Near-close near-back rounded vowel

Near-close near-back rounded vowel
IPA Number321
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ʊ
Unicode (hex)U+028A
Braille⠷ (braille pattern dots-12356)

The near-close near-back rounded vowel, or near-high near-back rounded vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The IPA symbol that represents this sound is ʊ. It is informally called "horseshoe u". Prior to 1989, there was an alternative IPA symbol for this sound, ɷ, called "closed omega"; use of this symbol is no longer sanctioned by the IPA.[2] In Americanist phonetic notation, the symbol (a small capital U) is used. Sometimes, especially in broad transcription, this vowel is transcribed with a simpler symbol u, which technically represents the close back rounded vowel.

Handbook of the International Phonetic Association defines [ʊ] as a mid-centralized (lowered and centralized) close back rounded vowel (transcribed [u̽] or [ü̞]), and the current official IPA name of the vowel transcribed with the symbol ʊ is near-close near-back rounded vowel.[3] However, some languages have the close-mid near-back rounded vowel, a vowel that is somewhat lower than the canonical value of [ʊ], though it still fits the definition of a mid-centralized [u]. It occurs in some dialects of English (such as General American and Geordie)[4][5] as well as some other languages (such as Maastrichtian Limburgish).[6] It can be transcribed with the symbol ʊ̞ (a lowered ʊ) in narrow transcription. For the close-mid (near-)back rounded vowel that is not usually transcribed with the symbol ʊ (or u), see close-mid back rounded vowel.

In some other languages (such as Bengali and Luxembourgish)[7][8] as well as some dialects of English (such as Scottish)[9][10] there is a fully back near-close rounded vowel (a sound between cardinal [u] and [o]), which can be transcribed in IPA with ʊ̠, or .

  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ International Phonetic Association (1999), p. 169.
  3. ^ International Phonetic Association (1999), pp. 13, 170, 180.
  4. ^ Wells (1982), p. 486.
  5. ^ Watt & Allen (2003), p. 268.
  6. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), pp. 158–159.
  7. ^ Khan (2010), p. 222.
  8. ^ Gilles & Trouvain (2013), p. 70.
  9. ^ Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006), p. 7.
  10. ^ Lindsey (2012b).

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