Near-open central vowel

Near-open central vowel
IPA Number324
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ɐ
Unicode (hex)U+0250
Braille⠲ (braille pattern dots-256)⠁ (braille pattern dots-1)

The near-open central vowel, or near-low central vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɐ, a rotated lowercase double-story a.

In English this vowel is most typically transcribed with the symbol ʌ, i.e. as if it were open-mid back. That pronunciation is still found in some dialects, but many speakers use a central vowel like [ɐ] or [ɜ]. To avoid the trap-strut merger, Standard Southern British English is moving away from the [ɐ] quality towards [ʌ] found in RP spoken in the first half of the 20th century (e.g. in Daniel Jones's speech).[2]

Much like ə, ɐ is a versatile symbol that is not defined for roundedness[3] and that can be used for vowels that are near-open central,[4] near-open near-front,[5] near-open near-back,[6] open-mid central,[7] open central[8] or an (often unstressed) vowel with variable height, backness and/or roundedness that is produced in that general area.[9] For open central unrounded vowels transcribed with ɐ, see open central unrounded vowel.

When the usual transcription of the near-open near-front and the near-open near-back variants is different from ɐ, they are listed in near-open front unrounded vowel and open back unrounded vowel or open back rounded vowel, respectively.

The near-open central unrounded vowel is sometimes the only open vowel in a language[10] and then is typically transcribed with a.

  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ Cruttenden (2014), p. 122.
  3. ^ International Phonetic Association (1999), p. 166.
  4. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999), p. 186.
  5. ^ Anonby (2011), p. 378.
  6. ^ Gilles & Trouvain (2013), pp. 68, 70.
  7. ^ Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999), p. 56.
  8. ^ Cox & Fletcher (2017), pp. 64–65.
  9. ^ Krech et al. (2009), p. 86.
  10. ^ Arvaniti (2007), p. 25.

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