Open front unrounded vowel

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Open front unrounded vowel
a
æ̞
IPA number 304
Encoding
Entity (decimal) a
Unicode (hex) U+0061
X-SAMPA a or a_+ or {_o
Kirshenbaum a
Braille ⠁ (braille pattern dots-1)
Sound

The open front unrounded vowel, or low front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in most spoken languages. According to the official standards of the International Phonetic Association, the symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is a.

In practice, however, it is very common to approximate this sound with æ (officially a near-open (near-low) front unrounded vowel),[citation needed] and to use a as an open (low) central unrounded vowel. This is the normal practice, for example, in the historical study of the English language. The loss of separate symbols for open and near-open front vowels is usually considered unproblematic, because the perceptual difference between the two is quite small, and very few languages contrast the two. See open central unrounded vowel for more information. If one needs to specify that the vowel is front, they can use symbols like [a̟] ([a] with "advanced" diactric), or [æ̞] (lowered [æ]), with the latter being more common.

The Hamont dialect of Limburgish has been reported to contrast open front, central and back unrounded vowels,[1] which is extremely unusual.

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
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 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. This subsumes central open (central low) vowels because the tongue does not have as much flexibility in positioning as it does in the mid and close (high) vowels; the difference between an open front vowel and an open back vowel is similar 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]

Many languages have some form of an unrounded open vowel. For languages that have only a single open vowel, the symbol for this vowel a may be used because it is the only open vowel whose symbol is part of the basic Latin alphabet. Whenever marked as such, the vowel is closer to a central [ä] than to a front [a].

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Arabic Standard[2] أنا [anaː] 'I am' See Arabic phonology
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic la [laː] 'no' Widely present in Urmia and Jilu dialects. Corresponds to [ä] in most of the other varieties. In the Tyari dialect, [ɑ] is usually used.
Bulgarian[3] най [n̪a̠j] 'most' Somewhat retracted.[3]
Catalan Majorcan sac [sak] 'sack' Corresponds to [ä] in other varieties. See Catalan phonology
Danish Some speakers[4] Dansk [ˈd̥ansɡ̊] 'Danish' Certain older or upper-class speakers.[4] For others, it is higher [æ].[5][6][7][8][9] See Danish phonology
Dutch Broad Amsterdam[10] ijs [aːs] 'ice' Corresponds to [ɛi̯] in standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology
Groningen[11] aas 'bait'
Standard[12] Ranges from front to central.[13]
Utrecht[14] bad [bat] 'bath' Corresponds to [ɑ] in standard Netherlandic Dutch.
English California[15][16] hat About this sound [hat]  'hat' In other accents, or in some other speakers of the accents listed here, the quality may be anywhere from front [ɛ ~ æ ~ a] to central [ä] to back [ɑ], depending on the region. In some regions, the quality may be variable. For the Canadian vowel, see Canadian Shift. See also English phonology
Canadian[16][17]
Few younger speakers from Texas[16]
Irish
Jamaican
Northern English
Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg[18]
Modern speakers of Received Pronunciation[19]
Some speakers from central Ohio[16]
Southern English
Welsh
Cockney[20][21] stuck [stak] 'stuck' Can be [ɐ̟] instead.
Inland Northern American[22] stock 'stock' Less front [ɑ ~ ä] in other American dialects. See Northern cities vowel shift
Local Dublin Less front [ɒ ~ ɑ] in Mainstream Dublin, open-mid rounded [ɔ] in New Dublin.
French Conservative Parisian[23] patte [pat̪] 'paw' Contrasts with [ɑ], but many speakers have only one open vowel [ä]. See French phonology
German Bernese drääje [ˈtræ̞ːjə] 'turn' See Bernese German phonology
Gujarati શાંતિ shanti [ʃant̪i] 'peace' See Gujarati phonology
Kabardian дахэ About this sound [daːxa]  'pretty'
Limburgish Hamont dialect[1] pääns [paːns²] 'belly' May be transcribed /æ(ː)/.[1] It's fully front,[1] and it contrasts short and long versions.[1] It contrasts with [äː], [ɑ] and [ɑː].[1] See Hamont dialect phonology
Hasselt dialect[24] maak [maːk²] 'making' Somewhat retracted[24][25][26] and, in the dialect of Weert, somewhat raised.[26]
Maastrichtian[25] baas [baːs] 'boss'
Weert dialect[26] naat [naːt] 'wet'
Luxembourgish[27] Kap [kʰa̠ːpʰ] 'cap' Somewhat retracted.
North Frisian braan [braːn] 'to burn'
Norwegian Stavanger[28] hatt [hat] 'hat' Corresponds to [ä] in Standard Eastern Norwegian. See Norwegian phonology
Trondheim[29] lær [laːɾ] 'leather' Corresponds to [æː] in Standard Eastern Norwegian. See Norwegian phonology
Standard Eastern[30] hat [haːt] 'hate' Some older speakers, others use a central [äː]. See Norwegian phonology
West Farsund[31] Some speakers, for others it's more back. It corresponds to [aː ~ äː] in Standard Eastern Norwegian. See Norwegian phonology
Polish[32] jajo About this sound [ˈjajɔ]  'egg' Fronted allophone of /a/ [ä] between palatal or palatalized consonants. See Polish phonology
Romanian Muntenian dialect[33] stea [stea̟] 'star' Central [ä] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Spanish Eastern Andalusian[34] las madres [læ̞(h) ˈmæ̞ːð̞ɾɛ(h)] 'the mothers' Corresponds to [ä] in other dialects, but in these dialects they're distinct. See Spanish phonology
Murcian[34]
Swedish Central Standard[35] bank [baŋk] 'bank' Also described as central [ä].[36] See Swedish phonology
Welsh mam [mam] 'mother' See Welsh phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[37] na [na] 'now'

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Verhoeven (2007), p. 221.
  2. ^ Thelwall & Sa'Adeddin (1990), p. 38.
  3. ^ a b Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999), p. ?.
  4. ^ a b Basbøll (2005:32)
  5. ^ Grønnum (1998:100)
  6. ^ Grønnum (2005:268)
  7. ^ Grønnum (2003)
  8. ^ Allan, Holmes & Lundskær-Nielsen (2000:17)
  9. ^ Ladefoged & Johnson (2010:227)
  10. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), p. 136.
  11. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), p. 133.
  12. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), pp. 95, 104 and 132-133.
  13. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), pp. 104.
  14. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), p. 131.
  15. ^ Gordon (2004), p. 347.
  16. ^ a b c d Thomas (2004:308): A few younger speakers from, e.g., Texas, who show the LOT/THOUGHT merger have TRAP shifted toward [a], but this retraction is not yet as common as in some non-Southern regions (e.g., California and Canada), though it is increasing in parts of the Midwest on the margins of the South (e.g., central Ohio).
  17. ^ Boberg (2005), pp. 133–154.
  18. ^ Bekker (2008), pp. 83–84.
  19. ^ "Case Studies – Received Pronunciation Phonology – RP Vowel Sounds". British Library. 
  20. ^ Wells (1982), p. 305.
  21. ^ Hughes & Trudgill (1979), p. 35.
  22. ^ 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 March 7, 2013. 
  23. ^ Ashby (2011), p. 100.
  24. ^ a b Peters (2006), p. 119.
  25. ^ a b Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), p. 159.
  26. ^ a b c Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998), p. 110.
  27. ^ Gilles & Trouvain (2013), p. 70.
  28. ^ Vanvik (1979), p. 17.
  29. ^ Vanvik (1979), p. 15.
  30. ^ Vanvik (1979), p. 15-16.
  31. ^ Vanvik (1979), p. 16.
  32. ^ Jassem (2003), p. 106.
  33. ^ Pop (1938), p. 29.
  34. ^ a b Zamora Vicente (1967), p. ?.
  35. ^ Thorén & Petterson (1992), p. 15.
  36. ^ Engstrand (1999), p. 140.
  37. ^ Merrill (2008), p. 109.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Allan, Robin; Holmes, Philip; Lundskær-Nielsen, Tom (2000), Danish: An Essential Grammar, London: Routledge, ISBN 0-19-824268-9 
  • Ashby, Patricia (2011), Understanding Phonetics, Understanding Language series, Routledge, ISBN 978-0340928271 
  • Basbøll, Hans (2005), The Phonology of Danish, ISBN 0-203-97876-5 
  • Bekker, Ian (2008). The vowels of South African English (PDF) (Ph.D.). North-West University, Potchefstroom. 
  • Boberg, Charles (2005), "The Canadian shift in Montreal", Language Variation and Change 17: 133–154, doi:10.1017/s0954394505050064 
  • Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (2003), The Phonetics of English and Dutch, Fifth Revised Edition (PDF), ISBN 9004103406 
  • Gilles, Peter; Trouvain, Jürgen (2013), "Luxembourgish" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 43 (1): 67–74, doi:10.1017/S0025100312000278 
  • Gordon, Matthew J. (2004), "The West and Midwest: phonology", in Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Kortmann, Bernd; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive, A handbook of varieties of English, 1: Phonology, Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 338–351, ISBN 3-11-017532-0 
  • Grønnum, Nina (1998), "Illustrations of the IPA: Danish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 28 (1 & 2): 99–105, doi:10.1017/s0025100300006290 
  • Grønnum, Nina (2003), Why are the Danes so hard to understand? 
  • Grønnum, Nina (2005), Fonetik og fonologi, Almen og Dansk (3rd ed.), Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, ISBN 87-500-3865-6 
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos; Aarts, Flor (1999), "The dialect of Maastricht" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association (University of Nijmegen, Centre for Language Studies) 29: 155–166, doi:10.1017/S0025100300006526 
  • Heijmans, Linda; Gussenhoven, Carlos (1998), "The Dutch dialect of Weert" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 28: 107–112, doi:10.1017/S0025100300006307 
  • Hughes, Arthur; Trudgill, Peter (1979), English Accents and Dialects: An Introduction to Social and Regional Varieties of British English, Baltimore: University Park Press 
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (1): 103–107, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001191 
  • Ladefoged, Peter (1999), "American English", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association (Cambridge Univ. Press): 41–44 
  • Ladefoged, Peter; Johnson, Keith (2010), A Course in Phonetics (6th ed.), Boston, Massachusetts: Wadsworth Publishing, ISBN 978-1-4282-3126-9 
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344 
  • Peters, Jörg (2006), "The dialect of Hasselt" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36 (1): 117–124, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002428 
  • Pop, Sever (1938), Micul Atlas Linguistic Român, Muzeul Limbii Române Cluj 
  • Ternes, Elmer; Vladimirova-Buhtz, Tatjana (1999), "Bulgarian", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 55–57, ISBN 0-521-63751-1 
  • Thelwall, Robin; Sa'Adeddin, M. Akram (1990), "Arabic", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 20 (2): 37–41, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004266 
  • Thomas, Erik R. (2004), "Rural Southern white accents", in Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Kortmann, Bernd; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive, A handbook of varieties of English, 1: Phonology, Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 300–324, ISBN 3-11-017532-0 
  • Thorén, Bosse; Petterson, Nils-Owe (1992), Svenska Utifrån Uttalsanvisningar, ISBN 91-520-0284-5 
  • Vanvik, Arne (1979), Norsk fonetik, Oslo: Universitetet i Oslo, ISBN 82-990584-0-6 
  • Verhoeven, Jo (2007), "The Belgian Limburg dialect of Hamont", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 37 (2): 219–225, doi:10.1017/S0025100307002940 
  • Wells, J.C. (1982), Accents of English, 2: The British Isles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 
  • Zamora Vicente, Alonso (1967), Dialectología española (2nd ed.), Biblioteca Romanica Hispanica, Editorial Gredos