Open central unrounded vowel

Open central unrounded vowel
ä
IPA number 304 415
Encoding
Entity (decimal) ä
Unicode (hex) U+00E4
X-SAMPA a_"

view · talk · edit 

The open central unrounded vowel, or low central unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. The International Phonetic Alphabet officially has no dedicated letter for this sound between front [a] and back [ɑ]. It can be specified by using diacritics, such as centralized [ä] or retracted [a̠].

In practice, however, this level of precision is rare, as diacritics tend to be avoided when possible, the open central vowel is more common than the open front vowel, and until recently the letter ⟨a⟩ was used officially for the central vowel, and much of the existing body of work on phonetics reflects that. It is thus more common to use plain [a] for a central vowel, and to approximate an open front vowel, if needed, with [æ], officially near-open (near-low). This is the normal practice, for example, in the historical study of the English language.[citation needed]

Alternatively, many Sinologists use the unofficial symbol [ᴀ] (small capital A). See Obsolete and nonstandard symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, and the name of the article follows this. However, a large number of linguists, perhaps a majority, prefer the terms "high" and "low", and these are the only terms found in introductory textbooks on phonetics such as those by Peter Ladefoged.

Contents

Features

IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Close
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
iy
ɨʉ
ɯu
ɪʏ
ʊ
eø
ɘɵ
ɤo
ɛœ
ɜɞ
ʌɔ
æ
aɶ
ä
ɑɒ
Near-close
Close-mid
Mid
Open-mid
Near-open
Open
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
This table contains phonetic symbols. They may not display correctly in some browsers (Help).

IPA help • IPA key • chart • Loudspeaker.svg chart with audio • view
  • Its vowel height is open, also known as low, which means the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth – that is, as low as possible in the mouth.
  • Its vowel backness is central, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel. 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.
  • Its vowel roundedness is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.

Occurrence

Most languages have some form of an unrounded open vowel. Because the IPA uses ⟨a⟩ for both front and central unrounded open vowels, it is not always clear whether a particular language uses the former or the latter.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Catalan[1] sac [ˈsäk] 'sack' See Catalan phonology
Czech[2] amerika [ämɛrɪkä] 'America' See Czech phonology
Dutch[3] zaal [zäːl] 'hall' See Dutch phonology
English Australian[4] car [kʰäː] 'car' See Australian English phonology
Southern American[5] time [tʰäːm] 'time' See English phonology
Southern Michigan[6] cot [kʰäʔt̚] 'cot'
French[7] patte [pät] 'paw' See French phonology.
Hebrew[8] פח [päχ] 'garbage can' Hebrew vowels are not shown in the script, see Niqqud and Modern Hebrew phonology
Hungarian[9] láb [laːb] 'leg' See Hungarian phonology
Igbo[10] ákụ [ákú̙] 'kernal'
Italian[11] bara [ˈbäːrä] 'coffin' See Italian phonology
Japanese[12] /ka About this sound [kä] 'mosquito' See Japanese phonology
Polish[13] kat About this sound [kät] 'executioner' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[14] vá [vä] 'go' See Portuguese phonology
Romanian cal [käl] 'horse' See Romanian phonology
Scottish Gaelic slat [slät] 'yard' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Serbo-Croatian[15] патка/patka [pätkä] 'female duck' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Spanish[16] rata [ˈrätä] 'rat' See Spanish phonology
Swedish[17] bank [ˈbaŋk] 'bank' See Swedish phonology
Turkish[18] at [ät̪] 'horse' See Turkish phonology

Notes

References

  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (1-2): 53–56, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004618 
  • Cox, Felicity; Palethorpe, Sallyanne (2007), "Australian English", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 37 (3): 341–350, doi:10.1017/S0025100307003192 
  • Dankovičová, Jana (1999), "Czech", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 70–74 
  • Engstrand, Olle (1999), "Swedish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the usage of the International Phonetic Alphabet., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 140–142, ISBN 0-521-63751-1 
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L (1993), "Illustrations of the IPA:French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (2): 73–76 
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (2): 45–47, doi:10.1017/S002510030000459X 
  • Hillenbrand, James M. (2003), "American English: Southern Michigan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (1): 121–126, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001221 
  • Ikekeonwu, Clara (1999), "Igbo", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, pp. 108–110, ISBN 0-521-63751-1 
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (1): 103–107, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001191 
  • Labov, William; Ash, Sharon; Boberg, Charles (2006), The Atlas of North American English, Berlin: Mouton-de Gruyter, ISBN 3-11-016746-8 
  • Laufer, Asher (1999), "Hebrew", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, pp. 96–99 
  • Landau, Ernestina; Lončarića, Mijo; Horga, Damir; Škarić, Ivo (1999), "Croatian", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 66–69, ISBN 0-521-65236-7 
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373 
  • Okada, Hideo (1991), "Japanese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 21 (2): 94–96, doi:10.1017/S002510030000445X 
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 117–121, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001628 
  • Szende, Tamás (1994), "Illustrations of the IPA:Hungarian", Journal of the International Phonetic Alphabet 24 (2): 91–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005090 
  • Zimmer, Karl; Orgun, Orhan (1999), "Turkish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 154–158, ISBN 0-521-65236-7 

Further reading

  • Barry, William; Trouvain, Jürgen (2008), "Do we need a symbol for a central open vowel?", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (3): 349–357 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.