Close central rounded vowel

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Close central rounded vowel
IPA number 318
Entity (decimal) ʉ
Unicode (hex) U+0289
Kirshenbaum u"
Braille ⠴ (braille pattern dots-356) ⠥ (braille pattern dots-136)

The close central rounded vowel, or high central rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʉ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ⟨}⟩. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as "barred u".

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".

In most languages this rounded vowel is pronounced with protruded lips (endolabial). However, in a few cases the lips are compressed (exolabial).

There is also a near-close central rounded vowel in some languages.

Close central protruded vowel


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
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  • Its vowel height is close, also known as high, which means the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.
  • Its vowel backness is central, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel.
  • Its roundedness is protruded, which means that the corners of the lips are drawn together, and the inner surfaces exposed.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Armenian Some Eastern dialects[1] յուղ [jʉʁ] 'oil' Allophone of /u/ after /j/
Berber Ayt Seghrouchen[2] ? [lːæjˈɡːʉɾ] 'he goes' Allophone of /u/ after velar consonants.
English Australian[3] choose [t͡ʃʉːz] 'choose' In Australian English it's fronted [ʉ̟ː]. In Cockney and Estuary English it's often a diphthong [ʊʉ̯~əʉ̯]. In Scotland and the Scouse accent it can be more front, while in Geordie it can be more back. The exact length also varies between dialects. See Australian English phonology and English phonology
Central Eastern American[4]
Modern RP speakers[7]
New Zealand[8]
Some speakers of Geordie[12]
South African[13]
Southern American[14]
Ulster[15] Long allophone of /u/.[15] See English phonology
German Basel dialect Muus [mʉːs] 'mouse' Corresponds to [] in other Swiss German dialects.
Dialect of Markgräflerland
Chemnitz dialect[16] Buden [ˈpʉːtn̩] 'booths' See Chemnitz dialect phonology
Hausa[17] [example needed] Allophone of /u/.[17]
Ibibio Dialect of the Uruan area and Uyo[18] [fʉ́ʉk] 'cover many things/times' Allophone of /u/ between consonants.[18]
Some dialects[18] [example needed] Phonemic; contrasts with /u/.[18]
Irish Munster[19] ciúin [cʉ̠ːnʲ] 'quiet' Somewhat retracted;[19] allophone of /u/ between slender consonants.[19] See Irish phonology
Ulster[20] úllaí [ʉ̠ɫ̪i] 'apples' Somewhat retracted;[20] may be transcribed /u/.[21]
Lüsu[22] [lʉ5553] 'Lüsu'
Russian[23] кюрий [ˈkʲʉrʲɪj] 'curium' Allophone of /u/ between palatalized consonants. See Russian phonology
Tamil[24] ஆனால் [äːnäːlʉ] 'but' Epenthetic vowel inserted in colloquial speech after word-final liquids; can be unrounded [ɨ] instead.[24] See Tamil phonology

Close central compressed vowel

Close central compressed vowel

As there is no official diacritic for compression in the IPA, the centering diacritic is used with the front rounded vowel [y], which is normally compressed. Another possibility is ⟨ɏ⟩, a centralized [y] by analogy with the other close central vowels. Other possible transcriptions are ⟨ɨ͡β̞⟩ (simultaneous [ɨ] and labial compression) and ⟨ɨᵝ⟩ ([ɨ] modified with labial compression[25]).


  • Its vowel height is close, also known as high, which means the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.
  • Its vowel backness is central, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel.
  • Its roundedness is compressed, which means that the margins of the lips are tense and drawn together in such a way that the inner surfaces are not exposed.


This vowel is typically transcribed with ⟨ʉ⟩. It also occurs in some dialects of Swedish, but see also close front compressed vowel. The close back vowels of Norwegian and Swedish are also compressed. See close back compressed vowel. Medumba has a compressed central vowel [ɨᵝ] where the corners of the mouth are not drawn together.[26]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Japanese Some younger speakers[27] 空気/kūki [kÿːki] 'air' Near-back [] for other speakers.[27] See Japanese phonology
Norwegian[28] hus [hÿːs] 'house' See Norwegian phonology
Swedish ful [fÿːl] 'ugly' See Swedish phonology

See also


  1. Dum-Tragut (2009:14)
  2. Abdel-Massih (1971:20)
  3. Harrington, Cox & Evans (1997)
  4. "North American English Dialects" (PDF). p. 12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Matthews (1938:78)
  6. Przedlacka (2001:42)
  7. "Received Pronunciation Phonology".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009)
  9. Lodge (2009:168)
  10. Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006:7)
  11. Watson (2007:357)
  12. Watt & Allen (2003:269)
  13. Lass (2002:116)
  14. Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:?)
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Irish English and Ulster English" (PDF). p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Khan & Weise (2013:236)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Schuh & Yalwa (1999:90)
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Urua (2004:106)
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Ó Sé (2000)
  20. 20.0 20.1 Ní Chasaide (1999:114)
  21. Ní Chasaide (1999)
  22. Chirkova & Chen (2013:75)
  23. Jones & Ward (1969:67–68)
  24. 24.0 24.1 Keane (2004), p. 114.
  25. e.g. in Flemming (2002) Auditory representations in phonology, p. 83.
  26. [1]
  27. 27.0 27.1 Okada (1999:118)
  28. Kristoffersen (2000:15)


  • Abdel-Massih, Ernest T. (1971), A Reference Grammar of Tamazight, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Chirkova, Katia; Chen, Yiya (2013), "Lizu" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (1): 75–86, doi:10.1017/S0025100312000242<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Harrington, J.; Cox, F.; Evans, Z. (1997), "An acoustic phonetic study of broad, general, and cultivated Australian English vowels" (PDF), Australian Journal of Linguistics, 17: 155–184, doi:10.1080/07268609708599550<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Jones, Daniel; Ward, Dennis (1969), The Phonetics of Russian, Cambridge University Press<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Keane, Elinor (2004), "Tamil", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 111–116, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001549<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Khan, Sameer ud Dowla; Weise, Constanze (2013), "Upper Saxon (Chemnitz dialect)" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (2): 231–241, doi:10.1017/S0025100313000145<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Kristoffersen, Gjert (2000), The Phonology of Norwegian, Oxford: Oxford University Press<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Lass, Roger (2002), "South African English", in Mesthrie, Rajend (ed.), Language in South Africa, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521791052<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Lodge, Ken (2009), A Critical Introduction to Phonetics, ISBN 978-0-8264-8873-2<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Mannell, R.; Cox, F.; Harrington, J. (2009), An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology, Macquarie University<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Matthews, William (1938), Cockney, Past and Present: a Short History of the Dialect of London, Detroit: Gale Research Company<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Ní Chasaide, Ailbhe (1999), "Irish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 111–16, ISBN 0-521-63751-1<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  • Scobbie, James M; Gordeeva, Olga B.; Matthews, Benjamin (2006). "Acquisition of Scottish English Phonology: an overview". Edinburgh: QMU Speech Science Research Centre Working Papers. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Schuh, Russell G.; Yalwa, Lawan D. (1999), "Hausa", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 90–95, ISBN 0-521-63751-1<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Urua, Eno-Abasi E. (2004), "Ibibio", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 105–109, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001550<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Watson, Kevin (2007), "Liverpool English" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 37 (3): 351–360, doi:10.1017/s0025100307003180<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Watt, Dominic; Allen, William (2003), "Tyneside English", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (2): 267–271, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001397<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>