Open-mid back rounded vowel

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Open-mid back rounded vowel
IPA number 306
Entity (decimal) ɔ
Unicode (hex) U+0254
Kirshenbaum O
Braille ⠣ (braille pattern dots-126)

The open-mid back rounded vowel, or low-mid back 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 ⟨ɔ⟩. The IPA symbol is a turned letter c and both the symbol and the sound are commonly called "open-o". The name open-o represents the sound, in that it is like the sound represented by ⟨o⟩, the close-mid back rounded vowel, except it is more open. It also represents the symbol, which can be remembered as an o which has been "opened" by removing part of the closed circular shape.

The IPA prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowels, and the name of the article follows this. However, a large number of linguists, perhaps a majority, 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
This table contains phonetic symbols, which may not display correctly in some browsers. [Help]

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


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Armenian Eastern[1] հողմ [hɔʁm] 'storm'
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[2] [example needed] May be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɒ⟩.[2]
Bengali[3] অর্থ [ɔrt̪ʰo] 'meaning' See Bengali phonology
Bulgarian[4] род [rɔt̪] 'kin' See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan[5] soc [ˈsɔk] 'clog' See Catalan phonology
Cipu Tirisino dialect[6] kødø [kɔ̟̀ɗɔ̟́] "cut down!" Near-back.[7]
Danish Standard[8] og [ɔʊ̯] 'and' Also described as near-open [ɔ̞].[9] It is most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɒ⟩. See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard Belgian[10] och About this sound [ʔɔˤx]  'alas' 'Very tense, with strong lip-rounding',[11] strongly pharyngealized[12] (although less so in standard Belgian[13]) and somewhat fronted.[10][14] See Dutch phonology
Standard Northern[14]
English Australian[15] not About this sound [nɔt]  'not' See Australian English phonology
New Zealand[17] May be somewhat fronted.[18] Often transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɒ⟩. See New Zealand English phonology
Received Pronunciation[19] /ɒ/ has shifted up in emerging RP.
General American[20] thought [θɔːt] 'thought' Mainly in speakers without the cot–caught merger. It may be from lower [ɒ]. See English phonology
Older Received Pronunciation[22] Higher [ɔ̝ː] for most other speakers.
Scottish[23] Many Scottish dialects exhibit the cot-caught merger, the outcome of which is a vowel of [ɔ] quality.
Sheffield[24] goat [ɡɔːt] 'goat'
Newfoundland[25] but [bɔt] 'but' Less commonly unrounded [ʌ].[25] See English phonology
Faroese[26] toldi [ˈtʰɔltɪ] 'endured' See Faroese phonology
French[27][28] sort [sɔːʁ] 'fate' The Parisian realization has been variously described as back [ɔ][27] and near-back [ɔ̟].[28] See French phonology
Georgian[29] სწრი [st͡sʼɔɾi] 'correct'
German Standard[30][31] voll About this sound [fɔl]  'full' Described variously as open-mid back [ɔ],[30] open-mid near-back [ɔ̟][31] and near-open back [ɔ̞].[32] See Standard German phonology
Some speakers[33] Mutter [ˈmutɔʕ̞] 'mother' Common allophone of /ə/ before the pharyngeal approximant realization of /r/. Occurs in East Central Germany, Southwestern Germany, parts of Switzerland and in Tyrol.[33] See Standard German phonology
Western Swiss accents[34] hoch [hɔːχ] 'high' Close-mid [] in other accents.[35] See Standard German phonology
Icelandic[36][37] loft [ˈlɔft] 'air' Often diphthongized to [oɔ] when long.[38] See Icelandic phonology
Italian[39] parola About this sound [päˈrɔ̟ːlä]  'word' Near-back.[39] See Italian phonology
Kaingang[40] [ˈpɔ] 'stone'
Kera[41] [dɔ̟̀l] 'hard earth' Near-back.[41]
Limburgish[42][43] mòn [mɔːn] 'moon' Lower [ɔ̞ː] in the Maastrichtian dialect.[44] The example word is from the Hasselt dialect.
Lower Sorbian[45] osba [ˈpʂɔz̪bä] 'a request'
Luxembourgish[46] Sonn [zɔn] 'son' Possible realization of /o/.[46] See Luxembourgish phonology
Norwegian Standard Eastern[47][48] topp [tʰɔpː] 'top' Described variously as open-mid back [ɔ],[47] open-mid near-back [ɔ̟][48] and near-open back [ɔ̞].[49] See Norwegian phonology
Some dialects[47] så [sɔː] 'so' Present e.g. in Telemark; realized as mid [ɔ̝ː] in other dialects.[47] See Norwegian phonology
Polish[50] kot About this sound [kɔt̪]  'cat' See Polish phonology
Portuguese Most dialects[51][52] fofoca [fɔˈfɔ̞kə] 'gossip' Stressed vowel might be lower. The presence and use of other unstressed ⟨o⟩ allophones, such as [ o ʊ u], varies according to dialect.
Some speakers[53] bronca [ˈbɾɔ̃kə] 'scolding' Stressed vowel, allophone of nasal vowel /õ̞/. See Portuguese phonology
Russian Some speakers[54] сухой About this sound [s̪ʊˈxɔj]  'dry' More commonly realized as mid [].[54] See Russian phonology
Slovak Standard[55] ohúriť [ˈɔɦʊːrɪc̟] 'to stun' Backness varies between back and near-back; most commonly realized as mid [] instead.[55] See Slovak phonology
Temne[56] pɔn [pɔ̟̀n] 'swamp' Near-back.[56]
Upper Sorbian[45][57] pos [pɔs̪] 'dog' See Upper Sorbian phonology
West Frisian[58] rôt [rɔːt] 'rat' See West Frisian phonology
Yoruba[59] [example needed] Nasalized; may be near-open [ɔ̞̃] instead.[59]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:13)
  2. ^ a b Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  3. ^ Khan (2010:222)
  4. ^ Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999:56)
  5. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992:54)
  6. ^ McGill (2014), pp. 308–309.
  7. ^ McGill (2014), p. 308.
  8. ^ Grønnum (1998:100)
  9. ^ Basbøll (2005:47)
  10. ^ a b Verhoeven (2005:245)
  11. ^ Collins & Mees (2003:132)
  12. ^ Collins & Mees (2003:132, 222 and 224)
  13. ^ Collins & Mees (2003:222)
  14. ^ a b Gussenhoven (1992:47)
  15. ^ Harrington, Cox & Evans (1997)
  16. ^ Wells (1982a:305)
  17. ^ Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009a)
  18. ^ Bauer et al. (2007:98)
  19. ^ Wikström (2013:45), "It seems to be the case that younger RP or near-RP speakers typically use a closer quality, possibly approaching Cardinal 6 considering that the quality appears to be roughly intermediate between that used by older speakers for the LOT vowel and that used for the THOUGHT vowel, while older speakers use a more open quality, between Cardinal Vowels 13 and 6."
  20. ^ Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009b)
  21. ^ Lodge (2009:168)
  22. ^ Wells (1982a:293)
  23. ^ Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006:7)
  24. ^ Stoddart, Upton and Widowson in Urban Voices, Arnold, London, 1999, page 74
  25. ^ a b Wells (1982b:498)
  26. ^ Árnason (2011:68, 75)
  27. ^ a b Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  28. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2013:225)
  29. ^ Shosted & Chikovani (2006:261–262)
  30. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015:34)
  31. ^ a b Lodge (2009:87)
  32. ^ Collins & Mees (2013:234)
  33. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015:51)
  34. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 65.
  35. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), pp. 34, 65.
  36. ^ Árnason (2011:60)
  37. ^ Einarsson (1945:10), cited in Gussmann (2011:73)
  38. ^ Árnason (2011:57–60)
  39. ^ a b Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:119)
  40. ^ Jolkesky (2009:676–677 and 682)
  41. ^ a b Pearce (2011:251)
  42. ^ Verhoeven (2007:221)
  43. ^ Peters (2006:118–119)
  44. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:158–159)
  45. ^ a b Stone (2002:600)
  46. ^ a b Gilles & Trouvain (2013:70)
  47. ^ a b c d Popperwell (2010:26)
  48. ^ a b Strandskogen (1979:15, 19)
  49. ^ Vanvik (1979:13)
  50. ^ Jassem (2003:105)
  51. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91)
  52. ^ Variação inter- e intra-dialetal no português brasileiro: um problema para a teoria fonológica – Seung-Hwa LEE & Marco A. de Oliveira
  53. ^ Lista das marcas dialetais e ouros fenómenos de variação (fonética e fonológica) identificados nas amostras do Arquivo Dialetal do CLUP (Portuguese)
  54. ^ a b Jones & Ward (1969:56)
  55. ^ a b Pavlík (2004:94–95)
  56. ^ a b Kanu & Tucker (2010:249)
  57. ^ Šewc-Schuster (1984:20)
  58. ^ Tiersma (1999), p. 10.
  59. ^ a b Bamgboṣe (1969:166)