Open front unrounded vowel
Open front unrounded vowel a Image IPA number 304 Encoding Entity (decimal)
Unicode (hex) U+0061 X-SAMPA
The open front unrounded vowel, or low front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. According to the official standards of the International Phonetic Association, the symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is [a].
In practice, however, it is very common to approximate this sound with [æ] (officially a near-open (near-low) front unrounded vowel), and to use [a] as an open (low) central unrounded vowel. This is the normal practice, for example, in the historical study of the English language. The loss of separate symbols for open and near-open front vowels is usually considered unproblematic, since the perceptual difference between the two is quite small, and very few, if any, languages contrast the two. See open central unrounded vowel for more information.
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.
IPA vowel chart Front Near-front Central Near-back Back Close 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 • 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 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. This subsumes central open (central low) vowels because the tongue does not have as much flexibility in positioning as it does in the mid and close (high) vowels; the difference between an open front vowel and an open back vowel is similar 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.
Most languages have some form of an unrounded open vowel. For languages that have only a single low vowel, the symbol for this vowel <a> may be used because it is the only low vowel whose symbol is part of the basic Latin alphabet. Whenever marked as such, the vowel is closer to a central [ä] than to a front [a].
Language Word IPA Meaning Notes Arabic Levantine بان [baːn] 'he/it appeared' See Arabic phonology Bengali পা/pa [pa] 'leg' See Bengali phonology Catalan Majorcan sac [ˈsac] 'sack' Corresponds to [ä] in other varieties. See Catalan phonology Chinese Cantonese 沙/saa1 [saː˥] 'sand' See Cantonese phonology Mandarin 他/tā [tʰa˥] 'he' See Mandarin phonology English Inland Northern American stock [stak] 'stock' See Northern cities vowel shift Canadian stack [stak] 'stack' Depending on the region, the quality may vary from front to central or even further back (in some Scottish and Ulster accents for example); the length may also vary (for example, it is shorter in Scottish than in Canadian); many speakers may have [æ] instead. For the Canadian vowel, see Canadian Shift and English phonology Northern English Irish Jamaican Scottish Welsh German Rat [ˈʀaːt] 'advice' In some dialects, this may actually be a back vowel. See German phonology Greek ακακία/akakía [akaˈcia] 'acacia' See Modern Greek phonology Lithuanian namas [ˈnaːmas] 'house' Malay api [api] 'fire' North Frisian braan [braːn] 'to burn' Russian там [tam] 'there' See Russian phonology Vietnamese xa [saː] 'gauze' See Vietnamese phonology Welsh mam [mam] 'mother' See Welsh phonology West Frisian laad [ɫaːt] 'drawer' Zapotec Tilquiapan na [na] 'now'
- Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344
- Thelwall, Robin; Sa'Adeddin, M. Akram (1990), "Illustrations of the IPA: Arabic", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 20 (2): 37–41, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004266
International Phonetic Alphabet IPA topics IPA Phonetics Special topics Encodings Consonants IPA pulmonic consonants chartchart image • audio Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Radical Glottal ↓ Manner Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Postalv. Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Epiglottal Glottal Nasal m ɱ n̪ n ɳ ɲ ŋ ɴ Plosive p b p̪ b̪ t̪ d̪ t d ʈ ɖ c ɟ k ɡ q ɢ ʡ ʔ Fricative ɸ β f v θ ð s z ʃ ʒ ʂ ʐ ç ʝ x ɣ χ ʁ ħ ʕ ʜ ʢ h ɦ Approximant ʋ ɹ ɻ j ɰ Trill ʙ r ɽ͡r ʀ я * Flap or tap ⱱ̟ ⱱ ɾ ɽ ɢ̆ ʡ̯ Lateral Fric. ɬ ɮ ɭ˔̊ ʎ̥˔ ʟ̝̊ Lateral Appr. l ɭ ʎ ʟ Lateral flap ɺ ɺ̠ ʎ̯ Non-pulmonic consonants Clicks ʘ ǀ ǃ ǂ ǁ Implosives ɓ ɗ ʄ ᶑ ɠ ʛ Ejectives pʼ tʼ cʼ ʈʼ kʼ qʼ fʼ θʼ sʼ ɬʼ xʼ χʼ tsʼ tɬʼ cʎ̝̥ʼ tʃʼ ʈʂʼ kxʼ kʟ̝̊ʼ Affricates p̪f ts dz tʃ dʒ tɕ dʑ ʈʂ ɖʐ tɬ dɮ cç ɟʝ Co-articulated consonants Fricatives ɕ ʑ ɧ Approximants ʍ w ɥ ɫ Stops k͡p ɡ͡b ŋ͡m These tables contain phonetic symbols, which may not display correctly in some browsers. [Help] Where symbols appear in pairs, left—right represent the voiceless—voiced consonants. Shaded areas denote pulmonic articulations judged to be impossible. * Symbol not defined in IPA. Chart image Vowels
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Mid front unrounded vowel (disambiguation) — Mid front unrounded vowel might refer to: The exact mid front unrounded vowel [e̞] (also [ɛ̝] or [E]), between [e] and [ɛ] The close mid front unrounded vowel [e] The open mid front unrounded vowel … Wikipedia