Open back rounded vowel

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Open back rounded vowel
IPA Number313
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ɒ
Unicode (hex)U+0252
Braille⠲ (braille pattern dots-256)⠡ (braille pattern dots-16)

The open back rounded vowel, or low back rounded 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 ⟨ɒ⟩. It is called Latin turned alpha being a rotated version of Latin alpha. It seems a "turned script a", being a rotated version of "script (cursive) a", which is the variant of a that lacks the extra stroke on top of a "printed a". Latin turned alpha aɒ⟩ has its linear stroke on the left, whereas Latin alpha aɑ⟩ (for its unrounded counterpart) has its linear stroke on the right.


  • Its vowel height is open, also known as low, which means the tongue is positioned far from the roof of the mouth – that is, low in the mouth.
  • Its vowel backness is back, which means the tongue is positioned back in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.
  • It is rounded, which means that the lips are rounded rather than spread or relaxed.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Standard[2] daar [dɒːr] 'there' Fully back. Used by some speakers, particularly young female speakers of northern accents. Other speakers use an unrounded vowel [ɑː ~ ɑ̟ː].[2] See Afrikaans phonology
Assamese / kor [kɒ̹ɹ] 'to do' An "over-rounded" [ɒ̹], with rounding as strong as that for [u].[3]
Catalan Majorcan[4][5] soc [ˈsɒk] 'clog' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩. See Catalan phonology
Some Valencian speakers[6] taula [ˈt̪ɑ̟wɫɒ̝] 'table' Can be realized as unrounded [ɑ].
Dutch Leiden[7] bad [bɒ̝t] 'bath' Near-open fully back; may be unrounded [ɑ̝] instead.[7] It corresponds to [ɑ] in standard Dutch.
Some dialects[8] bot [bɒt] 'bone' Some non-Randstad dialects,[8] for example those of Den Bosch and Groningen. It is open-mid [ɔ] in standard Dutch.
English Received Pronunciation[9] not [nɒt] 'not' Somewhat raised. Younger RP speakers may pronounce a closer vowel [ɔ]. It is proposed that the /ɒ/ vowel of Received Pronunciation, which is normally described as a rounded vowel, is pronounced by some speakers without rounded lips for whom the characteristic quality is rather one of sulcality.[10] See English phonology
Northern English[11] May be somewhat raised and fronted.[11]
South African[12] [nɒ̜̈t] Near-back and weakly rounded.[12] Some younger speakers of the General variety may actually have a higher and fully unrounded vowel [ʌ̈].[12] See South African English phonology
General American thought [θɒt]  'thought' Vowel /ɔ(:)/ is lowered (phonetic realization of /ɔ(:)/ is much lower in GA than in RP).

However "Short o" before r before a vowel (a short o sound followed by r and then another vowel, as in orange, forest, moral, and warrant) is realized as [oɹ~ɔɹ].

Inland Northern American[13] See Northern cities vowel shift
Indian[14] [t̪ʰɒʈ] /ɒ/ and /ɔː/ differ entirely by length in Indian English.
Welsh[15][16] [θɒːt] Open-mid in Cardiff; may merge with // in northern dialects.
German Many speakers[17] Gourmand [ɡ̊ʊʁˈmɒ̃ː] 'gourmand' Nasalized; common phonetic realization of /ɑ̃ː/.[17] See Standard German phonology
Many Swiss dialects[18] maane [ˈmɒːnə] 'remind' The example word is from the Zurich dialect, in which [ɒː] is in free variation with the unrounded [ɑː].[19]
Hungarian Standard[20] magyar [ˈmɒ̜̽ɟɒ̜̽r] 'Hungarian' Somewhat fronted and raised, with only slight rounding; sometimes transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩. Unrounded [ɑ] in some dialects.[21] See Hungarian phonology
Ibibio[22] d [dɒ̝́] 'marry' Near-open;[22] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩.
Irish Ulster[23] ólann [ɒ̝ːɫ̪ən̪ˠ] '(he) drinks' Near-open;[23] may be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔː⟩.
Istro-Romanian[24] cåp [kɒp] 'head' See Istro-Romanian pronunciation (in Romanian).
Lehali[25] dö [ⁿdɒ̝ŋ] 'yam' Raised vowel, being the back rounded counterpart of /æ/ in a symmetrical vowel inventory.[25]
Lemerig[26] ān̄sār [ʔɒ̝ŋsɒ̝r] 'person' Raised vowel, being the back rounded counterpart of /æ/ in a symmetrical vowel inventory.[26]
Limburgish Maastrichtian[27] plaots [plɒ̝ːts] 'place' Near-open fully back; typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔː⟩.[27] Corresponds to [ɔː] in other dialects.
Malay Kedah tua [tu.ɒ] 'old' Northern Kedah subdialect/dialect. Allophone of /a/ in word-final position in open-ended words and close-ended words that end with a glottal stop /ʔ/ or a glottal fricative /h/.
Norwegian Urban East[28][29] topp [tʰɒ̝pː] 'top' Near-open,[28][29] also described as close-mid back [o].[30] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩. See Norwegian phonology
Dialects along the Swedish border[31] hat [hɒ̜ːt] 'hate' Weakly rounded and fully back.[31] See Norwegian phonology
Persian ف‍‍ارسی / fârsi [fɒːɾˈsiː] 'Persian'
Slovak Some speakers[32] a [ɒ] 'and' Under Hungarian influence, some speakers realize the short /a/ as rounded.[32] See Slovak phonology
Swedish Central Standard[33][34] jаg [jɒ̝ːɡ] 'I' Near-open fully back weakly rounded vowel.[33] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɑː⟩. See Swedish phonology
Gothenburg[34] [jɒːɡ] More rounded than in Central Standard Swedish.[34]
Uzbek Standard[35] choy [t͡ʃɒj] 'tea'
Vastese[36] uâʃtə
Yoruba[37] [example needed] Most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ a b Wissing (2016), section "The unrounded low-central vowel /a/".
  3. ^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), pp. 293–294.
  4. ^ a b c Recasens (1996), pp. 81, 130–131.
  5. ^ a b c Rafel (1999), p. 14.
  6. ^ Saborit (2009), pp. 25–26.
  7. ^ a b c Collins & Mees (2003), p. 131.
  8. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003), p. 132.
  9. ^ Roach (2004), p. 242.
  10. ^ Lass, Roger (1984). Phonology: an introduction to basic concepts. p. 124.
  11. ^ a b Lodge (2009), p. 163.
  12. ^ a b c Lass (2002), p. 115.
  13. ^ W. Labov, S. Ash and C. Boberg (1997), A national map of the regional dialects of American English, Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania, retrieved May 27, 2013
  14. ^ Sailaja (2009), pp. 24–25.
  15. ^ Connolly (1990), p. 125.
  16. ^ Tench (1990), p. 135.
  17. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 38.
  18. ^ Krech et al. (2009), p. 263.
  19. ^ Fleischer & Schmid (2006), p. 248.
  20. ^ Szende (1994), p. 92.
  21. ^ Vago (1980), p. 1.
  22. ^ a b Urua (2004), p. 106.
  23. ^ a b Ní Chasaide (1999), p. 114.
  24. ^ Pop (1938), p. 29.
  25. ^ a b François (2011), p. 194.
  26. ^ a b François (2011), pp. 195, 208.
  27. ^ a b Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), pp. 158–159.
  28. ^ a b Vanvik (1979), pp. 13, 17.
  29. ^ a b Kvifte & Gude-Husken (2005), p. 2.
  30. ^ Kristoffersen (2000), pp. 16–17.
  31. ^ a b Popperwell (2010), p. 23.
  32. ^ a b Kráľ (1988), p. 54.
  33. ^ a b Engstrand (1999), pp. 140–141.
  34. ^ a b c Riad (2014), pp. 35–36.
  35. ^ Sjoberg, Andrée F. (1963). Uzbek Structural Grammar. Uralic and Altaic Series. Vol. 18. Bloomington: Indiana University. p. 17.
  36. ^ "Vastesi Language - Vastesi in the World". Vastesi in the World. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  37. ^ Bamgboṣe (1966), p. 166.


External links[edit]