Near-close front unrounded vowel

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Near-close front unrounded vowel
IPA number 319
Entity (decimal) ɪ
Unicode (hex) U+026A
Kirshenbaum I
Braille ⠌ (braille pattern dots-34)

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.


IPA: Vowels
Front Central Back

Paired vowels are: unrounded  rounded


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 [bɪnt] 'girl' Corresponds to /i/ in Classical Arabic.[18][19] See Arabic phonology
Lebanese[19] لبنان [lɪbnɛːn] 'Lebanon'
Burmese[20] မျီ [mjɪʔ] 'root' Allophone of /i/ in syllables closed by a glottal stop and when nasalized.[20]
Chickasaw[21] [pi̞sɜ] 'she looks
at him'
Fully front;[21] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨i⟩.
Chinese Shanghainese[22] / ih [ɪ̞ʔ˥] 'one' Close-mid; appears only in closed syllables. Phonetically, it is nearly identical to /ɛ/ ([]), which appears only in open syllables.[22]
Cipu Tirisino dialect[23] n-upití [n ù pì̞tí̞] 'while he stepped' Fully front;[23] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨i⟩.
Czech Bohemian[24] byli [ˈbɪlɪ] 'they were' The quality has been variously described as near-close near-front [ɪ][24] and close-mid front [ɪ̟˕].[25] It corresponds to close front [i] in Moravian Czech.[25] 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.[26] The Danish vowel transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɪ⟩ is pronounced similarly to the short /e/.[27] See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard[28][29][30] blik About this sound [blɪk] 'glance' The Standard Northern realization is near-close [ɪ],[28][29] but the Standard Belgian realization has also been described as close-mid [ɪ̞].[30] Some regional dialects have a vowel that is slightly closer to the cardinal [i].[31] See Dutch phonology
English Californian[7] bit About this sound [bɪ̞t] 'bit' Close-mid.[7][8] See English phonology
General American[8]
Estuary[32] [bɪʔt] Can be fully front [ɪ̟], near-front [ɪ] or close-mid [ɪ̞], with other realizations also being possible.[32]
Received Pronunciation[9][34] Close-mid [ɪ̞] for younger speakers, near-close [ɪ] for older speakers.[9][34]
Some speakers of West Midlands English[35] The height varies between near-close [ɪ] and close-mid [ɪ̞]; can be close [i] instead.[35]
General Australian[36] [bɪ̟t] Fully front;[36] also described as close [i].[37] See Australian English phonology
Inland Northern American[38] [bɪt] The quality varies between near-close near-front [ɪ], near-close central [ɪ̈], close-mid near-front [ɪ̞] and close-mid central [ɘ].[38]
Philadelphian[39] The height varies between near-close [ɪ] and close-mid [ɪ̞].[39]
Northern England[40]
Welsh[41][42][43] Near-close [ɪ] in Abercrave and Port Talbot, close-mid [ɪ̞] in Cardiff.[41][42][43]
Irish[44] [bɪθ̠] Near-front [ɪ]; can be fully front [ɪ̟] in some Dublin accents.[45]
New Zealand[46][47] 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 [].[46] It is typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨e⟩. In the cultivated variety, it is mid [].[47] See New Zealand English phonology
Some Australian speakers[48] Close-mid [e] in General Australian, may be even lower for some other speakers.[48] See Australian English phonology
Some South African speakers[49] 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.[49] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨e⟩. See South African English phonology
Faroese[50] lint [lɪn̥t] 'soft' See Faroese phonology
French Quebec[51] petite [pət͡sɪt] 'small' Allophone of /i/ in closed syllables.[51] See Quebec French phonology
Galician[52][53] onte [ˈɔn̪t̪ɪ] 'yesterday' Unstressed allophone of /i/ and /e/.[52][53] See Galician phonology
Gayo[54] tingkep [tɪŋˈkəp] 'window' Possible allophone of /i/ and /e/; in both cases the backness varies between fully front and near-front.[54]
German Standard[55][56][57] bitte About this sound [ˈbɪtə] 'please' Described variously as fully front [ɪ̟],[55] near-front [ɪ][56] and close-mid [ɪ̞].[57] For some speakers, it may be as high as [i].[58] See Standard German phonology
Chemnitz dialect[59] Wind [ʋɪ̞n̪t̪] 'wind' Close-mid.[59]
Some Swiss dialects[60][61] Chìng [ɣ̊ɪŋː] 'child' The example word is from the Bernese dialect.
Hindustani[62] इरादा/ارادہ [ɪˈɾäːd̪ä] 'intention' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian[63] 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
Kaingang[64] firi [ɸɪˈɾi] 'rattlesnake' Atonic allophone of /i/ and /e/.[65]
Latin Classical [66] nix [nɪks] 'snow'
Limburgish Most dialects[67][68] hin [ɦɪ̞n] 'chicken' Near-close [ɪ][68] or close-mid [ɪ̞],[67] depending on the dialect. The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Weert dialect[69] zeen [zɪːn] 'to be' Allophone of /eə/ before nasals.[69]
Low German[70] licht [lɪçt] '(he) lies'
Luxembourgish[14] Been [be̝ːn] 'leg' Fully front, may be as high as [] for some speakers.[14] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩. See Luxembourgish phonology
Maltese[71] Ikel [ɪkɛl] 'food'
Mongolian[72] хир [xɪɾɘ̆] 'hillside'
Northern Paiute Mono Lake dialect[73] üdütü [ɪdɪtɪ] 'hot' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɨ⟩.
Norwegian Urban East[74][75] litt [li̞tː] 'a little' Fully front;[74][75] also described as close [i].[76] See Norwegian phonology
Portuguese Brazilian[77] cine [ˈsinɪ] 'cine' Reduction and neutralization of unstressed /e/ (can be epenthetic), /ɛ/ and /i/. Can be voiceless. See Portuguese phonology
Ripuarian[78] rikke [ˈʀɪ̞kə] 'to reach' The example word is from the Kerkrade dialect, in which the vowel is close-mid.[78]
Romanian Banat dialect[79] râu [rɪw] 'river' Corresponds to [ɨ] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Russian[80][81] дерево About this sound [ˈdʲerʲɪvə] 'tree' Backness varies between fully front and near-front. It occurs only in unstressed syllables.[80][81] See Russian phonology
Sandawe[82] dtine [tì̞né] 'trap' Fully front;[82] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨i⟩.
Saterland Frisian[83] 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]).[83]
Scots Glenoe dialect[84] spuin [spɪn] 'spoon' May be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɪ̈⟩.
Sema[85] pi [pì̞] 'to say' Fully front;[85] also described as close [i].[86]
Shiwiar[87] [example needed] Allophone of /i/.[87]
Sinhalese[88] [example needed] [ˈpi̞ɾi̞mi̞] 'male' Fully front;[88] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨i⟩.
Slovak[89][90] rýchly [ˈri̞ːxli̞] 'fast' Typically fully front.[89] See Slovak phonology
Slovene Standard[91] mira [ˈmɪ̀ːɾä] 'myrrh' Allophone of /i/ before /r/.[91] See Slovene 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[92] 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[93][94] sill About this sound [s̪ɪ̟l̪ː] 'herring' The quality has been variously described as close-mid front [ɪ̟˕],[93] near-close front [ɪ̟][94] and close front [i].[95] See Swedish phonology
Tamambo[96] cili [xi̞li̞] 'to tickle' Fully front;[96] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨i⟩.
Temne[97] pim [pí̞m] 'pick' Fully front;[97] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨i⟩.
Tera[98] pili [pí̞lí̞] 'table mat' Fully front;[98] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨i⟩.
Turkish[99] müşteri [my̠ʃt̪e̞ˈɾɪ] 'customer' Allophone of /i/ described variously as "word-final"[99] and "occurring in final open syllable of a phrase".[100] See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian[101][102] ходити [xoˈdɪtɪ] 'to walk' See Ukrainian phonology
Upper Sorbian[103] być [bɪt͡ʃ] 'to be' Allophone of /i/ after hard consonants.[103] See Upper Sorbian phonology
West Frisian Standard[104][105] ik [ɪk] 'I' See West Frisian phonology
Hindeloopers[106] beast [bɪːst] 'beast' Corresponds to /ɪə/ in Standard West Frisian.
Yoruba[107] [example needed] Fully front; typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ĩ⟩. It is nasalized, and may be close [ĩ] instead.[107]


  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 Gordon, Munro & Ladefoged (2001), p. 288.
  22. ^ a b Chen & Gussenhoven (2015), p. 328.
  23. ^ a b McGill (2014), pp. 308–309.
  24. ^ a b Dankovičová (1999), p. 72.
  25. ^ a b Šimáčková, Podlipský & Chládková (2012), pp. 228–229.
  26. ^ Ladefoged & Johnson (2010), p. 227.
  27. ^ Basbøll (2005), p. 58.
  28. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003), p. 128.
  29. ^ a b Gussenhoven (1992), p. 47.
  30. ^ a b Verhoeven (2005), p. 245.
  31. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), p. 131.
  32. ^ a b Altendorf & Watt (2004), p. 188.
  33. ^ Lodge (2009), p. 168.
  34. ^ a b Wells (1982), p. 291.
  35. ^ a b Clark (2004), p. 137.
  36. ^ a b Cox & Fletcher (2017), p. 65.
  37. ^ Cox & Palethorpe (2007), p. 344.
  38. ^ a b Gordon (2004), pp. 294, 296.
  39. ^ a b Gordon (2004), p. 290.
  40. ^ Lodge (2009), p. 163.
  41. ^ a b Tench (1990), p. 135.
  42. ^ a b Connolly (1990), p. 125.
  43. ^ a b Collins & Mees (1990), p. 93.
  44. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 421–422.
  45. ^ Wells (1982), p. 422.
  46. ^ a b Bauer et al. (2007), p. 98.
  47. ^ a b Gordon & Maclagan (2004), p. 609.
  48. ^ a b Cox & Fletcher (2017), pp. 65, 67.
  49. ^ a b Bowerman (2004), pp. 936–937.
  50. ^ Árnason (2011), pp. 68, 75.
  51. ^ a b Walker (1984), pp. 51–60.
  52. ^ a b Regueira (2010), pp. 13–14.
  53. ^ a b Freixeiro Mato (2006), p. 112.
  54. ^ a b Eades & Hajek (2006), p. 111.
  55. ^ a b Lodge (2009), p. 87.
  56. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2013), p. 234.
  57. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 34.
  58. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 64.
  59. ^ a b Khan & Weise (2013), p. 236.
  60. ^ Marti (1985), p. ?.
  61. ^ Fleischer & Schmid (2006), p. 247.
  62. ^ Ohala (1999), p. 102.
  63. ^ Szende (1994), p. 92.
  64. ^ Jolkesky (2009), pp. 676–677, 682.
  65. ^ Jolkesky (2009), pp. 676, 682.
  66. ^ Wheelock's Latin (1956).
  67. ^ a b Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), pp. 158–159.
  68. ^ a b Peters (2006), p. 119.
  69. ^ a b Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998), p. ?.
  70. ^ Prehn (2012), p. 157.
  71. ^ Borg (1997), p. ?.
  72. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005), pp. 62, 66–67.
  73. ^ Babel, Houser & Toosarvandani (2012), p. 240.
  74. ^ a b Vanvik (1979), p. 13.
  75. ^ a b Popperwell (2010), pp. 16, 18.
  76. ^ Strandskogen (1979), pp. 15–16.
  77. ^ Barbosa & Albano (2004), p. 229.
  78. ^ a b Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 16.
  79. ^ Pop (1938), p. 30.
  80. ^ a b Jones & Ward (1969), p. 37.
  81. ^ a b Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015), p. 225.
  82. ^ a b Eaton (2006), p. 237.
  83. ^ a b Peters (2017), p. ?.
  84. ^ Gregg (1953).
  85. ^ a b Teo (2012), p. 368.
  86. ^ Teo (2014), p. 27.
  87. ^ a b Fast Mowitz (1975), p. 2.
  88. ^ a b Perera & Jones (1919), pp. 5, 9.
  89. ^ a b Pavlík (2004), pp. 93, 95.
  90. ^ Hanulíková & Hamann (2010), p. 375.
  91. ^ a b Jurgec (2007), p. 3.
  92. ^ a b Zamora Vicente (1967), p. ?.
  93. ^ a b Engstrand (1999), p. 140.
  94. ^ a b Rosenqvist (2007), p. 9.
  95. ^ Dahlstedt (1967), p. 16.
  96. ^ a b Riehl & Jauncey (2005), p. 257.
  97. ^ a b Kanu & Tucker (2010), p. 249.
  98. ^ a b Tench (2007), p. 230.
  99. ^ a b Göksel & Kerslake (2005), p. 10.
  100. ^ Zimmer & Organ (1999), p. 155.
  101. ^ 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
  102. ^ Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995), p. 4.
  103. ^ a b Šewc-Schuster (1984), p. 34.
  104. ^ Tiersma (1999), p. 10.
  105. ^ de Haan (2010), pp. 332–333.
  106. ^ van der Veen (2001), p. 102.
  107. ^ a b Bamgboṣe (1969), p. 166.