|Near-close near-front unrounded vowel|
Legend: unrounded • rounded
The near-close front unrounded vowel, or near-high front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɪ⟩, i.e. a small capital version of the Latin letter i. The International Phonetic Association advises serifs on the symbol's ends. Some sans-serif fonts do meet this typographic specification. Prior to 1989, there was an alternate symbol for this sound: ⟨ɩ⟩ (the Latin iota), the use of which is no longer sanctioned by the IPA. Despite that, some modern writings still use it.
Handbook of the International Phonetic Association defines [ɪ] as a mid-centralized (lowered and centralized) close front unrounded vowel (transcribed [i̽] or [ï̞]), and the current official IPA name of the vowel transcribed with the symbol ⟨ɪ⟩ is a near-close near-front unrounded vowel. However, some languages have the close-mid near-front unrounded vowel, a vowel that is somewhat lower than the canonical value of [ɪ], though it still fits the definition of a mid-centralized [i]. It occurs in some dialects of English (such as Californian, General American and modern Received Pronunciation) as well as some other languages (such as Icelandic), and it can be transcribed with the symbol ⟨ɪ̞⟩ (a lowered ⟨ɪ⟩) in narrow transcription. Certain sources may even use ⟨ɪ⟩ for the close-mid front unrounded vowel, but that is rare. For the close-mid (near-)front unrounded vowel that is not usually transcribed with the symbol ⟨ɪ⟩ (or ⟨i⟩), see close-mid front unrounded vowel.
In some other languages (such as Danish, Luxembourgish and Sotho) there is a fully front near-close unrounded vowel (a sound between cardinal [i] and [e]), which can be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɪ̟⟩, ⟨i̞⟩ or ⟨e̝⟩. There may be phonological reasons not to transcribe the fully front variant with the symbol ⟨ɪ⟩, which may incorrectly imply a relation to the close [i].
With any font you consider using, it is worth checking that the symbol for the centralized close front vowel (ɪ, U+026A) appears correctly with serifs top and bottom; that the symbol for the dental click (ǀ, U+01C0) is distinct from the lower-case L (l)