Open central unrounded vowel

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Open central unrounded vowel
ɑ̈
ɐ̞
IPA number 304 415
Encoding
Entity (decimal) a​̈
Unicode (hex) U+0061 U+0308
X-SAMPA a_" or a_- or A_" or 6_o
Sound

The open central unrounded vowel, or low central unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. While the International Phonetic Alphabet officially has no dedicated letter for this sound between front [a] and back [ɑ], it is normally written a. If precision is required, it can be specified by using diacritics, such as centralized ä or retracted , but this is not common.

Until recently, however, the letter a was officially used for the central vowel, and much of the existing body of work on phonetics reflects that. It is thus more common to use plain [a] for a central vowel, and to approximate an open front vowel, if needed, with [æ], officially near-open (near-low). Alternatively, Sinologists may use the unofficial symbol (small capital A). The IPA voted against officially adopting this symbol in 2011–2012.[1]

The Hamont dialect of Limburgish has been reported to contrast open front, central and back unrounded vowels,[2] which is extremely unusual.

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]

IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Close
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
iy
ɨʉ
ɯu
ɪʏ
eø
ɘɵ
ɤo
ɛœ
ɜɞ
ʌɔ
æ
aɶ
äɒ̈
ɑɒ
Near-close
Close-mid
Mid
Open-mid
Near-open
Open
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
This table contains phonetic symbols, which may not display correctly in some browsers. [Help]

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 central, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel. This often subsumes open (low) front vowels, because the tongue does not have as much flexibility in positioning as it does for the close (high) vowels; the difference between an open front vowel and an open back vowel is equal to the difference between a close front and a close central vowel, or a close central and a close back vowel.
  • It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.

Occurrence[edit]

Most languages have some form of an unrounded open vowel. Because the IPA uses a for both front and central unrounded open vowels, it is not always clear whether a particular language uses the former or the latter.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe дахэ About this sound [daːxä]  'pretty'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic kalu [kʰälu] 'bride' May be realized as [a] and [æ] in the Urmia, Nochiya and Jilu dialects. In the Tyari dialect, [ɑ] is usually used.
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[3] [example needed]
Bengali পা pa [pä] 'leg' See Bengali phonology
Catalan[4] sac [s̠äk] 'sack' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Cantonese saa1 [sä̝ː˥] 'sand' Somewhat raised. See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin tā [tʰä˥] 'he' See Mandarin phonology
Czech[5] Amerika [ˈämɛrɪkä] 'America' See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[6][7][8][9][10] barn [ˈb̥äːˀn] 'child' Most often transcribed ɑ - the way it is realized in the conservative variety.[11] See Danish phonology
Dutch Amsterdam[12] bad [bät] 'bath' Also present in many other non-Randstad accents.[12] It corresponds to [ɑ] in Standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology
Antwerp[12]
Brabant[12][13]
Standard[14][15] zaal [zäːɫ] 'hall' Ranges from front to central;[16] in non-standard accents it may be back. See Dutch phonology
English Australian[17] car [kʰäː] 'car' See Australian English phonology
Cultivated South African[18] Some speakers. For other speakers it is less front [ɑ̟ː][18][19] or, in Estuary English, even more back [ɑː].[19]
Estuary[19]
Norfolk[20]
General
South African[21]
time [tʰäːm] 'time' Corresponds to the diphthong /aɪ/ in most dialects. General South African speakers may also monophthongize /aʊ/. See English phonology
Southern American[22]
General American[23] cot [kʰäʔt̚] 'cot' It may be more back [ɑ̟ ~ ɑ], especially for speakers with the cot-caught merger. See English phonology
Southern Michigan[24] See English phonology
Northern England[25] trap [t̠ɹ̝̊äp] 'trap' Notably prevalent in Yorkshire, mainly around the Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales. More front [æ ~ a] for some other speakers. See English phonology
Some speakers from Reading[19] More front [ɛ ~ æ ~ a] for other speakers. See English phonology
Vancouver[26] [t̠ɹ̝̊äp̚] See Canadian Shift and English phonology
Younger speakers from Ontario[27]
French[28] patte [pät̪] 'paw' See French phonology.
German Standard[29] Katze [ˈkʰät͡sə] 'cat' See German phonology
Hebrew[30] פח About this sound [päχ]   'garbage can' Hebrew vowels are not shown in the script, see Niqqud and Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindustani माता / ماتا [mata] 'mother' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian[31] láb [läːb] 'leg' See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic[32][33][34][35] fara [ˈfäːrä] 'go' See Icelandic phonology
Igbo[36] ákụ [ákú̙] 'kernal'
Italian[37] casa [ˈkäːzä] 'home' See Italian phonology
Japanese[38] ka About this sound [kä]   'mosquito' See Japanese phonology
Limburgish Hamont dialect[2] zaak [zäːk²] 'business' Contrasts with [a], [], [ɑ] and [ɑː].[2] See Hamont dialect phonology
Lithuanian namas [ˈnäːmäs] 'house'
Malay api [äpi] 'fire'
Norwegian Standard Eastern[39] hat [häːt̪] 'hate' May be transcribed /ɑː/, the way it's pronounced in some dialects. Some older speakers may use a front [] instead. See Norwegian phonology
Polish[40] kat About this sound [kät̪]  'executioner' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[41] vá [vä] 'go' See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi ਜਾ [d͡ʒäː] 'go!'
Romanian cal [käl] 'horse' See Romanian phonology
Russian там About this sound [t̪äm]  'there' See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic slat [slät] 'yard' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Serbo-Croatian[42] патка / patka [pâ̠t̪ka̠] 'female duck' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Spanish[43] rata [ˈrät̪ä] 'rat' See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central Standard[44] bank [bäŋk] 'bank' Also described as front [a].[45] See Swedish phonology
Turkish[46] at [ät̪] 'horse' See Turkish phonology
Vietnamese Hanoi xa [s̪äː] 'far' See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian laad [ɫäːt] 'drawer'

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Keating (2012), p. 245.
  2. ^ a b c Verhoeven (2007), p. 221.
  3. ^ Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  4. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992), p. 54.
  5. ^ Dankovičová (1999), p. 72.
  6. ^ Grønnum (1998:100)
  7. ^ Grønnum (2005:268)
  8. ^ Grønnum (2003)
  9. ^ Basbøll (2005:46)
  10. ^ Allan, Holmes & Lundskær-Nielsen (2000:17)
  11. ^ Ladefoged & Johnson (2010:227)
  12. ^ a b c d Collins & Mees (2003), p. 131.
  13. ^ Peters (2010), p. 241.
  14. ^ Gussenhoven (1992), p. 47.
  15. ^ Verhoeven (2005), p. 245.
  16. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), p. 104.
  17. ^ Cox & Palethorpe (2007), p. 344.
  18. ^ a b Lass (2002), pp. 116–117.
  19. ^ a b c d Altendorf & Watt (2004), p. 188.
  20. ^ Lodge (2009), p. 168.
  21. ^ Lass (2002), p. 117.
  22. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006), p. ?.
  23. ^ Wells (1982), p. 476.
  24. ^ Hillenbrand (2003), p. 122.
  25. ^ Boberg (2004), p. 361.
  26. ^ Esling & Warkentyne (1993), p. ?.
  27. ^ Boberg (2004), pp. 361–362.
  28. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993), p. 73.
  29. ^ Mangold (2005), p. 37.
  30. ^ Laufer (1999), p. 98.
  31. ^ Szende (1994), p. 92.
  32. ^ Árnason (2011:60)
  33. ^ Einarsson (1945:10), cited in Gussmann (2011:73)
  34. ^ Haugen (1958:65)
  35. ^ "Icelandic Phonetic Transcription.PDF - ptg_ice.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  36. ^ Ikekeonwu (1999), p. 109.
  37. ^ Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004), p. 119.
  38. ^ Okada (1991), p. 94.
  39. ^ Vanvik (1979), p. 13.
  40. ^ Jassem (2003), p. 105.
  41. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 91.
  42. ^ Landau et al. (1999), p. 67.
  43. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 256.
  44. ^ Engstrand (1999), p. 140.
  45. ^ Thorén & Petterson (1992), p. 15.
  46. ^ Zimmer & Orgun (1999), p. 155.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Barry, William; Trouvain, Jürgen (2008), "Do we need a symbol for a central open vowel?", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (3): 349–357, doi:10.1017/s0025100308003587