modern writings[5] still use it.

Handbook of the International Phonetic Association defines [ɪ] as a mid-centralized (lowered and centralized) close front unrounded vowel (transcribed [i̽] or [ï̞]), and the current official IPA name of the vowel transcribed with the symbol ⟨ɪ⟩ is near-close near-front unrounded vowel.[6] However, some languages have the close-mid near-front unrounded vowel, a vowel that is somewhat lower than the canonical value of [ɪ], though it still fits the definition of a mid-centralized [i]. It occurs in some dialects of English (such as Californian, General American and modern Received Pronunciation)[7][8][9] as well as some other languages (such as Icelandic),[10][11] and it can be transcribed with the symbol ⟨ɪ̞⟩ (a lowered ⟨ɪ⟩) in narrow transcription. Certain sources[12] may even use ⟨ɪ⟩ for the close-mid front unrounded vowel, but that is rare. For the close-mid (near-)front unrounded vowel that is not usually transcribed with the symbol ⟨ɪ⟩ (or ⟨i⟩), see close-mid front unrounded vowel.

In some other languages (such as Danish, Luxembourgish and Sotho)[13][14][15][16] there is a fully front near-close unrounded vowel (a sound between cardinal [i] and [e]), which can be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɪ̟⟩, ⟨⟩ or ⟨⟩.

Sometimes, especially in broad transcription, this vowel is transcribed with a simpler symbol ⟨i⟩, which technically represents the close front unrounded vowel.



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Standard[17] meter [ˈmɪ̞ˑtɐr] 'meter' Close-mid. Allophone of /ɪə/ in less stressed words and in stressed syllables of polysyllabic words. In the latter case, it is in free variation with the diphthongal realization [ɪə̯ ~ ɪ̯ə ~ ɪə].[17] See Afrikaans phonology
Arabic Kuwaiti[18] بِنْت‎/bint [bɪnt] 'girl' Corresponds to /i/ in Classical Arabic. Contrasts with /i/ or [i꞉][18][19] See Arabic phonology
Lebanese[19] لبنان‎/libneen [lɪbneːn] 'Lebanon'
Burmese[20] မျီ/myi [mjɪʔ] 'root' Allophone of /i/ in syllables closed by a glottal stop and when nasalized.[20]
Chinese Shanghainese[21] / ih [ɪ̞ʔ˥] 'one' Close-mid; appears only in closed syllables. Phonetically, it is nearly identical to /ɛ/ ([]), which appears only in open syllables.[21]
Czech Bohemian[22] byli [ˈbɪlɪ] 'they were' The quality has been variously described as near-close near-front [ɪ][22] and close-mid front [ɪ̟˕].[23] It corresponds to close front [i] in Moravian Czech.[23] See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[13][15] hel [ˈhe̝ːˀl] 'whole' Fully front; contrasts close, near-close and close-mid front unrounded vowels.[13][15] It is typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩ - the way it is pronounced in the conservative variety.[24] The Danish vowel transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɪ⟩ is pronounced similarly to the short /e/.[25] See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard[26][27][28] blik About this sound[blɪk] 'glance' The Standard Northern realization is near-close [ɪ],[26][27] but the Standard Belgian realization has also been described as close-mid [ɪ̞].[28] Some regional dialects have a vowel that is slightly closer to the cardinal [i].[29] See Dutch phonology
English Californian[7] bit About this sound[bɪ̞t] 'bit' Close-mid.[7][8] See English phonology
General American[8]
Estuary[30] [bɪʔt] Can be fully front [ɪ̟], near-front [ɪ] or close-mid [ɪ̞], with other realizations also being possible.[30]
Received Pronunciation[9][31] Close-mid [ɪ̞] for younger speakers, near-close [ɪ] for older speakers.[9][31]
General Australian[32] [bɪ̟t] Fully front;[32] also described as close [i].[33] See Australian English phonology
Inland Northern American[34] [bɪt] The quality varies between near-close near-front [ɪ], near-close central [ɪ̈], close-mid near-front [ɪ̞] and close-mid central [ɘ].[34]
Philadelphian[35] The height varies between near-close [ɪ] and close-mid [ɪ̞].[35]
Welsh[36][37][38] Near-close [ɪ] in Abercrave and Port Talbot, close-mid [ɪ̞] in Cardiff.[36][37][38]
New Zealand[39][40] bed [be̝d] 'bed' The quality varies between near-close front [e̝], near-close near-front [ɪ], close-mid front [e] and close-mid near-front [].[39] It is typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨e⟩. In the cultivated variety, it is mid [].[40] See New Zealand English phonology
Some Australian speakers[41] Close-mid [e] in General Australian, may be even lower for some other speakers.[41] See Australian English phonology
Some South African speakers[42] Used by some General and Broad speakers. In the Broad variety, it is usually lower [ɛ], whereas in the General variety, it can be close-mid [e] instead.[42] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨e⟩. See South African English phonology
French Quebec[43] petite [pət͡sɪt] 'small' Allophone of /i/ in closed syllables.[43] See Quebec French phonology
German Standard[44] bitte About this sound[ˈb̥ɪ̞tə] 'please' Close-mid; for some speakers, it may be as high as [i].[44] See Standard German phonology
Hindustani[45] इरादा/ارادہ‎/iraadaa [ɪˈɾäːd̪ä] 'intention' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian[46] visz [vɪs] 'to carry' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨i⟩. See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic[10][11] vinur [ˈʋɪ̞ːnʏ̞ɾ] 'friend' Close-mid.[10][11] See Icelandic phonology
Kurdish[47][48][47][48] Kurmanji (Northern) xulam [xʷɪˈläːm] 'servant' Equal to Palewani (Southern) close central [ɨ]. See Kurdish phonology
Sorani (Central) غولام/xilam
Limburgish[49][50] hin [ɦɪ̞n] 'chicken' Near-close [ɪ][50] or close-mid [ɪ̞],[49] depending on the dialect. The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Luxembourgish[14] Been [be̝ːn] 'leg' Fully front.[14] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩. See Luxembourgish phonology
Norwegian[51] litt [lɪ̟tː] 'a little' The example word is from Urban East Norwegian, in which the vowel has been variously described as near-close front [ɪ̟][51] and close front [i].[52] See Norwegian phonology
Portuguese Brazilian[53] cine [ˈsinɪ] 'cine' Reduction and neutralization of unstressed /e/ (can be epenthetic), /ɛ/ and /i/. Can be voiceless. See Portuguese phonology
Russian[54][55] дерево/derevo About this sound[ˈdʲerʲɪvə] 'tree' Backness varies between fully front and near-front. It occurs only in unstressed syllables.[54][55] See Russian phonology
Saterland Frisian[56] Dee [de̝ː] 'dough' Phonetic realization of /eː/ and /ɪ/. Near-close front [e̝ː] in the former case, close-mid near-front [ɪ̞] in the latter. Phonetically, the latter is nearly identical to /ɛː/ ([e̠ː]).[56]
Sinhala[57] පිරිමි/pirimi [ˈpi̞ɾi̞mi̞] 'male' Fully front;[57] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨i⟩.
Slovak[58][59] rýchly [ˈri̞ːxli̞] 'fast' Typically fully front.[58] See Slovak phonology
Sotho[16] ho leka [hʊ̠lɪ̟kʼɑ̈] 'to attempt' Fully front; contrasts close, near-close and close-mid front unrounded vowels.[16] See Sotho phonology
Spanish Eastern Andalusian[60] mis [mɪ̟ː] 'my' (pl.) Fully front. It corresponds to [i] in other dialects, but in these dialects they're distinct. See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central Standard[61][62] sill About this sound[s̪ɪ̟l̪ː] 'herring' The quality has been variously described as close-mid front [ɪ̟˕],[61] near-close front [ɪ̟][62] and close front [i].[63] See Swedish phonology
Temne[64] pim [pí̞m] 'pick' Fully front;[64] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨i⟩.
Turkish[65] müşteri [my̠ʃt̪e̞ˈɾɪ] 'customer' Allophone of /i/ described variously as "word-final"[65] and "occurring in final open syllable of a phrase".[66] See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian[67][68] ходити/khoidyty [xoˈdɪtɪ] 'to walk' See Ukrainian phonology
Yoruba[69] kini [kĩi] 'what' Fully front; typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ĩ⟩. It is nasalized, and may be close [ĩ] instead.[69]


  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ "IPA Fonts: General Advice". International Phonetic Association. 2015. With any font you consider using, it is worth checking that the symbol for the centralized close front vowel (ɪ, U+026A) appears correctly with serifs top and bottom; that the symbol for the dental click (ǀ, U+01C0) is distinct from the lower-case L (l)
  3. ^ Sans-serif fonts with serifed ɪ (despite having serifless capital I) include Arial, FreeSans and Lucida Sans.
    On the other hand, Segoe and Tahoma place serifs on ɪ as well as capital I.
    Finally, both are serifless in Calibri.
  4. ^ International Phonetic Association (1999), p. 167.
  5. ^ Such as Árnason (2011)
  6. ^ International Phonetic Association (1999), pp. 13, 168, 180.
  7. ^ a b c Ladefoged (1999), p. 42.
  8. ^ a b c Wells (1982), p. 486.
  9. ^ a b c Collins & Mees (2003), p. 90.
  10. ^ a b c Árnason (2011), p. 60.
  11. ^ a b c Einarsson (1945:10), cited in Gussmann (2011:73)
  12. ^ Such as Šimáčková, Podlipský & Chládková (2012).
  13. ^ a b c Grønnum (1998), p. 100.
  14. ^ a b c Gilles & Trouvain (2013), p. 70.
  15. ^ a b c Basbøll (2005), p. 45.
  16. ^ a b c Doke & Mofokeng (1974), p. ?.
  17. ^ a b Lass (1987), p. 119.
  18. ^ a b Ayyad (2011), p. ?.
  19. ^ a b Khattab (2007), p. ?.
  20. ^ a b Watkins (2001), p. 293.
  21. ^ a b Chen & Gussenhoven (2015), p. 328.
  22. ^ a b Dankovičová (1999), p. 72.
  23. ^ a b Šimáčková, Podlipský & Chládková (2012), pp. 228–229.
  24. ^ Ladefoged & Johnson (2010), p. 227.
  25. ^ Basbøll (2005), p. 58.
  26. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003), p. 128.
  27. ^ a b Gussenhoven (1992), p. 47.
  28. ^ a b Verhoeven (2005), p. 245.
  29. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), p. 131.
  30. ^ a b Altendorf & Watt (2004), p. 188.
  31. ^ a b Wells (1982), p. 291.
  32. ^ a b Cox & Fletcher (2017), p. 65.
  33. ^ Cox & Palethorpe (2007), p. 344.
  34. ^ a b Gordon (2004), pp. 294, 296.
  35. ^ a b Gordon (2004), p. 290.
  36. ^ a b Tench (1990), p. 135.
  37. ^ a b Connolly (1990), p. 125.
  38. ^ a b Collins & Mees (1990), p. 93.
  39. ^ a b Bauer et al. (2007), p. 98.
  40. ^ a b Gordon & Maclagan (2004), p. 609.
  41. ^ a b Cox & Fletcher (2017), pp. 65, 67.
  42. ^ a b Bowerman (2004), pp. 936–937.
  43. ^ a b Walker (1984), pp. 51–60.
  44. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), pp. 34, 64.
  45. ^ Ohala (1999), p. 102.
  46. ^ Szende (1994), p. 92.
  47. ^ Khan & Lescot (1970), pp. 8-16.
  48. ^ a b Thackston (2006a), p. 1.
  49. ^ a b Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), pp. 158–159.
  50. ^ a b Peters (2006), p. 119.
  51. ^ a b Vanvik (1979), pp. 13-14.
  52. ^ Kvifte & Gude-Husken (2005), p. 2.
  53. ^ Barbosa & Albano (2004), p. 229.
  54. ^ a b Jones & Ward (1969), p. 37.
  55. ^ a b Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015), p. 225.
  56. ^ a b Peters (2017), p. ?.
  57. ^ a b Perera & Jones (1919), pp. 5, 9.
  58. ^ a b Pavlík (2004), pp. 93, 95.
  59. ^ Hanulíková & Hamann (2010), p. 375.
  60. ^ a b Zamora Vicente (1967), p. ?.
  61. ^ a b Engstrand (1999), p. 140.
  62. ^ a b Rosenqvist (2007), p. 9.
  63. ^ Dahlstedt (1967), p. 16.
  64. ^ a b Kanu & Tucker (2010), p. 249.
  65. ^ a b Göksel & Kerslake (2005), p. 10.
  66. ^ Zimmer & Organ (1999), p. 155.
  67. ^ Сучасна українська мова: Підручник / О.Д. Пономарів, В.В.Різун, Л.Ю.Шевченко та ін.; За ред. О.Д.пономарева. — 2-ге вид., перероб. —К.: Либідь, 2001. — с. 14
  68. ^ Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995), p. 4.
  69. ^ a b Bamgboṣe (1969), p. 166.


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