Close-mid back unrounded vowel

Close-mid back unrounded vowel
ɤ
IPA number 315
Encoding
Entity (decimal) ɤ
Unicode (hex) U+0264
X-SAMPA 7
Kirshenbaum o-
Sound

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The close-mid back unrounded vowel, or high-mid back unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. Its symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet is ɤ, called "ram's horns". It is distinct from the symbol for the voiced velar fricative, ɣ, which has a descender.

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.

Before 1989, the symbol for this sound was Baby gamma.svg, sometimes called "baby gamma", which has a flat top. Now the symbol is Ram's horns.svg, "ram's horns", with a rounded top. Unicode provides only U+0264 ɤ latin small letter rams horn (HTML: ɤ ), but in some fonts this character may appear as a "baby gamma" instead.

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 close-mid, also known as high-mid, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a close vowel (a high vowel) and a mid vowel.
  • Its vowel backness is back, which means the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.
  • Its vowel roundedness is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.

Occurrence

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Alekano gamó [ɣɑmɤʔ] 'cucumber'
Chinese Mandarin /hē About this sound [xɤ˥] 'to drink' See Mandarin phonology
Taiwanese Hokkien /ô [ɤ˧] 'oyster' Mostly southern Taiwanese speech
Estonian kõrv [kɤrv] 'ear'
Irish Uladh [ɤlˠu] 'Ulster' See Irish phonology
Korean Gyeongsang dialect 거기/geogi [ˈɡ̊ɤ̘ɡɪ] 'there' See Korean phonology
Onge önge [ˈɤŋe] 'man'
Scottish Gaelic doirbh [d̪̊ɤrʲɤv] 'difficult' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Thai [tʰɤː] 'you'
Vietnamese tơ [tɤ] 'silk' See Vietnamese phonology

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