Open vowel

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An open vowel is a vowel sound in which the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth. Open vowels are sometimes also called low vowels in reference to the low position of the tongue.

In the context of the phonology of any particular language, a low vowel can be any vowel that is more open than a mid vowel. That is, open-mid vowels, near-open vowels, and open vowels can all be considered low vowels.

Partial list[edit]

The open vowels with dedicated symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet are:

There also are mid vowels that do not have dedicated symbols in the IPA:

There is not an unambiguous way of transcribing an open central rounded vowel. The diaeresis indicates centralization, so ä could mean near front and ɒ̈ could mean near back. In practice, however, the diaeresis is assumed to mean actually central, while and ɒ̟ would be used for the latter articulations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This vowel is not known to occur as a phoneme distinct from /œ/ in any language.