Talk:Close-mid front unrounded vowel

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I am trying to pronounce this [e] sound accurately, but with my Canadian English dialect, I always seem to end up gliding it. I am trying to hold my tongue and jaw as still as possible when pronouncing it, but a glide always seems to make it into my pronunciation. Is there a technique I need to know to keep my mouth very still so as to pronounce [e] accurately?  Denelson83  00:04, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

For me as a Kansan, I find it relatively easy, but this might help (mind you, I never have a machine saying what I did, so I could still have some offglidage): your tongue should just barely touch the back of your front-bottom teeth, when you open your mouth keep opening it until you quit blowing out air, then close it. I hope it helps.Cameron Nedland 14:56, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Close-mid vs mid[edit]

It makes no sense. How can English have both close-mid and mid in the same words? Someone needs to fix it and considering I'd never heard about the mid front unrounded vowel before reading this page, I don't feel like the prime candidate for it. AEuSoes1 19:22, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Different dialects have different pronunciations. kwami 22:49, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
That makes sense but it says RP has both in bed (and the page for the open-mid E also has bed as an example for GA). Is there any source for the mid vowel stuff in this and other articles? I think that might be necessaryAEuSoes1 00:04, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
No, I think you're misreading it. It says that Australian English has close-mid [e] in "bed" [bed], RP has it as the first component to the diphthong "laid" [leɪd], and RP uses a mid [e̞] in "bed" [be̞d]. You can draw up a table of realisations/correspondences thus (this uses the relevant info from this page and Open-mid front unrounded vowel):
Relisations of some front mid–like vowels in selected English dialects
"led" "laid"*
Closer than close-mid NZE
Close-mid AusE RP, CanE
Open-mid GAmE
* When a diphthong, the first element is denoted. NZE=New Zealand English, AusE=Australian English, RP=Received Pronunciation, CanE=Canadian English, GAmE=General American
I hope this clarifies things a bit, but it doesn't say anything the articles don't already.
Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 01:30, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Ahh, you are right. I misread it. But I'd still like to see a source for some of that, especially the statement "the phoneme variously transcribed as /e/ or /ɛ/ is [e̞]." AEuSoes1 01:42, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Which part, the phonetic realisation of the phoneme variously transcribed as /e/ or /ɛ/, or the fact that there are various transcriptions of the phoneme? If the latter, you merely need to contrast Received_Pronunciation#Vowels with this page by J. C. Wells. If the former, just about anything which discusses RP phonetics should be good enough... —Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 11:59, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
I meant the latter part. According to Roca and Johnson in “A course in Phonology” (p 179) they set up “late” and “let” as minimal pairs so that the a in “late” is:
  • [e] in Scottish English
  • perhaps a little lower in Yorkshire accents: [e̞]
  • diphthongized usually in GA, and generally in RP, where it is also a little lower ([e̞])
  • lowered further (in addition to diphthongizing) in Cockney and in the southern hemisphere

the vowel in “let” is:

  • usually [ɛ] in Scottish English and Yorkshire English
  • slightly higher in GA and RP: [ɛ ]
  • even higher in older style RP, but not as high as [e]: [e̞]
  • diphthongized to various degrees in the American south.

So according to this source, a lowered /e/ and a raised /ɛ/ are not the same thing except in older style RP. We can also see in this Korean phonology vowel chart

The short vowel phonemes of Korean The long vowel phonemes of Korean

But this same source explains that [e] and [ɛ] are cardinal vowels and that they don’t necessarily correspond to the real vowels of any natural language (p 126). My point is that it seems that having an /e/ or /ɛ/ that happens to be in the middle between the two is less significant than the article makes it out to be. I notice that for the example of NZE the diacritic is simply put in there without making a subsection on near-near close front unrounded vowels. I don’t think we need to take out mention of the mid-central vowel, but… well I’ll change the article to something closer to what I think it should be. If it turns out to be crap it can always be reverted and if it turns out great then I can extend it to the other vowel articles that mention the mid-vowel AEuSoes1 21:37, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

The two references to RP still strike me as confusing. What you've quoted above suggests that the [e̞] transcription only makes sense for old-fashioned RP, and that there isn't really much difference between the RP and GA vowels. I'd suggest removing RP bed from this page.--JHJ 17:35, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
All right, apparantly Kwami didn't like my edits. Considering he's the one who put the mid vowel stuff in there in the first place I suppose he's got a reason. I wonder what it is...
AEuSoes1 23:50, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I'm not sure what all your edits were. I kept the new ref, but you may have made other improvements in detail that I didn't see in the massive reorganization. (There was just a mass of red in the comparison view.) What I didn't like was conflating the close-mid and mid vowels, which are clearly distinct. This distinction is made in all six of the close-mid vowel articles, not just here. The mids could just as easily go in the open-mid article; they're here only because of tradition, not due to phonetics. kwami 01:38, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
Are they really that clearly distinct, given that the IPA doesn't provide different symbols and no language distinguishes them (according to the article)? I don't have a particularly strong opinion, but Aeusoes1 did seem to me to have a point. (I've re-removed the reference to RP bed, based on the discussion of let and late quoted from the source above, which suggests that there isn't much difference between RP and GA on this vowel.)--JHJ 08:46, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
I dunno. They are distinct enough that speakers of a language with a mid vowel realize that it's a different sound from a close-mid vowel. I can hear the difference, and neither occur as monophthongs in my dialect. Rather like the difference between [a] and [æ]: I doubt many languages distinguish them either, but you certainly know it if someone uses the wrong one. If we were talking about more marginal sounds, it wouldn't matter much, but lots of languages are described as having 'mid vowels' which may actually be close-mid or open-mid, and I think it's nice to clarify the situation a bit, so that people don't identify the 'mid' vowel in a target language with the 'mid' vowel in a language they already know. kwami 10:16, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
I generally agree that we should have both close-mid and mid separately covered. I think your second point is very close... I think basically it's that mid vowels are discussed often enough that they're encyclopaedic for that reason. Someone looking for stuff on mid-vowels should receive an adequate treatement on them, how they differ from and are the same as close-mid and open-mid vowels etc. As to the fact that they're distinct enough that you can hear it's a different vowel ... the Kiwi vowel denoted here as "[be̝d]" is noticeably distinct from my own AuE [bed], it's close enough in fact to my /ɪ/ "thet ef I was umutatung a Kiwi eccint, thin" I'd normally use my /ɪ/... That doesn't warrant it getting its own section, though. —Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 12:42, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
I realized after the edit that it would appear as a mass of red. The main difference that I recall I made other than merging the two sections was that I said that the difference between mid and close-mid "may be" distinct to a speakers.
But I find it strange for Kwami to say "This distinction is made in all six of the close-mid vowel articles, not just here" when he himself is the one that included the distinction in all six articles around September 9th. I think that for Kwami, we need a bit more from an argument for keeping them separate in the articles than that he's separated them (also I planned to extend the merging to the other articles once I got the consensus kinks out). I think that if someone is looking for mid vowels, the fact that a search for "mid front unrounded" brings one to this page is good enough. I wanted to merge them for the very reason that JHJ brings up. If they're not important enough for the IPA to make a separate symbol then I would venture to say that Kwami ought to provide for some source that rationalizes his subsectioning. AEuSoes1 02:55, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

(moving discussion back from my talk page -kwami)

[...] there is no objective criterion as to what constitutes a separate vowel cross-linguistically. This is merely an issue of how we wish to present the subject. For me and at least one other editor, it makes sense to separate mid, close-mid, and open-mid vowels (all arbitrary categories) rather than conflating two of them. This is simply a case of aligning our description with the terminology used in the literature: since the IPA classification categorizes open, near-open, open-mid, mid, close-mid, near-close, and close vowels, we feel that our articles should cover the subjects of open, near-open, open-mid, mid, close-mid, near-close, and close vowels. kwami 21:50, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I've been having internet troubles. Anyway, you're right that there is no objective cross-linguistic criterion of what constitutes a vowel but we do have the IPA, which does not distinguish between close-mid, mid, and open-mid. There is a mid-central category for schwa but any IPA talk of "mid" is either close-mid, open-mid or both. For me and at least one other editor, it doesn't make sense to separate them the way they are separated. I really don't know why you separated them in the first place, especially because doing so makes it seem as though linguists generally agree to the "mid" or mid-central vowel distinction and that is not something that linguists agree on. If you've got some source that motivated you to do so, I think you ought to provide it as a reference.
AEuSoes1 00:37, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

As for me objecting that other articles make the distinction, my only point was that they should be consistant, not that they somehow proved my POV. Either mid and close-mid should be conflated in all articles or they should be distinct in all articles.

I disagree that IPA talk of "mid" is 'either close-mid, open-mid or both'. Sometimes it's just mid. The basic point is that the IPA has a label "mid". People will expect "mid vowels" to be mid vowels, and separating them out is a way of clarifying when they are and when they aren't. I don't follow what you mean by "linguists" not agreeing on a "mid" vowel distinction - any linguist will tell you that vowel height is a continuum phonetically, though structural phonologists may debate how many heights there are in a featural system. It's true that the IPA has set up cardinal vowel positions, but this is just to define the grid. Over a third of IPA vowel symbols don't occupy cardinal positions.

Per SOWL, Danish for example is a language which contrasts close-mid and mid vowels. However, it doesn't have open-mid vowels, so they're transcribed /e ε/. That means that the /ε/ in Danish is similar, and perhaps closer, than the /e/ in Croatian, which is mid or on the open side of mid.

Amstetten Bavarian is a language which distinguishes close-mid, mid, and open-mid vowels, or something very close to them. However, the symbols for the near-open and open vowels are available for the open-mids (/æ ɶ ɑ/ are a third of the way between /a/ and /i u/, which makes them cardinal open-mids!), which means that the open-mid symbols can now be used for the mid vowels. So when we do get a language which contrasts the three mid vowel heights, that's hidden by using symbols for other heights to represent them. (Actually, /ε œ ɔ/ may be closer to close-mid, with /e ø o/ even higher, but you get my point.)

We can certainly make it clearer that the IPA does not enshrine mid vowels with dedicated symbols. And if the phrase "mid vowel" weren't so commonly used, I'd have no trouble lumping them together as you'd like. However, symbols are commonly used in whatever way is convenient for setting up phonemic contrasts, without paying much attention to how they actually sound. For example, I just came across a representation of voiceless [j] as /ç/. Presumably that's because it's hard to add an under-ring to <j>, but we'd certainly want to make it clear in this case that /ç/ is not a fricative. Given that <e ø o> are commonly used for mid or open-mid vowels, and that they may be called mid vowels even when they're close-mid, I think we'll prevent a lot of confusion by separating out the examples of true mid vowels. Again, if people didn't refer to 'mid vowels', there'd be no need to do this. kwami 01:59, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

All right, further examination of the IPA chart does indeed classify schwa as "mid" (the article on mid vowels classified it as "mid-central" sucks to me for believing a Wikipedia article) but what I mean about linguists not considering "mid" a vowel I mean that in the front and in the back they do not considered even "true" mid vowels as separate vowels but as realizations of more cardinal vowels. So your Danish example would be considered to contrast between open-mid and close-mid but the open-mid vowel would be raised. The source that I put in the article has two different vowel realizations in English that generally fall in the "mid" range between open mid and close mid but they are considered phonetically different and realizations of both open-mid or close-mid. My changes that were reverted still kept in the explanation of "true" mid vowels and the diacritic that indicates them. I don't think readers will be too confused that way. AEuSoes1 03:18, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

AEuSoes1 03:18, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Hungarian example seems wrong[edit]

The hungarian example of "hét" seems wrong. Its pronounciation is closer to /ɪ/; it certainly is a very different vowel from the other examples given, and it's definitely not a 'front vowel'.

The Hungarian article in the IPA Handbook (by Tamás Szende of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences) has é as a mid front vowel, very different from what you're describing. kwami 05:54, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I dunno, I'm just a native speaker of Hungarian and Dutch (the first example word). The only thing I know is that the Dutch example of 'één' has a starting sound that is very different from the Hungarian é in 'hét', so maybe the Dutch example is misqualified. In pronouncing the two words, there is definitely a difference in backness, with the Dutch example being more to the front.
But again, I'm no expert. Are there any online sources for the vowel phonology charts for different languages? -- 18:30, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Hungarian vowels
Dutch diphthongs
Wikipedia's got some stuff... Compare the first image (Hungarian) with the second (Dutch). Seems to suggest that they have roughly the same frontness, but the Dutch is substantially closer; the Hungarian vowel actually appears to be [ɛː] (with Hungarian /ɛ/ being [æ]). —Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 01:39, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
The Hungarian vowel is plotted right where Dutch [ɛː] is. However, we have to be careful comparing charts: we don't know different the scales are, or whether there were gender differences in the subjects who were measured. But going by the chart, it certainly seems that Magyar is mid to open-mid. kwami 02:03, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Are these vowel distributions measured off of the sonic spectra from a single person? --Sander Pronk 18:17, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
The Hungarian is a man in his 50s with an academic background. The Dutch article doesn't say. They should be averaged values, of course, but not everyone goes to that much trouble. kwami 19:34, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

California "careful speech" bullshit[edit]

Does anyone have any sources for this?Cameron Nedland 14:56, 8 July 2007 (UTC)


Since we decided a year ago to split the close central and near-close central vowels, thus deviating from the official IPA vowel chart layout, I propose that we do the same for the mid vowels. Right now, the mid vowels are in the close-mid vowel articles as subsections and I say we ought to split them so that we'll have, for example, Close-mid front unrounded vowel, Mid front unrounded vowel, and Open-mid front unrounded vowel. This proposal goes for any of the close-mid vowel articles and, as such, I've marked them. We may also want to apply this to our article on Mid central vowel, splitting it into Mid central unrounded vowel and Mid central rounded vowel. Thoughts? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 02:36, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Pro: these articles' introductions talk solely about the vowel after which the articles are named. Within the body of the articles the mid vowels are then suddenly mentioned. And if those central vowels merit their own articles, why not the mid vowels, being quite common cross-linguistically? I would then want to suggest expansion of all the (eight) articles after the splits, as the information about the vowels is sketchy at best. --JorisvS (talk) 20:29, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Pro: Mid-vowels are important to distinguish from close-mid and open-mid vowels because their presences are associated with different phonemic signatures - the mid-vowels with 3-height systems and the close-mid and open-mid vowels with 4-height systems. Counter-examples are noticeable and I assume relatively few. So the vowels themselves are independently notable. ᛭ LokiClock (talk) 04:52, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Looks like nothing is standing in the way of this, so I've created Mid front unrounded vowel and moved the content to demonstrate how to do it for anybody with time and/or ambition. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 19:09, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
This is a good division, i think [a] (open front unrounded vowel) and [ä] (open central unrounded vowel) should have independent pages as well, same as central [ɪ̈] and [ʊ̈] do. Jɑυмe (xarrades) 23:35, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
It looks like they already do. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 01:11, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

/e/ in Polish[edit]

I'm no expert on phonology, I'm simply a native speaker of Polish who has never heard anything close to the sound on the recording in his life. The example given in the table is "dzień" /dʑeɲ/ - I've checked it in my Polish-English dictionary, which happens to have pronunciation written for both English and Polish words, and it is /d͡ʒɛɲ/ in it. Polish Wiktionary gives /ʥ̑ɛ̇̃ɲ/, English one /ʥɛɲ/ - all of them agree with me there is /ɛ/ instead of /e/. So I think that either this example is completely wrong or it is at least misspelt. Lampak (talk) 10:48, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Yes, the vowel in dzień is indeed /ɛ/. However, as Polish phonology states, when /ɛ/ is between palatal or palatalized consonants, it has a close-mid allophone. This is the difference between phonemes (indicated in slashes) and allophones (indicated in square brackets). I hope this and my recent edit have cleared this up for you. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 15:36, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Polish Wiktionary transcribes it [ʥ̑ɛ̇̃ɲ], not /ʥ̑ɛ̇̃ɲ/. Peter238 (v̥ɪˑzɪʔ mɑˑɪ̯ tˢʰoˑk̚ pʰɛˑɪ̯d̥ʒ̊) 15:04, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Citation Wrong for Georgian Example[edit]

Shosted and Chikovani 2006 does not provide a transcription of Georgian მეფე or any other Georgian word with this vowel. The IPA transcription is accurate, though, so it would be nice if the actual citation could be provided! Zupancic (talk) 11:59, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Hmm, you're right. I was the one who the citation (though not the example) and I'm not sure what I was thinking. Seems like should remove the citation and find a better one. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 13:26, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Apparently INCORRECT Sound Assigned For This Symbol[edit]

I believe the sound given this symbol (e:) is INCORRECT. It is identical to the sound for the letter immediately above (that sounds like "ee" in "hee hee.") The evidence that the sound assigned is erroneous is the example German word "Klee" followed by the note 'sounds like e in "hey"' ('Klee' sounds like the English word "Clay", which is not an open-E sound at all.) -- ecsd @ Berkeley:CA:US 18:34 UTC 9 July 2013

No, you just can't hear the difference. For people trained to hear it (as well as native speakers of French or German) the difference is very obvious. Peter238 (v̥ɪˑzɪʔ mɑˑɪ̯ tˢʰoˑk̚ pʰɛˑɪ̯d̥ʒ̊) 14:27, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

/e/ in Russian[edit]

The example (шея) seems wrong. It is clearly /ɛ/ not e. Look at the example for /ɛ/ : Это. These two words are pronounced EXACTLY the same. -- 20:39, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Don't confuse phonemes, which are transcribed between slashes (like this: /e/) with allophones, which are transcribed between brackets (like this: [e]). Russian has one /e/ phoneme, but 5 phonetic realizations of it: [e], [], [ë̞], [ɛ] and [ɛ̈]. Peter238 (v̥ɪˑzɪʔ mɑˑɪ̯ tˢʰoˑk̚ pʰɛˑɪ̯d̥ʒ̊) 15:03, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
By the way, you can also count [ɪ] and [ɪ̈] as unstressed allophones of /e/ (and /i/, as they do not contrast when unstressed). These and the aforementioned five realizations make for total of seven phonetic realizations. Peter238 (talk) 16:57, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

Australian English e in bed[edit]

I don't and no native-born Australian I know or have ever met or heard pronounces the e in bed as /e/. It rhymes with red or dead, which is /ɛ/. What this article is trying to say is that Australians pronounce bed to rhyme with bade. Which again, nobody I've ever heard does. Show an example of a native-born Australian (you know, one without a foreign accent) pronounce it this way. And even if you can, they'd be in a tiny, unheard-of minority. If you like, I can record myself pronouncing it, and it sounds nothing like the recorded example we have for the vowel sound - which to me sounds like a diphthong anyway. Peter Greenwell (talk) 01:35, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

I don't speak Australian English, but from my experience as an American (I was, coincidentally, just watching an Australian show), the vowel of bed in Australian is very different from the same vowel in my speech. Australian has a higher vowel, close-mid according to the Wikipedia article rather than open-mid.
Also, bade in AuE actually has the diphthong [æe] or something of that nature, not [e(i)] like North American English. Bed and bade in AuE don't rhyme; they just have different pronunciations from the literal reading of the IPA given on Wikipedia. — Eru·tuon 05:42, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

The sound file really sounds like [i] to me[edit]

It seems that German and English speakers pronounce [e] very differently. Relatively in English [e] is closer to [æ], in German [e] is closer to [i].

leban (german)

Golopotw (talk) 05:38, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

@Golopotw: You mean 'pronounce /e/' - see phoneme and allophone. English /e/ is not [e] in any major standard accent (save for Australia) but [ɛ] or an in-between sound ([]). German /eː/ is about cardinal [e] (see cardinal vowels), but Luxembourgish (formerly a dialect of German) may feature /eː/ that's as close as /iː/, which is a very strongly non-standard pronunciation as far as Standard German is concerned. Mr KEBAB (talk) 11:32, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
@Mr KEBAB: That is mind blowing! Thanks. It seems to be a very bad practice that dictionaries writes /bed/, /kəmˈpel/ instead of [bɛd] , [kəmˈpɛl]. And that it is never explained that /e/ is pronounced as [ɛ]. Golopotw (talk) 16:10, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
@Mr KEBAB: In page received Pronunciation, there is an image that has [e] instead of [ɛ]. Is it wrong?
Monophthongs of RP. From Roach (2004, p. 242)
Golopotw (talk) 16:18, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
@Golopotw: The English vowel is not necessarily [ɛ], it may also be an in-between vowel that can be transcribed [ɛ̝] or [] - both transcriptions are equally correct. Because both are equally correct, if you drop the diacritic (which you should do in broad transcription and especially in phonemic transcription), you can transcribe the in-between vowel with either [ɛ] or [e]. This in-between vowel is shown on our vowel chart for RP.
That's one thing. The other thing is that RP/General American/General Australian doesn't contrast (again, see phoneme) two heights of mid front vowels (unlike French, Italian, etc.), so that the symbol ⟨e⟩ is preferred simply because it is 'simpler' and can be accessed just by pressing 'e' on an ordinary keyboard. See e.g. [1] and [2]. Now, before you ask: yes, I don't necessarily agree with this simplification, just as I don't fully agree with using ⟨r⟩ for English ⟨ɹ⟩.
There are some accents of English that do contrast /e/ (as in face) with /ɛ/ (as in dress), e.g. Scottish English, or some conservative accents of Ireland and USA.
See also this vowel quadrilateral and its description. Mr KEBAB (talk) 17:03, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

Luxemburgisch ”drécken” is NOT EVER pronounced with a close-mid front unrounded vowel.[edit]

It is somewhere between this and [ɛ]. — (talk) 18:39, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

The source says otherwise, and that's what we follow (as we should). Also, please read WP:NOTAFORUM - I had to remove a large part of your comment, which was off-topic. Mr KEBAB (talk) 18:55, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

No sound file[edit]

@Kbb2: Can you explain the situation? So the sound file only seems to show up when ipa symbol=e is there, so should we not have a sound file there or is there a more proper way to display it? I have been looking around and seeing missing sound files from several IPA articles, and I haven't found why exactly this is other than the lack of this line seemingly causing it. Compare how Schwa does have ipa symbol=ə which causes the sound file to display (for me). — Knyȝt (talk) 21:31, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

Sorry, this is all my fault. |ipa symbol= is now prerequisite in Infobox IPA. Will add them where they are not present. Nardog (talk) 23:18, 2 February 2019 (UTC)