Open front rounded vowel

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Open front rounded vowel
IPA number 312
Entity (decimal) ɶ
Unicode (hex) U+0276
Kirshenbaum a.
Braille ⠔ (braille pattern dots-35) ⠪ (braille pattern dots-246)

The open front rounded vowel, or low front rounded vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound, not confirmed to be phonemic in any spoken languages. Acoustically it is an open or low near-front rounded vowel, a rounded equivalent of [æ], rather than [a].[2] 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⟩. Note that ⟨œ⟩, the lowercase version of the ligature, is used for the open-mid front rounded vowel.

Riad (2014) reports that [ɶː] in Stockholm Swedish is sometimes difficult to distinguish from [ɒː]. He states that it is "a sign that these vowels are phonetically very close".[3]


IPA: Vowels
Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg

Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded

  • 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 front, which means the tongue is positioned as far forward as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Note that 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.


A phoneme generally transcribed by this symbol is reported from the Amstetten dialect of Austro-Bavarian German. However, phonetically it is open-mid, i.e. [œ].[4]

It occurs allophonically in Danish, Weert Limburgish and some speakers of Swedish.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Danish Standard[5][6] grøn [ˈɡ̊ʁ̞ɶ̽nˀ] 'green' Near-open near-front;[5] allophone of /œ/ after /r/ and of /ø/ when between /r/ and /v/.[7] Some speakers may realize it the same as [œ].[6] See Danish phonology
Limburgish Weert dialect[8] bùj [bɶj] 'shower' Allophone of /œ/ before /j/.[8]
Swedish Stockholm[3] öra [²ɶːra̠] 'ear' Pre-/r/ allophone of /œ/ and (more often) /øː/ for younger speakers.[3] Open-mid [œ, œː] for other speakers.[3] 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. ^ Geoff Lindsey (2013) The vowel space, Speech Talk
  3. ^ a b c d Riad (2014:38)
  4. ^ Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  5. ^ a b Grønnum (1998:100)
  6. ^ a b Basbøll (2005:46): "Nina Grønnum uses two different symbols for the vowels in these and similar words: gøre she transcribes with (...) [œ] (narrow transcription), and grøn she transcribes with (...) [ɶ̝] (narrow transcription). Clearly, there is variation within Standard Danish on this point (...)."
  7. ^ Grønnum (2005:288)
  8. ^ a b Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998:110)