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. 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".


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[1] daar [dɒːr] 'there' Higher [ɔː] for a very small number of speakers. It is unrounded [ɑː] in standard Afrikaans.[2] 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[3][4] soc [sɒk] 'clog' Typically transcribed as /ɔ/. See Catalan phonology
Danish Standard[5] og [ɒ̽ʊ̯] 'and' Fronted and somewhat raised,[5] also described as [ɔ].[6][7][8][9] See Danish phonology
Dutch Belgian maar [mɒːr] 'but' Some dialects. Corresponds to [äː] in standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology
Leiden[10] bad [bɒ̝t] 'bath' Raised;[10] may be unrounded [ɑ̝] instead.[10] It corresponds to [ɑ] in standard Dutch.
Some dialects[11] bot [bɒt] 'bone' Present in some non-Randstad dialects,[11] for example those of Den Bosch and Groningen. It corresponds to [ɔ] in standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology
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[12] not [nɒt] 'not' Somewhat raised. Younger RP speakers may pronounce a closer vowel [ɔ]. See English phonology
Northern English[13][14][15] May be somewhat raised and fronted.[13]
South African[16] [nɒ̜̈t] Near-back;[16] weakly rounded.[16] Some younger speakers of the General variety may actually have a higher and fully unrounded vowel [ʌ̈].[16]
General American[17] thought About this sound [θɒt]  'thought' Present in accents without the cot–caught merger. May be as high as [ɔː].
Inland Northern American[18] See Northern cities vowel shift
Western Canadian
Indian[19] /ɒ/ and /ɔː/ differ entirely by length in Indian English.
Welsh[20] 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[21] mane [ˈmɒːnə] 'remind' Allophone of /ɒ/, in free variation with [ɑ].[21]
Hungarian[22] magyar [ˈmɒ̜̽ɟɒ̜̽r] 'Hungarian' Somewhat fronted and raised, with only slight rounding; sometimes transcribed as /ɔ/. See Hungarian phonology
Irish Ulster[23] ólann [ɒ̝ːɫ̪ən̪ˠ] '(he) drinks' Raised;[23] may be transcribed /ɔː/.[24]
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.[25]
Lemerig ān̄sār [ʔɒ̝ŋsɒ̝r] 'person' Raised vowel, being the back rounded counterpart of /æ/ in a symmetrical vowel inventory.[26]
Norwegian Dialects along the Swedish border[27] hat [hɒ̜ːt] 'hate' Weakly rounded and fully back.[27] See Norwegian phonology
Standard Eastern[28] topp [t̻ʰɒ̽pː] 'top' Mid-centralized,[28] 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[29] cap [kɒp] 'head' Corresponds to [ä] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Swedish Central Standard[30][31] jаg [jɒ̝ːɡ] 'I' Weakly rounded, fully back and raised.[30] Typically transcribed in IPA as ɑː. See Swedish phonology
Gothenburg[31] [jɒːɡ] More rounded than in Central Standard Swedish.[31]
Uzbek dono [dɒnɒ] 'wise'
Waris ov [ɒβ] 'sky'
Western Desert Martu Wangka waŋka [wɒŋɡɑ] 'talk'
Yoruba[32] [example needed] Most often transcribed /ɔ/.

See also[edit]


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