Near-close vowel

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A near-close vowel or a near-high vowel is any in a class of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a near-close vowel is that the tongue is positioned similarly to a close vowel, but slightly less constricted. Near-close vowels are sometimes described as lax variants of the fully close vowels.

Partial list

The near-close vowels that have dedicated symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet are:

There also are close vowels that don't have dedicated symbols in the IPA:

(IPA letters for rounded vowels are ambiguous as to whether the rounding is protrusion or compression. However, transcription of the world's languages tends to pattern as above.)

Other near-close vowels can be indicated with diacritics of relative articulation applied to letters for neighboring vowels, such as ⟨⟩, ⟨⟩ or ⟨ɪ̟⟩ for a near-close front unrounded vowel, or ⟨⟩, ⟨⟩ or ⟨ʊ̠⟩ for a near-close back rounded vowel.