Open-mid front unrounded vowel

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Open-mid front unrounded vowel
IPA number 303
Entity (decimal) ɛ
Unicode (hex) U+025B
Kirshenbaum E
Braille ⠜ (braille pattern dots-345)

The open-mid front unrounded vowel, or low-mid front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is a Latinized variant of the Greek lowercase epsilon, ɛ.

The IPA prefers 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
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
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Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Akan pɛ [pʰɛ] 'to like'
Albanian tre [tɾɛ] 'three'
Arabic كريب [kɾɛp] 'crêpe' Only in loanwords and used by a small number of speakers, depending on country of origin. See Arabic phonology.
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[1] [example needed] May be transcribed in IPA as æ.[1]
Catalan[2] mel [mɛɫ] 'honey' See Catalan phonology
Armenian Eastern[3] էջ [ɛd͡ʒ] 'page'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic mes [mɛːs] 'table' Used predominantly in the Tyari, Barwari and Chaldean Neo-Aramaic dialects.
Corresponds to [i] in other varieties.
Chinese Cantonese /se4 [sɛː˩] 'snake' See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin /xié [ɕjɛ˧˥] 'tilted' See Mandarin phonology
Wu / ngae [ŋɛ˥˨] 'face'
Czech Amerika [ˈämɛrɪkä] 'America' See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[4][5][6][7] frisk [ˈfʁ̞ɛsɡ̊] 'fresh' Most often transcribed in IPA as æ. See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard[8] bed About this sound [bɛt]  'bed' See Dutch phonology
The Hague[9] jij About this sound [jɛ̞ː]  'you' Corresponds to [ɛi] in standard Dutch.
English General American[10] bed About this sound [bɛd]  'bed'
Northern English[11] May be somewhat lowered.[12]
Received Pronunciation[13][14] Older RP speakers pronounce a closer vowel []. See English phonology
Cockney[16] fat [fɛt] 'fat'
New Zealand[18]
Some Broad South African speakers[19] Other speakers realize this vowel as [æ] or [a].
Belfast[20] days [dɛːz] 'days' Pronounced [iə] in closed syllables; corresponds to [eɪ] in RP.
Zulu[21] mate [mɛt] 'mate' Speakers exhibit a met-mate merger.
Faroese elska [ɛlska] 'love'
French[22] bête About this sound [bɛt̪]  'beast' See French phonology
Galician pé [pɛ] 'foot'
Georgian[23] გედი [ɡɛdɪ] 'swan'
German Standard[24] Bett About this sound [bɛtʰ]  'bed' Also described as mid near-front [ɛ̝̈].[25] See Standard German phonology
Hindustani شَہَر / शहर [ʃɛɦɛr] 'city' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian nem [nɛm] 'no' See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic[26][27][28] kenna [ˈcʰɛnːa] 'to teach' Often diphthongized to [eɛ] when long.[29] See Icelandic phonology
Italian[30] bene [ˈbɛːne] 'good' See Italian phonology
Kaingang[31] [ˈᵐbɾɛ] 'with'
Korean 태도 [tʰɛː.do] 'attitude' See Korean phonology
Lithuanian mane [mɐˈnʲɛ] 'me' (acc.)
Luxembourgish[32] drécken [ˈdʀɛkən] 'to push' Allophone of /e/ before velar consonants; in free variation with [e].
Macedonian елен [ˈɛl̪ɛn̪] 'deer' See Macedonian phonology
Ngwe Njoagwi dialect [lɛ̀rɛ́] 'eye'
North Frisian tech [tɛx] 'closed'
Polish[33] ten About this sound [t̪ɛn̪]  'this one' (masc. nom.) See Polish phonology
Portuguese Most dialects[34][35] meleca [mɛˈl̪ɛ̞kə] 'goo' Stressed vowel might be lower [æ]. The presence and use of other unstressed ⟨e⟩ allophones, such as [ e ɪ i ɨ], varies according to dialect.
Some speakers[36] tempo [ˈt̪ɛ̃pu] 'time' Stressed vowel, allophone of nasal vowel /ẽ̞/. See Portuguese phonology
Romanian Transylvanian dialects[37] vede [vɛɟe][stress?] '(he) sees' Corresponds to mid [] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Russian[38] это About this sound [ˈɛt̪ə]  'this' See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic aig [ɛk] 'at' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Seri me [mɛ] 'you'
Shiwiar[39] [example needed] Allophone of /a/.
Spanish Eastern Andalusian[40] las madres [læ̞ː ˈmæ̞ːð̞ɾɛː] 'the mothers' Corresponds to [] in other dialects, but in these dialects they're distinct. See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central Standard[41] ät [ɛ̠ːt̪] 'eat' (imp.) Somewhat retracted. See Swedish phonology
Turkish süre [syɾɛ] 'duration' See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian береза About this sound [bɛˈrɛz̪ɐ]  'birch' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese e [ɛ] 'to fear' See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian têd [tɛːt] 'languid'
Yoruba[42] sẹ̀ [ɛ̄sɛ] 'leg'

The vowel transcribed /ɛ/ in Standard Eastern Norwegian is actually mid.[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  2. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992:54)
  3. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:13)
  4. ^ Grønnum (1998:100)
  5. ^ Grønnum (2005:268)
  6. ^ Grønnum (2003)
  7. ^ Basbøll (2005:45)
  8. ^ Gussenhoven (1992), p. 47.
  9. ^ Collins & Mees (2003:136)
  10. ^ Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009a)
  11. ^ Lodge (2009:163), Watson (2007:357), Watt & Allen (2003:268)
  12. ^ Lodge (2009:163)
  13. ^ Schmitt (2007:322–323)
  14. ^ "Received Pronunciation". British Library. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  15. ^ Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006:7)
  16. ^ Hughes & Trudgill (1979:35)
  17. ^ Bet Hashim & Brown (2000)
  18. ^ Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009b)
  19. ^ Lanham (1967:9)
  20. ^ "Week 18 (ii). Northern Ireland" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-05-26. [better source needed]
  21. ^ Rodrik Wade, MA Thesis, Ch 4: Structural characteristics of Zulu English at the Wayback Machine (archived May 17, 2008)
  22. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  23. ^ Shosted & Chikovani (2006:261–262)
  24. ^ Mangold (2005:37)
  25. ^ Kohler (1999:87)
  26. ^ Árnason (2011:60)
  27. ^ Einarsson (1945:10), cited in Gussmann (2011:73)
  28. ^ Haugen (1958:65)
  29. ^ Árnason (2011:57–60)
  30. ^ Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:119)
  31. ^ Jolkesky (2009:676–677 and 682)
  32. ^ Gilles & Trouvain (2013:70)
  33. ^ Jassem (2003:105)
  34. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91)
  35. ^ Variação inter- e intra-dialetal no português brasileiro: um problema para a teoria fonológica – Seung-Hwa LEE & Marco A. de Oliveira
  36. ^ Lista das marcas dialetais e ouros fenómenos de variação (fonética e fonológica) identificados nas amostras do Arquivo Dialetal do CLUP
  37. ^ Pop (1938), p. 29.
  38. ^ Jones & Ward (1969:41)
  39. ^ Fast Mowitz (1975:2)
  40. ^ a b Zamora Vicente (1967:?)
  41. ^ Engstrand (1999:140)
  42. ^ Bamgboṣe (1969:166)
  43. ^ Vanvik (1979:13)


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