The close front rounded vowel, or high front rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. Acoustically it is a close front-central rounded vowel. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨y⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is
y. Across many languages, it is most commonly represented orthographically as ⟨ü⟩ (in German, Turkish and Basque) or ⟨y⟩, but also as ⟨u⟩ (in French and a few other Romance languages and also in Dutch and the Kernewek Kemmyn standard of Cornish); ⟨iu⟩/⟨yu⟩ (in the romanization of various Asian languages); ⟨ű⟩ (in Hungarian for the long duration version; the short version is the ⟨ü⟩ found in other European alphabets); or ⟨уь⟩ (in Cyrillic-based writing systems such as that for Chechen)
Short /y/ and long /yː/ occurred in pre-Modern Greek. In the Attic and Ionic dialects of Ancient Greek, front [y yː] developed by fronting from back /u uː/ around the 6th to 7th century BC. A little later, the diphthong /yi/ when not before another vowel monophthongized and merged with long /yː/. In Koine Greek, the diphthong /oi/ changed to [yː], likely through the intermediate stages [øi] and [øː]. Through vowel shortening in Koine Greek, long /yː/ merged with short /y/. Later, /y/ unrounded to [i], yielding the pronunciation of Modern Greek. For more information, see the articles on Ancient Greek and Koine Greek phonology.
The close front rounded vowel is the vocalic equivalent of the labialized palatal approximant [ɥ]. The two are almost identical featurally. [y] alternates with [ɥ] in certain languages, such as French, and in the diphthongs of some languages, ⟨y̑⟩ with the non-syllabic diacritic and ⟨ɥ⟩ are used in different transcription systems to represent the same sound.
In most languages, this rounded vowel is pronounced with compressed lips ('exolabial'). However, in a few cases the lips are protruded ('endolabial').
The close front compressed vowel is typically transcribed in IPA simply as ⟨y⟩, and that 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 ⟨i͡β̞⟩ (simultaneous [i] and labial compression) or ⟨iᵝ⟩ ([i] modified with labial compression). The spread-lip diacritic ⟨ ͍ ⟩ may also be used with a rounded vowel letter ⟨y͍⟩ as an ad hoc symbol, though technically 'spread' means unrounded.
Note: Because front rounded vowels are assumed to have compression, and few descriptions cover the distinction, some of the following may actually have protrusion.
|Albanian||Standard||ylber||[ylbɛɾ]||'rainbow'||See Albanian phonology|
|Afrikaans||Standard||u||[y]||'you' (formal)||See Afrikaans phonology|
|Bavarian||Amstetten dialect||[example needed]||Near-front.|
|Catalan||Northern||but||[byt̪]||'aim'||Found in Occitan and French loanwords. See Catalan phonology|
|Chinese||Mandarin||女 / nǚ||[ny̠˩˧]||'woman'||Near-front. See Standard Chinese phonology and Cantonese phonology|
|Cantonese||書 / syū||[sy̠˥]||'book'|
|Danish||Standard||synlig||[ˈsy̠ːnli]||'visible'||Near-front. See Danish phonology|
|Dutch||Standard||fuut||[fy̠t]||'grebe'||Near-front, also described as near-close [ʏ]. The Standard Northern realization has also been described as near-close central [ʉ̞]. See Dutch phonology|
|Antwerpian accent||hut||[ɦyt]||'hut'||Regional realization of /ʏ/; lower [ʏ̞ ~ ɵ] in Belgian Standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology|
|English||General South African||few||[fjyː]||'few'||Some younger speakers, especially females. Others pronounce a more central vowel [ʉː]. See South African English phonology|
|Multicultural London||May be back [uː] instead.|
|Scouse||May be central [ʉː] instead.|
|Ulster||Long allophone of /u/; occurs only after /j/. See English phonology|
|Estonian||üks||[y̠ks]||'one'||Near-front. See Estonian phonology|
|Finnish||yksi||[ˈy̠ksi]||'one'||Near-front. See Finnish phonology|
|Faroese||mytisk||[ˈmyːtɪsk]||'mythological'||Appears only in loanwords. See Faroese phonology|
|French||chute||[ʃyt̪]||'fall'||The Parisian realization has been also described as near-close [ʏ]. See French phonology|
|German||Standard||über||[ˈʔy̠ːbɐ]||'over'||Near-front. See Standard German phonology|
|Many speakers||schützen||[ˈʃyt͡sn̩]||'protect'||The usual realization of /ʏ/ in Switzerland, Austria, and parts of western Germany (Swabia, Palatinate, Ruhrgebiet). See Standard German phonology|
|Greek||Tyrnavos||σάλιο / salio||[ˈsäly]||'saliva'||Corresponds to /jo/ in Standard Modern Greek.|
|Hungarian||tű||[t̪y̠ː]||'pin'||Near-front. See Hungarian phonology|
|Korean||휘파람 / hwiparam||[hypʰɐɾɐm]||'whistle '||Koreans tend to pronounce as diphthong 'wi'. See Korean phonology|
|Limburgish||bruudsje||[ˈbʀ̝y̠t͡ʃə]||'breadroll'||Near-front. The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.|
|Low German||für / fuur||[fyːɐ̯]||'fire'|
|Luxembourgish||Hüll||[hyl]||'envelope'||Occurs only in loanwords. See Luxembourgish phonology|
|Mongolian||түймэр / tüimer||[tʰyːmɘɾɘ̆]||'prairie fire'|
|Norwegian||Urban East||hus||[hy̠ːs]||'house'||Near-front; typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʉː⟩. Also described as central [ÿː]. See Norwegian phonology|
|Plautdietsch||Canadian Old Colony||buut||[by̠ːt]||'builds'||Near-front; corresponds to back [u] in other varieties.|
|Portuguese||Azorean||figura||[fiˈɣy̠ɾə]||'figure'||Near-front. Stressed vowel, fronting of original /u/ in some dialects. See Portuguese phonology|
|Brazilian||déjà vu||[d̪e̞ʒɐ ˈvy]||'déjà vu'||Found in French and German loanwords. Speakers may instead use [u] or [i]. See Portuguese phonology|
|Ripuarian||Kerkrade dialect||nuus||[nyːs]||[translation needed]|
|Saterland Frisian||wüül||[vy̠ːl]||'wanted' (v.)||Near-front.|
|Swedish||Central Standard||ut||[yːt̪]||'out'||Often realized as a sequence [yβ̞] or [yβ]. The height has been variously described as close [yː] and near-close [ʏː]. It may differ from /ʏ/ only by the type of rounding and length. Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʉː⟩; it is central [ʉː] in other dialects. See Swedish phonology|
|Turkish||güneş||[ɟy̠ˈn̪e̞ʃ]||'sun'||Near-front. See Turkish phonology|
|West Frisian||út||[yt]||'out'||See West Frisian phonology|
|Close 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 languages, such as Scandinavian ones, have protruded front vowels. One of these, 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 ⟨yʷ⟩ or ⟨iʷ⟩ (a close front vowel modified by endolabialization), but this could be misread as a diphthong.
Acoustically, this sound is "between" the more typical compressed close front vowel [y] and the unrounded close front vowel [i].
|Norwegian||Urban East||syd||[sy̫ːd]||'south'||Also described as near-close near-front [ʏ̫ː]. It can be diphthongized to [yə̯]. See Norwegian phonology|
|Swedish||Central Standard||yla||[²y̫ːlä]||'howl'||Often realized as a sequence [y̫ɥ̫] or [y̫ɥ̫˔] (hear the word: [²y̫ɥ̫lä]); it may also be fricated [y̫ᶻː] or, in some regions, fricated and centralized ([ʉᶻː]). See Swedish phonology|