Open-mid central unrounded vowel

Open-mid central unrounded vowel
IPA Number326
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ɜ
Unicode (hex)U+025C
Braille⠲ (braille pattern dots-256)⠜ (braille pattern dots-345)
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The open-mid central unrounded vowel, or low-mid central unrounded 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 ɜ (formerly ). The IPA symbol is not the digit ⟨3⟩ or the Cyrillic small letter Ze (з). The symbol is instead a reversed Latinized variant of the lowercase epsilon, ɛ. The value was specified only in 1993; until then, it had been transcribed ɛ̈.

The ɜ letter may be used with a raising diacritic ɜ̝, to denote the mid central unrounded vowel. It may also be used with a lowering diacritic ɜ̞, to denote the near-open central unrounded vowel.

Conversely, ə, the symbol for the mid central vowel may be used with a lowering diacritic ə̞ to denote the open-mid central unrounded vowel, although that is more accurately written with an additional unrounding diacritic ə̞͑ to explicitly denote the lack of rounding (the canonical value of IPA ə is undefined for rounding).

  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".

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