The open-mid back rounded vowel, or low-mid back rounded vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɔ⟩. The IPA symbol is a turned letter c and both the symbol and the sound are commonly called "open-o". The name open-o represents the sound, in that it is like the sound represented by ⟨o⟩, the close-mid back rounded vowel, except it is more open. It also represents the symbol, which can be remembered as an o which has been "opened" by removing part of the closed circular shape.


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

Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Armenian Eastern[2] հողմ [hɔʁm] 'storm'
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[3] [example needed] May be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɒ⟩.[3]
Bengali[4] অর্থ [ɔrt̪ʰo] 'meaning' See Bengali phonology
Bulgarian[5] род [rɔt̪] 'kin' See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan[6] soc [ˈsɔk] 'clog' See Catalan phonology
Cipu Tirisino dialect[7] kødø [kɔ̟̀ɗɔ̟́] "cut down!" Near-back.[8]
Danish Standard[9] kort [ˈkʰɔːd̥] 'short' Also described as near-open [ɒ̝ː].[10] It is most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɒː⟩. See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard Belgian[11] och About this sound [ʔɔˤx]  'alas' 'Very tense, with strong lip-rounding',[12] strongly pharyngealized[13] (although less so in standard Belgian[14]) and somewhat fronted.[11][15] See Dutch phonology
Standard Northern[15]
English Australian[16] not About this sound [nɔt]  'not' See Australian English phonology
New Zealand[18] May be somewhat fronted.[19] Often transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɒ⟩. See New Zealand English phonology
Received Pronunciation[20] /ɒ/ has shifted up in emerging RP.
General American[21] thought [θɔːt] 'thought' Mainly in speakers without the cot–caught merger. It may be from lower [ɒ]. See English phonology
Older Received Pronunciation[23] Higher [ɔ̝ː] for most other speakers.
Scottish[24] Many Scottish dialects exhibit the cot-caught merger, the outcome of which is a vowel of [ɔ] quality.
Sheffield[25] goat [ɡɔːt] 'goat'
Newfoundland[26] but [bɔt] 'but' Less commonly unrounded [ʌ].[26] See English phonology
Faroese[27] toldi [ˈtʰɔltɪ] 'endured' See Faroese phonology
French[28][29] sort [sɔːʁ] 'fate' The Parisian realization has been variously described as back [ɔ][28] and near-back [ɔ̟].[29] See French phonology
Georgian[30] სწრი [st͡sʼɔɾi] 'correct'
German Standard[31][32] voll About this sound [fɔl]  'full' Described variously as open-mid back [ɔ],[31] open-mid near-back [ɔ̟][32] and near-open back [ɔ̞].[33] See Standard German phonology
Some speakers[34] Mutter [ˈmutɔʕ̞] 'mother' Common allophone of /ə/ before the pharyngeal approximant realization of /r/. Occurs in East Central Germany, Southwestern Germany, parts of Switzerland and in Tyrol.[34] See Standard German phonology
Western Swiss accents[35] hoch [hɔːχ] 'high' Close-mid [] in other accents.[36] See Standard German phonology
Italian[37] parola About this sound [päˈrɔ̟ːlä]  'word' Near-back.[37] See Italian phonology
Kaingang[38] [ˈpɔ] 'stone'
Kera[39] [dɔ̟̀l] 'hard earth' Near-back.[39]
Kokborok kwrwi [kɔrɔi] 'not'
Limburgish[40][41] mòn [mɔːn] 'moon' Lower [ɔ̞ː] in the Maastrichtian dialect.[42] The example word is from the Hasselt dialect.
Lower Sorbian[43] osba [ˈpʂɔz̪bä] 'a request'
Luxembourgish[44] Sonn [zɔn] 'son' Possible realization of /o/.[44] See Luxembourgish phonology
Norwegian Urban East[45][46] topp [tʰɔpː] 'top' Described variously as open-mid back [ɔ],[45] open-mid near-back [ɔ̟][46] and near-open back [ɔ̞].[47] See Norwegian phonology
Some dialects[45] så [sɔː] 'so' Present e.g. in Telemark; realized as mid [ɔ̝ː] in other dialects.[45] See Norwegian phonology
Polish[48] kot About this sound [kɔt̪]  'cat' See Polish phonology
Portuguese Most dialects[49][50] fofoca [fɔˈfɔ̞kɐ] 'gossip' Stressed vowel might be lower. The presence and use of other unstressed ⟨o⟩ allophones, such as [ o ʊ u], varies according to dialect.
Some speakers[51] bronca [ˈbɾɔ̃kə] 'scolding' Stressed vowel, allophone of nasal vowel /õ̞/. See Portuguese phonology
Russian Some speakers[52] сухой [s̪ʊˈxɔj] 'dry' More commonly realized as mid [].[52] See Russian phonology
Slovak Standard[53] ohúriť [ˈɔɦʊːrɪc̟] 'to stun' Backness varies between back and near-back; most commonly realized as mid [] instead.[53] See Slovak phonology
Temne[54] pɔn [pɔ̟̀n] 'swamp' Near-back.[54]
Ukrainian[55] любов [lʲuˈbɔw] 'love' See Ukrainian phonology
Upper Sorbian[43][56] pos [pɔs̪] 'dog' See Upper Sorbian phonology
West Frisian[57] rôt [rɔːt] 'rat' See West Frisian phonology
Yoruba[58] k [ɔkɔ] "husband" Nasalized; may be near-open [ɔ̞̃] instead.[58]

See also


  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:13)
  3. ^ a b Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  4. ^ Khan (2010:222)
  5. ^ Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999:56)
  6. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992:54)
  7. ^ McGill (2014), pp. 308–309.
  8. ^ McGill (2014), p. 308.
  9. ^ Grønnum (1998:100)
  10. ^ Basbøll (2005:47)
  11. ^ a b Verhoeven (2005:245)
  12. ^ Collins & Mees (2003:132)
  13. ^ Collins & Mees (2003:132, 222 and 224)
  14. ^ Collins & Mees (2003:222)
  15. ^ a b Gussenhoven (1992:47)
  16. ^ Harrington, Cox & Evans (1997)
  17. ^ Wells (1982:305)
  18. ^ Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009a)
  19. ^ Bauer et al. (2007:98)
  20. ^ Wikström (2013:45), "It seems to be the case that younger RP or near-RP speakers typically use a closer quality, possibly approaching Cardinal 6 considering that the quality appears to be roughly intermediate between that used by older speakers for the LOT vowel and that used for the THOUGHT vowel, while older speakers use a more open quality, between Cardinal Vowels 13 and 6."
  21. ^ Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009b)
  22. ^ Lodge (2009:168)
  23. ^ Wells (1982:293)
  24. ^ Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006:7)
  25. ^ Stoddart, Upton and Widowson in Urban Voices, Arnold, London, 1999, page 74
  26. ^ a b Wells (1982:498)
  27. ^ Árnason (2011:68, 75)
  28. ^ a b Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  29. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2013:225)
  30. ^ Shosted & Chikovani (2006:261–262)
  31. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015:34)
  32. ^ a b Lodge (2009:87)
  33. ^ Collins & Mees (2013:234)
  34. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015:51)
  35. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 65.
  36. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), pp. 34, 65.
  37. ^ a b Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:119)
  38. ^ Jolkesky (2009:676–677 and 682)
  39. ^ a b Pearce (2011:251)
  40. ^ Verhoeven (2007:221)
  41. ^ Peters (2006:118–119)
  42. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:158–159)
  43. ^ a b Stone (2002:600)
  44. ^ a b Gilles & Trouvain (2013:70)
  45. ^ a b c d Popperwell (2010:26)
  46. ^ a b Strandskogen (1979:15, 19)
  47. ^ Vanvik (1979:13)
  48. ^ Jassem (2003:105)
  49. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91)
  50. ^ Variação inter- e intra-dialetal no português brasileiro: um problema para a teoria fonológica – Seung-Hwa LEE & Marco A. de Oliveira Archived 2014-12-15 at the Wayback Machine.
  51. ^ Lista das marcas dialetais e ouros fenómenos de variação (fonética e fonológica) identificados nas amostras do Arquivo Dialetal do CLUP (in Portuguese)
  52. ^ a b Jones & Ward (1969:56)
  53. ^ a b Pavlík (2004:94–95)
  54. ^ a b Kanu & Tucker (2010:249)
  55. ^ Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995), p. 4.
  56. ^ Šewc-Schuster (1984:20)
  57. ^ Tiersma (1999), p. 10.
  58. ^ a b Bamgboṣe (1969:166)