The close-mid front rounded vowel, or high-mid front rounded vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. Acoustically, it is a close-mid front-central rounded vowel.[2] The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the sound is ⟨ø⟩, a lowercase letter o with a diagonal stroke through it, borrowed from Danish, Norwegian, and Faroese, which sometimes use the letter to represent the sound. The symbol is commonly referred to as "o, slash" in English.

For the close-mid near-front rounded vowel that is usually transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʏ⟩ or ⟨y⟩, see near-close near-front rounded vowel. If the usual symbol is ⟨ø⟩, the vowel is listed here.

Close-mid front compressed vowel

The close-mid front compressed vowel is typically transcribed in IPA simply as ⟨ø⟩, which is the convention used in this article. There is no dedicated diacritic for compression in the IPA. However, the compression of the lips can be shown with the letter ⟨β̞⟩ as ⟨e͡β̞⟩ (simultaneous [e] and labial compression) or ⟨eᵝ⟩ ([e] modified with labial compression). The spread-lip diacritic ⟨  ͍ ⟩ may also be used with a rounded vowel letter ⟨ø͍⟩ as an ad hoc symbol, but 'spread' technically means unrounded.

For the close-mid near-front compressed vowel that is usually transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʏ⟩, see near-close near-front compressed vowel. If the usual symbol is ⟨ø⟩, the vowel is listed here.


IPA: Vowels
Front Near-front Central Near-back Back

Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded

  • Its vowel height is close-mid, also known as high-mid, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a close vowel (a high vowel) and a mid vowel.
  • 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.
  • Its roundedness is compressed, which means that the margins of the lips are tense and drawn together in such a way that the inner surfaces are not exposed.


Note: Because front rounded vowels are assumed to have compression, and few descriptions cover the distinction, some of the following may actually have protrusion.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[3] [example needed] Near-front.[3]
Northern[4] [example needed] Allophone of /e/ before /l/.[4]
Breton[5] eur [øːʁ] 'hour'
Danish Standard[6][7] købe [ˈkʰø̠ːb̥ə] 'buy' Near-front.[6][7] See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard Belgian[8][9] neus [nø̠ːs] 'nose' Near-front;[10] also described as mid central [ɵ̞ː].[11] In the Standard Northern variety, it is diphthongized to [ø̠y̑].[9][12] See Dutch phonology
Many accents[9] Near-front; present in many Eastern and Southern varieties.[13] See Dutch phonology
Standard Northern[14] deur [dø̠ːr] 'door' Near-front; allophone of /øː/ before /r/,[14] also described as a centering diphthong [ø̠ə̯][12] (hear the word: About this sound [dø̠ə̯r]). Realized as a closing diphthong [ø̠y̑] in other positions.[9][12] See Dutch phonology
English Broad South African[15] bird [bø̠ːd] 'bird' Near-front; may be lower [ø̞̈ː]. In the Cultivated variety, it is realized as [əː].[15] See English phonology and South African English phonology
General South African[15]
Tyneside[16] Near-front.[16] See English phonology
Port Talbot[17] [bøːd]
Estonian[18] köök [kø̠ːk] 'kitchen' Near-front.[18] See Estonian phonology
Faroese Standard[19] høgur [ˈhøːʋʊɹ] 'high' May be a diphthong [øœ ~ øə] instead.[20] See Faroese phonology
Suðuroy dialect[21] bygdin [ˈpɪktøn] 'bridges' Realization of unstressed /i/ and /u/.[21] See Faroese phonology
French[22][23] peu [pø] 'few' See French phonology
German Standard[24][25] schön About this sound [ʃø̠ːn]  'beautiful' Near-front;[24][25] also described as mid [ø̞̈ː].[26] See Standard German phonology
Some dialects[27][28] Löwen [ˈl̪øːfɱ̍] 'lions' Used by some dialect speakers in cognates of Standard German words.[27][28] The example word is from the Chemnitz dialect.
Southern accents[29] Hölle [ˈhølə] 'hell' Common realization of /œ/ in Southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria.[29] See Standard German phonology
Hungarian[30] nő [nø̠ː] 'woman' Near-front.[30] See Hungarian phonology
Iaai[31] møøk [mø̠ːk] 'to close eyes' Near-front.[31]
Limburgish Most dialects[32][33][34] beuk [bø̠ːk] 'books' Near-front.[32][33][34] The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Lombard Most dialects[35] nööf / noeuv [nøːf] 'new'
Low German[36] sön / zeun [zøːn] 'son' May be realized as a narrow closing diphthong in certain dialects.[36]
Luxembourgish[37] blöd [bløːt] 'stupid' Occurs only in loanwords.[37] See Luxembourgish phonology
Portuguese Micaelense[38] boi [bø] 'ox' Allophone of /o/. See Portuguese phonology
Some European speakers[39] dou [d̪øw] 'I give'
Ripuarian Kerkrade dialect[40] meusj [²møːʃ] [translation needed]
Saterland Frisian[41] Göäte [ˈɡø̠ːtə] 'gutter' Near-front; typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨œː⟩. Phonetically, it is nearly identical to /ʏ/ ([ʏ̞]). The vowel typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨øː⟩ is actually near-close [ʏː].[41]
West Frisian Standard[42] put [pøt] 'well' See West Frisian phonology
Hindeloopers[43] beuch [bøːx] [translation needed] Diphthongized to [øy̑] in Standard West Frisian.[43] See West Frisian phonology

Close-mid front protruded vowel

Close-mid front protruded vowel

Catford notes that most languages with rounded front and back vowels use distinct types of labialization, protruded back vowels and compressed front vowels. However, a few, such as the Scandinavian languages, have protruded front vowels. One of them, Swedish, even contrasts the two types of rounding in front vowels (see near-close near-front rounded vowel, with Swedish examples of both types of rounding).

As there are no diacritics in the IPA to distinguish protruded and compressed rounding, an old diacritic for labialization, ⟨  ̫⟩, will be used here as an ad hoc symbol for protruded front vowels. Another possible transcription is ⟨øʷ⟩ or ⟨⟩ (a close-mid front vowel modified by endolabialization), but that could be misread as a diphthong.

For the close-mid near-front protruded vowel that is usually transcribed with the symbol ⟨ʏ⟩, see near-close near-front protruded vowel. If the usual symbol is ⟨ø⟩, the vowel is listed here.

Acoustically, the sound is in between the more typical compressed close-mid front vowel [ø] and the unrounded close-mid front vowel [e].



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Norwegian Urban East[44][45] søt [sø̫ːt] 'sweet' Near-front;[44] also described as close-mid central [ɵː],[46] mid near-front [ø̽ː][47] and ranging from mid near-front [ø̽ː] to open-mid near-front [œ̠ː].[48] See Norwegian phonology
Swedish Central Standard[49] öl About this sound [ø̫ːl̪]  'beer' Near-front;[50] may be diphthongized to [øə̯]. See Swedish phonology

See also


  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 Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  4. ^ a b Rowley (1990), p. 422.
  5. ^ Ternes (1992), pp. 431, 433.
  6. ^ a b Grønnum (1998), p. 100.
  7. ^ a b Ladefoged & Johnson (2010), p. 227.
  8. ^ Gussenhoven (1999), p. 74.
  9. ^ a b c d Collins & Mees (2003), pp. 133–134.
  10. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), p. 133.
  11. ^ Verhoeven (2005), p. 245.
  12. ^ a b c Gussenhoven (1999), p. 76.
  13. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), pp. 133–135.
  14. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003), p. 134.
  15. ^ a b c Lass (2002), p. 116.
  16. ^ a b Watt & Allen (2003), pp. 268–269.
  17. ^ Connolly (1990), p. 125.
  18. ^ a b Asu & Teras (2009), p. 368.
  19. ^ Árnason (2011), pp. 68, 74–75.
  20. ^ Árnason (2011), pp. 68, 75.
  21. ^ a b Þráinsson (2004), p. 350.
  22. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993), p. 73.
  23. ^ Collins & Mees (2013), p. 225.
  24. ^ a b Kohler (1999), p. 87.
  25. ^ a b Hall (2003), pp. 95, 107.
  26. ^ Collins & Mees (2013), p. 235.
  27. ^ a b Green (1990), p. 245.
  28. ^ a b Khan & Weise (2013), p. 238.
  29. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 64.
  30. ^ a b Szende (1994), p. 92.
  31. ^ a b Maddieson & Anderson (1994), p. 164.
  32. ^ a b Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), p. 159.
  33. ^ a b Peters (2006), p. 119.
  34. ^ a b Verhoeven (2007), p. 221.
  35. ^ Loporcaro, Michele (2015). Vowel Length from Latin to Romance. Oxford University Press. pp. 93–96. ISBN 978-0-19-965655-4. 
  36. ^ a b Prehn (2012), p. 157.
  37. ^ a b Gilles & Trouvain (2013), p. 72.
  38. ^ Variação Linguística no Português Europeu: O Caso do Português dos Açores (in Portuguese)
  39. ^ Lista das marcas dialetais e outros fenómenos de variação (fonética e fonológica) identificados nas amostras do Arquivo Dialetal do CLUP (in Portuguese)
  40. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 16.
  41. ^ a b Peters (2017), p. ?.
  42. ^ Tiersma (1999), p. 11.
  43. ^ a b van der Veen (2001), p. 102.
  44. ^ a b Vanvik (1979), p. 13.
  45. ^ While Vanvik (1979) does not describe the exact type of rounding of this vowel, some other sources (e.g. Haugen (1974:40) and Popperwell (2010:35)) state explicitly that it is protruded.
  46. ^ Kristoffersen (2000), pp. 16–17, 33–35, 37, 343.
  47. ^ Popperwell (2010), pp. 16, 35.
  48. ^ Strandskogen (1979), p. 23.
  49. ^ Engstrand (1999), pp. 140-141.
  50. ^ Engstrand (1999), p. 140.