The open-mid back unrounded vowel, or low-mid back unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spokenlanguages. Acoustically it is an open-mid back-central unrounded vowel. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʌ⟩, graphically a rotated lowercase "v" (called a turned V, though it was created as a small-capital ⟨ᴀ⟩ without the crossbar), and both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as either a wedge, a caret, or a hat. In transcriptions for English, this symbol is commonly used for the near-open central unrounded vowel, whereas in transcriptions for Danish, it is used for the (somewhat mid-centralized) open back rounded vowel.
The IPA prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowels, and the name of the article follows this. However, linguists[who?] are known to use the terms "high" and "low".
Its vowel backness is back, which means the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Note that unrounded back vowels tend to be centralized, which means that often they are in fact near-back.
It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.
Before World War II, the /ʌ/ of Received Pronunciation was phonetically close to a back vowel [ʌ]; this sound has since shifted forward towards [ɐ] (a near-open central unrounded vowel). Daniel Jones reports his speech (southern British), as having an advanced back vowel [ʌ̟] between his central /ə/ and back /ɔ/; however, he also reports that other southern speakers had a lower and even more advanced vowel approaching cardinal [a]. In American English varieties, e.g. the West and Midwest, and the urban South, the typical phonetic realization of the phoneme /ʌ/ is an open-mid central [ɜ]. Truly backed variants of /ʌ/ that are phonetically [ʌ] can occur in Inland Northern American English, Newfoundland English, Philadelphia English, some African-American Englishes, and (old-fashioned) white Southern English in coastal plain and Piedmont areas. Despite this, the letter ⟨ʌ⟩ is still commonly used to indicate this phoneme, even in the more common varieties with central variants [ɐ] or [ɜ]. This may be due to both tradition as well as the fact that some other dialects retain the older pronunciation.
Altendorf, Ulrike; Watt, Dominic (2004), "The dialects in the South of England: phonology", in Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Kortmann, Bernd; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive, A handbook of varieties of English, 1: Phonology, Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 181–196, ISBN3-11-017532-0
Gordon, Matthew (2004a), "New York, Philadelphia and other Northern Cities", in Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W., A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 294–296, ISBN3-11-017532-0
Gordon, Matthew (2004b), "The West and Midwest: phonology", in Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W., A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, p. 340, ISBN3-11-017532-0
Lass, Roger (2002), "South African English", in Mesthrie, Rajend, Language in South Africa, Cambridge University Press, ISBN9780521791052
Lawrence, Erma (1977), Haida dictionary, Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center
Lee, Hyun Bok (1999), "Korean", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 120–122, ISBN0-521-63751-1
Ní Chasaide, Ailbhe (1999). "Irish". Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. Cambridge University Press. pp. 111–116. ISBN0-521-63751-1.
Roca, Iggy; Johnson, Wyn (1999), Course in Phonology, Blackwell Publishing
Scobbie, James M; Gordeeva, Olga B.; Matthews, Benjamin (2006), Acquisition of Scottish English Phonology: an overview, Edinburgh: QMU Speech Science Research Centre Working Papers
Thomas, Erik R. (2001), "An acoustic analysis of vowel variation in New World English", Publication of the American Dialect Society, Duke University Press for the American Dialect Society, 85, ISSN0002-8207
Tillery, Jan; Bailey, Guy (2004), "The urban South: phonology", in Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W., A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, p. 333, ISBN3-11-017532-0