Open front rounded vowel

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Open front rounded vowel
IPA Number312
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ɶ
Unicode (hex)U+0276
Braille⠔ (braille pattern dots-35)⠪ (braille pattern dots-246)

The (near) open front rounded vowel, or (near) low front rounded vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound that has not been confirmed to be phonemic in any spoken language. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɶ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is &. The letter ⟨ɶ⟩ is a small caps rendition of ⟨Œ⟩. ⟨œ⟩, the lowercase version of the ligature, is used for the open-mid front rounded vowel.

While the IPA chart lists it as a fully open vowel, the rounded equivalent of [a], Ladefoged[2] characterizes it as near-open, the rounded equivalent of [æ].

A phoneme generally transcribed by this symbol is reported from the Bavarian dialect of Amstetten. However, it is phonetically open-mid, [œ].[3]

It occurs allophonically in Weert Limburgish[4] as well as in some speakers of Danish[5] and Swedish.[6] Certain transcriptions of Danish use ⟨ɶ⟩ to denote an open-mid front rounded vowel [œ].[5]

In Maastrichtian Limburgish, the vowel transcribed with ⟨ɶː⟩ in the Mestreechter Taol dictionary is phonetically near-open central [ɐ̹ː]. It is a phonological open-mid front rounded vowel, the long counterpart of /œ/.[7]

Riad (2014) reports that [ɶː] in Stockholm Swedish is sometimes difficult to distinguish from [ɒː], which is the main realization of the /ɑː/ phoneme, a sign that both vowels are phonetically very close.[6]


  • 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 front, which means the tongue is positioned forward in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Rounded front vowels are often centralized, which means that often they are in fact near-front.
  • It is rounded, which means that the lips are rounded rather than spread or relaxed.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Danish Some speakers[5] grøn [ˈkʁɶ̝nˀ] 'green' Near-open;[8] allophone of /ø/ between /ʁ/ and /v/ as well as an allophone of /œ/ between /ʁ/ and a nasal.[9] Other speakers pronounce it the same as [œ].[5] See Danish phonology
Limburgish Weert dialect[4] bùj [bɶj] 'shower' Allophone of /œ/ before /j/.[4] See Weert dialect phonology
Swedish Stockholm[6] öra [ˈɶ̂ːra̠] 'ear' Pre-/r/ allophone of /øː/ (sometimes also /œ/) for younger speakers.[6] Open-mid [œː, œ] for other speakers.[6] See Swedish phonology

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. ^ Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-631-19815-4.
  3. ^ Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  4. ^ a b c Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998:110)
  5. ^ a b c d Basbøll (2005:46)
  6. ^ a b c d e Riad (2014:38)
  7. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:159, 161–162, 164)
  8. ^ Grønnum (1998:100)
  9. ^ Grønnum (2005:288)


External links[edit]