open back rounded vowel, or low 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 ⟨ ɒ ⟩. This is called turned script a, because it is a rotated version of script a, so-called because it lacks the extra stroke on top of a printed 'a'. Turned script a, which has its linear stroke on the left, should not be confused with script a ⟨ ɑ ⟩, which has its linear stroke on the right and corresponds to an unrounded version of this vowel, the open back unrounded vowel. A well rounded [ɒ] is rare, though it is found in some varieties of English. In most languages with this vowel, such as English and Persian, the rounding of [ɒ] is slight, and in English at least it is sulcal or "grooved". However, Assamese has an "over-rounded" [ɒ̹] with rounding as strong as that for [u].
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".
Features [ edit ]
vowel height is open, also known as low, which means the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth – that is, as low as possible in the mouth. 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's
rounded, which means that the lips are rounded rather than spread or relaxed.
Occurrence [ edit ]
[ for a very small number of speakers. It is unrounded ɔː] [ in standard Afrikaans. See ɑː] Afrikaans phonology
[pɒ̹t] 'to bury'
May be realised as
[ in some speakers. Corresponds to ɑ] [ in the Urmian dialect. ɔ]
Majorcan [3 ] [4 ]
Typically transcribed as
/ɔ/. See Catalan phonology
Minorcan [3 ] [4 ]
Valencian [3 ] [4 ]
Fronted and somewhat raised,
also described as [5 ] [. ɔ] [6 ] [7 ] [8 ] See [9 ] Danish phonology
Some dialects. Corresponds to
[ in standard Dutch. See äː] Dutch phonology
Leiden [10 ]
may be unrounded [10 ] [ instead. ɑ̝] It corresponds to [10 ] [ in standard Dutch. ɑ]
Rotterdam [10 ]
Present in some non-Randstad dialects,
for example those of [11 ] Den Bosch and Groningen. It corresponds to [ in standard Dutch. See ɔ] Dutch phonology
Dutch Low Saxon
[ɒp] 'up', 'onto'
[ɔ~o] in other dialects.
[ɔː] in other dialects.
It is one of the very few North American accents that have the
cot–caught merger, but not the father–bother merger.
[nɒ̝t] Somewhat raised. Most other speakers use a closer vowel
[ instead. ɔ]
Received Pronunciation [12 ] Somewhat raised. Younger RP speakers may pronounce a closer vowel
[. See ɔ] English phonology
Northern English [13 ] [14 ] [15 ]
[nɒt] May be somewhat raised and fronted.
South African [16 ]
weakly rounded. [16 ] Some younger speakers of the General variety may actually have a higher and fully unrounded vowel [16 ] [. ʌ̈] [16 ]
General American [17 ]
[θɒt] ( · help ) info 'thought'
Present in accents without the cot–caught merger. May be as high as
Inland Northern American [18 ] See
Northern cities vowel shift
Indian [19 ]
/ɒ/ and /ɔː/ differ entirely by length in Indian English.
Mainstream Dublin May be unrounded
[. It is front unrounded ɑː] [ in Local Dublin, and higher aː] [ in New Dublin. oː]
Welsh [20 ] Open-mid in
Cardiff; may merge with / in northern dialects. oː/
[lezɒːʁ] ( · help ) info 'lizard'
/ɑ/. See Quebec French phonology
[ˈɡ̊rɒd̥] 'just now'
May be as high as
[. See ɔ] Bernese German phonology
/ɒ/, in free variation with [. ɑ]
Hungarian [22 ]
m agy ar
Somewhat fronted and raised, with only slight rounding; sometimes transcribed as
/ɔ/. See Hungarian phonology
Ulster [23 ]
[ɒ̝ːɫ̪ən̪ˠ] '(he) drinks'
may be transcribed [23 ] /ɔː/. [24 ]
[ in standard Romanian. See ä] Romanian phonology
Raised vowel, being the back rounded counterpart of
/ in a symmetrical vowel inventory. æ/ [26 ]
Raised vowel, being the back rounded counterpart of
/ in a symmetrical vowel inventory. æ/ [27 ]
Norwegian Dialects along the Swedish border
Weakly rounded and fully back.
See [28 ] Norwegian phonology
typically transcribed as [29 ] /ɔ/. Also described as [ and ɔ̟] [. See ɔ] Norwegian phonology
Limousin Some northern dialects
Swedish Central Standard
[30 ] [31 ]
Weakly rounded, fully back and raised.
Typically transcribed as [30 ] /ɑː/. See Swedish phonology
Gothenburg [31 ]
[jɒːɡ] More rounded than in Central Standard Swedish.
d on o
Western Desert Martu Wangka
West Frisian Schiermonnikoogs
Yoruba [32 ]
Most often transcribed
See also [ edit ]
References [ edit ]
Allan, Robin; Holmes, Philip; Lundskær-Nielsen, Tom (2000), Danish: An Essential Grammar, London: Routledge, ISBN 0-19-824268-9
Bamgboṣe, Ayọ (1966), A Grammar of Yoruba, [West African Languages Survey / Institute of African Studies], Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Basbøll, Hans (2005), The Phonology of Danish, ISBN 0-203-97876-5
Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (2003), The Phonetics of English and Dutch, Fifth Revised Edition (PDF), ISBN 9004103406
Coupland, Nikolas (1990), English in Wales: Diversity, Conflict, and Change, ISBN 1-85359-032-0
Donaldson, Bruce C. (1993), "1. Pronunciation", , A Grammar of Afrikaans Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 1–35, ISBN 9783110134261
Engstrand, Olle (1999), "Swedish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the usage of the International Phonetic Alphabet., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 140–142, ISBN 0-521-63751-1
Fleischer, Jürg; Schmid, Stephan (2006), "Zurich German" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36 (2): 243–253, doi: 10.1017/S0025100306002441
François, Alexandre (2011), "Social ecology and language history in the northern Vanuatu linkage: A tale of divergence and convergence", Journal of Historical Linguistics 1 (2): 175–246, doi: 10.1075/jhl.1.2.03fra
Grønnum, Nina (1998), "Illustrations of the IPA: Danish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 28 (1 & 2): 99–105, doi: 10.1017/s0025100300006290
Grønnum, Nina (2003), Why are the Danes so hard to understand?
Grønnum, Nina (2005), Fonetik og fonologi, Almen og Dansk (3rd ed.), Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, ISBN 87-500-3865-6
Lass, Roger (2002), "South African English", in Mesthrie, Rajend, Language in South Africa, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521791052
Lodge, Ken (2009), A Critical Introduction to Phonetics, ISBN 978-0-8264-8873-2
Pop, Sever (1938), Micul Atlas Linguistic Român, Muzeul Limbii Române Cluj
Ní Chasaide, Ailbhe (1999), "Irish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 111–16, ISBN 0-521-63751-1
Popperwell, Ronald G. (2010) [First published 1963], , Cambridge University Press, Pronunciation of Norwegian ISBN 978-0-521-15742-1
Rafel, Joaquim (1999), Aplicació al català dels principis de transcripció de l'Associació Fonètica Internacional (PDF) (3rd ed.), Barcelona: Institut d'Estudis Catalans, ISBN 84-7283-446-8
Recasens, Daniel (1996), Fonètica descriptiva del català: assaig de caracterització de la pronúncia del vocalisme i el consonantisme català al segle XX (2nd ed.), Barcelona: Institut d'Estudis Catalans, ISBN 978-84-7283-312-8
Riad, Tomas (2014), The Phonology of Swedish, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-954357-1
Roach, Peter (2004), "British English: Received Pronunciation", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (2): 239–245, doi: 10.1017/S0025100304001768
Sailaja, Pingali (2009), Indian English, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd, pp. 17–38, ISBN 978 0 7486 2594 9
Szende, Tamás (1994), "Hungarian", Journal of the International Phonetic Alphabet 24 (2): 91–94, doi: 10.1017/S0025100300005090
Vanvik, Arne (1979), Norsk fonetik, Oslo: Universitetet i Oslo, ISBN 82-990584-0-6
Watson, Kevin (2007), "Liverpool English" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 37 (3): 351–360, doi: 10.1017/s0025100307003180
Watt, Dominic; Allen, William (2003), "Tyneside English", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 267–271, doi: 10.1017/S0025100303001397
Wells, John C. (1982), Accents of English 3, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-24225-8