Open back rounded vowel

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Open back rounded vowel
IPA number 313
Entity (decimal) ɒ
Unicode (hex) U+0252
Kirshenbaum A.
Braille ⠲ (braille pattern dots-256) ⠡ (braille pattern dots-16)

The open back rounded vowel, or low back rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. Acoustically it is a near-open or near-low back rounded vowel.[1] The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɒ. This is called "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". Turned script a ɒ has its linear stroke on the left, whereas "script a" ɑ (for its unrounded counterpart) has its linear stroke on the right.

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".


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
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IPA help • IPA key • chart • Loudspeaker.svg chart with audio • view
  • Its 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.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Former Transvaal Province[2] daar [dɒːr] 'there' Higher [ɔː] for a very small number of speakers. It is unrounded [ɑː] in standard Afrikaans.[3] See Afrikaans phonology
Assamese ? [pɒ̹t] 'to bury'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic χwara [χwɒːra] 'white' May be realised as [ɑ] in some speakers. Corresponds to [ɔ] in the Urmian dialect.
Catalan Majorcan[4][5] soc [sɒk] 'clog' Typically transcribed as /ɔ/. See Catalan phonology
Danish Standard[6] og [ɒ̽ʊ̯] 'and' Fronted and somewhat raised,[6] also described as [ɔ].[7][8][9][10] See Danish phonology
Dutch Belgian maar [mɒːr] 'but' Some dialects. Corresponds to [äː] in standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology
Leiden[11] bad [bɒ̝t] 'bath' Raised;[11] may be unrounded [ɑ̝] instead.[11] It corresponds to [ɑ] in standard Dutch.
Some dialects[12] bot [bɒt] 'bone' Some non-Randstad dialects,[12] for example those of Den Bosch and Groningen. It is [ɔ] in standard Dutch.
Dutch Low Saxon Gronings op [ɒp] 'up' Pronounced [ɔ~o] in other dialects.
Some dialects taol [tɒːɫ] 'language' Higher [ɔː] in other dialects.
English Received Pronunciation[13] not [nɒt] 'not' Somewhat raised. Younger RP speakers may pronounce a closer vowel [ɔ]. See English phonology
Northern English[14][15][16] May be somewhat raised and fronted.[14]
South African[17] [nɒ̜̈t] Near-back;[17] weakly rounded.[17] Some younger speakers of the General variety may actually have a higher and fully unrounded vowel [ʌ̈].[17]
General American[18] thought About this sound [θɒt]  'thought' Present in accents without the cotcaught merger. May be as high as [ɔː].
Inland Northern American[19] See Northern cities vowel shift
Western Canadian
Indian[20] /ɒ/ and /ɔː/ differ entirely by length in Indian English.
Welsh[21] Open-mid in Cardiff; may merge with // in northern dialects.
French Quebec lézard About this sound [lezɒːʁ]  'lizard' Allophone of /ɑ/. See Quebec French phonology
German Northern Bernese grad [ˈɡ̊rɒd̥] 'just now' May be as high as [ɔ]. See Bernese German phonology
Zurich dialect[22] mane [ˈmɒːnə] 'remind' Allophone of /ɒ/, in free variation with [ɑ].[22]
Hungarian[23] magyar [ˈmɒ̜̽ɟɒ̜̽r] 'Hungarian' Somewhat fronted and raised, with only slight rounding; sometimes transcribed as /ɔ/. See Hungarian phonology
Irish Ulster[24] ólann [ɒ̝ːɫ̪ən̪ˠ] '(he) drinks' Raised;[24] may be transcribed /ɔː/.[25]
Kol öle [ɒle] 'name'
Korean Jeju 서울/Seoul [sʰɒ.ul] 'Seoul' See Korean phonology
Lehali dö [ⁿdɒ̝ŋ] 'yam' Raised vowel, being the back rounded counterpart of /æ/ in a symmetrical vowel inventory.[26]
Lemerig ān̄sār [ʔɒ̝ŋsɒ̝r] 'person' Raised vowel, being the back rounded counterpart of /æ/ in a symmetrical vowel inventory.[27]
Norwegian Dialects along the Swedish border[28] hat [hɒ̜ːt] 'hate' Weakly rounded and fully back.[28] See Norwegian phonology
Standard Eastern[29] topp [t̻ʰɒ̽pː] 'top' Mid-centralized,[29] typically transcribed as /ɔ/. Also described as [ɔ̟] and [ɔ]. See Norwegian phonology
Occitan Auvergnat país [pɒˈji] 'country'
Limousin Some northern dialects
Persian آب [ɒːb] 'water' See Persian phonology
Romanian Istro-Romanian[30] cap [kɒp] 'head' Corresponds to [ä] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Swedish Central Standard[31][32] jаg [jɒ̝ːɡ] 'I' Weakly rounded, fully back and raised.[31] Typically transcribed in IPA as ɑː. See Swedish phonology
Gothenburg[32] [jɒːɡ] More rounded than in Central Standard Swedish.[32]
Uzbek dono [dɒnɒ] 'wise'
Waris ov [ɒβ] 'sky'
Western Desert Martu Wangka waŋka [wɒŋɡɑ] 'talk'
Yoruba[33] [example needed] Most often transcribed /ɔ/.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Geoff Lindsey (2013) The vowel space, Speech Talk
  2. ^ Donaldson (1993), p. 6.
  3. ^ Donaldson (1993), pp. 6–7.
  4. ^ a b c Recasens (1996:81 and 130–131)
  5. ^ a b c Rafel (1999:14)
  6. ^ a b Allan, Holmes & Lundskær-Nielsen (2000:17)
  7. ^ Grønnum (1998:100)
  8. ^ Grønnum (2005:268)
  9. ^ Grønnum (2003)
  10. ^ Basbøll (2005:47)
  11. ^ a b c d Collins & Mees (2003:131)
  12. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003:131)
  13. ^ Roach (2004:242)
  14. ^ a b Lodge (2009:163)
  15. ^ Watson (2007:357)
  16. ^ Watt & Allen (2003:268)
  17. ^ a b c d Lass (2002:115)
  18. ^ Wells (1982:476)
  19. ^ 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 
  20. ^ Sailaja (2009:24–25)
  21. ^ Coupland (1990:135)
  22. ^ a b Fleischer & Schmid (2006), p. 248.
  23. ^ Szende (1994:92)
  24. ^ a b Ní Chasaide (1999:114)
  25. ^ Ní Chasaide (1999)
  26. ^ François (2011:194).
  27. ^ François (2011:195, 208).
  28. ^ a b Popperwell (2010:23)
  29. ^ a b Vanvik (1979:13)
  30. ^ Pop (1938), p. 29.
  31. ^ a b Engstrand (1999:140–141)
  32. ^ a b c Riad (2014:35–36)
  33. ^ Bamgboṣe (1969:166)