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 a 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 ⟨⟩. There may be phonological reasons not to transcribe the fully front variant with the symbol ⟨ɪ⟩, which may incorrectly imply a relation to the close [i].

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 [iː][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
Hebrew Possible pronunciation מִסְפָּר [mɪsˈpaʀ] 'number' A possible pronunciation of /i/ in closed unstressed syllables. See Hebrew 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 Sorani (Central) غولام/xilam
Limburgish[47][48] hin [ɦɪ̞n] 'chicken' Near-close [ɪ][48] or close-mid [ɪ̞],[47] 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
Malay kecil [kə.t͡ʃɪl] 'small' Allophone of /i/ in closed-final syllables. May be [e] or [] depending on the speaker. See Malay phonology
Norwegian[49] 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][49] and close front [i].[50] See Norwegian phonology
Portuguese Brazilian[51] cine [ˈsinɪ] 'cine' Reduction and neutralization of unstressed /e/ (can be epenthetic), /ɛ/ and /i/. Can be voiceless. See Portuguese phonology
Russian[52][53] дерево/derevo About this sound[ˈdʲerʲɪvə] 'tree' Backness varies between fully front and near-front. It occurs only in unstressed syllables.[52][53] See Russian phonology
Saterland Frisian[54] 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]).[54]
Sinhala[55] පිරිමි/pirimi [ˈpi̞ɾi̞mi̞] 'male' Fully front;[55] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨i⟩.
Slovak[56][57] rýchly [ˈri̞ːxli̞] 'fast' Typically fully front.[56] 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[58] 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[59][60] sill About this sound[s̪ɪ̟l̪ː] 'herring' The quality has been variously described as close-mid front [ɪ̟˕],[59] near-close front [ɪ̟][60] and close front [i].[61] See Swedish phonology
Temne[62] pim [pí̞m] 'pick' Fully front;[62] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨i⟩.
Turkish[63] müşteri [my̠ʃt̪e̞ˈɾɪ] 'customer' Allophone of /i/ described variously as "word-final"[63] and "occurring in final open syllable of a phrase".[64] See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian[65][66] ходити/khodyty [xoˈdɪtɪ] 'to walk' See Ukrainian phonology
Welsh mynydd [mənɪð] 'mountain' See Welsh phonology
Yoruba[67] kini [kĩi] 'what' Fully front; typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ĩ⟩. It is nasalized, and may be close [ĩ] instead.[67]


  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. ^ a b Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), pp. 158–159.
  48. ^ a b Peters (2006), p. 119.
  49. ^ a b Vanvik (1979), pp. 13–14.
  50. ^ Kvifte & Gude-Husken (2005), p. 2.
  51. ^ Barbosa & Albano (2004), p. 229.
  52. ^ a b Jones & Ward (1969), p. 37.
  53. ^ a b Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015), p. 225.
  54. ^ a b Peters (2017), p. ?.
  55. ^ a b Perera & Jones (1919), pp. 5, 9.
  56. ^ a b Pavlík (2004), pp. 93, 95.
  57. ^ Hanulíková & Hamann (2010), p. 375.
  58. ^ a b Zamora Vicente (1967), p. ?.
  59. ^ a b Engstrand (1999), p. 140.
  60. ^ a b Rosenqvist (2007), p. 9.
  61. ^ Dahlstedt (1967), p. 16.
  62. ^ a b Kanu & Tucker (2010), p. 249.
  63. ^ a b Göksel & Kerslake (2005), p. 10.
  64. ^ Zimmer & Organ (1999), p. 155.
  65. ^ 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
  66. ^ Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995), p. 4.
  67. ^ a b Bamgboṣe (1969), p. 166.


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