The open central unrounded vowel, or low central unrounded vowel, is a type of
vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of speech sounds, the other being the consonant. Vowels vary in quality, in loudness and also in Vowel ...
sound, used in many spoken
language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed of glyphs to inscribe the original soun ...
s. While the
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is a set of graphic signs (Writing system#General properties, script) b ...
officially has no dedicated letter for this sound between front and back , it is normally written . If precision is required, it can be specified by using
diacritics A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter or basic glyph. The term derives from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in anc ...
, typically centralized . However, it has been argued that the purported distinction between a front and central open vowel is based on outdated phonetic theories, and that cardinal is the only open vowel, while , like , is a near-open vowel.Geoff_Lindsey
,_The_vowel_space,_March_27,_2013.html" ;"title="Geoff Lindsey"> Geoff_Lindsey">Geoff_Lindsey
,_The_vowel_space,_March_27,_2013/ref> It_is_usual_to_use_plain__for_an_open_central_vowel_and,_if_needed,__for_an_open_front_vowel._Sinology.html" ;"title="Geoff Lindsey
, The vowel space, March 27, 2013">Geoff Lindsey">Geoff Lindsey
, The vowel space, March 27, 2013/ref> It is usual to use plain for an open central vowel and, if needed, for an open front vowel. Sinology">Sinologists may use the letter (small capital A). The IPA has voted against officially adopting this symbol in 1976, 1989, and 2012. The Hamont-Achel dialect of Limburgish language, Limburgish has been reported to contrast long open Open front unrounded vowel, front, central and Open back unrounded vowel, back unrounded vowels. This is extremely unusual.


This often subsumes open (low) front vowels, because the tongue does not have as much flexibility in positioning as it does for the close (high) vowels; the difference between an open front vowel and an open back vowel is equal to the difference between a close front and a close central vowel, or a close central and a close back vowel.


Most languages have some form of an unrounded open vowel. Because the IPA uses for both front and central unrounded open vowels, it is not always clear whether a particular language uses the former or the latter. However, there may not actually be a difference. (See Vowel#Acoustics.)



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External links

* * * {{IPA navigation Open vowels Central vowels Unrounded vowels