Open back rounded vowel

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Open back rounded vowel
IPA number 313
Entity (decimal) ɒ
Unicode (hex) U+0252
Kirshenbaum A.
Braille ⠲ (braille pattern dots-256) ⠡ (braille pattern dots-16)

The open back rounded vowel, or low back rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. Acoustically, it is a near-open or near-low back rounded vowel.[1] The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɒ⟩. It is called "turned script a", being a rotated version of "script (cursive) a", which is the variant of a that lacks the extra stroke on top of a "printed a". Turned script aɒ⟩ has its linear stroke on the left, whereas "script a" ⟨ɑ⟩ (for its unrounded counterpart) has its linear stroke on the right.

A well-rounded [ɒ] is rare, but it is found in some varieties of English. In most languages with this vowel, such as English and Persian, the rounding of [ɒ] is slight, and in English at least, it is sulcal or "grooved". However, Assamese has an "over-rounded" [ɒ̹], with rounding as strong as that for [u].

The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, as does the name of the article. However, a large number of linguists, perhaps a majority, prefer the terms "high" and "low".


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
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IPA help • IPA key • chart • Loudspeaker.svg chart with audio • view
  • Its vowel height is open, also known as low, which means the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth – that is, as low as possible in the mouth.
  • Its vowel backness is back, which means the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Note that unrounded back vowels tend to be centralized, which means that often they are in fact near-back.
  • It's rounded, which means that the lips are rounded rather than spread or relaxed.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Former Transvaal Province[2] daar [dɒːr] 'there' Higher [ɔː] for a very small number of speakers. It is unrounded [ɑː] in standard Afrikaans.[3] See Afrikaans phonology
Assamese ? [pɒ̹t] 'to bury'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic χwara [χwɒːra] 'white' May be realised as [ɑ] in some speakers. Corresponds to [ɔ] in the Urmian dialect.
Catalan Majorcan[4][5] soc [ˈsɒk] 'clog' Typically transcribed as /ɔ/. See Catalan phonology
Some Valencian speakers[6] taula [ˈt̪ɑ̟wɫɒ̝] 'table'
Danish Standard[7] og [ɒ̽ʊ̯] 'and' Fronted and somewhat raised,[7] also described as [ɔ].[8][9][10][11] See Danish phonology
Dutch Belgian maar [mɒːr] 'but' Some dialects. Corresponds to [äː] in standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology
Leiden[12] bad [bɒ̝t] 'bath' Raised;[12] may be unrounded [ɑ̝] instead.[12] It corresponds to [ɑ] in standard Dutch.
Some dialects[13] bot [bɒt] 'bone' Some non-Randstad dialects,[13] for example those of Den Bosch and Groningen. It is [ɔ] in standard Dutch.
Dutch Low Saxon Gronings op [ɒp] 'up' Pronounced [ɔ~o] in other dialects.
Some dialects taol [tɒːɫ] 'language' Higher [ɔː] in other dialects.
English Received Pronunciation[14] not [nɒt] 'not' Somewhat raised. Younger RP speakers may pronounce a closer vowel [ɔ]. See English phonology
Northern English[15][16][17] May be somewhat raised and fronted.[15]
South African[18] [nɒ̜̈t] Near-back;[18] weakly rounded.[18] Some younger speakers of the General variety may actually have a higher and fully unrounded vowel [ʌ̈].[18]
General American[19] thought About this sound [θɒt]  'thought' Present in accents without the cotcaught merger. May be as high as [ɔː].
Inland Northern American[20] See Northern cities vowel shift
Western Canadian
Indian[21] /ɒ/ and /ɔː/ differ entirely by length in Indian English.
Welsh[22] Open-mid in Cardiff; may merge with // in northern dialects.
French Quebec lézard About this sound [lezɒːʁ]  'lizard' Allophone of /ɑ/. See Quebec French phonology
German Northern Bernese grad [ˈɡ̊rɒd̥] 'just now' May be as high as [ɔ]. See Bernese German phonology
Zurich dialect[23] mane [ˈmɒːnə] 'remind' Allophone of /ɒ/, in free variation with [ɑ].[23]
Hungarian[24] magyar [ˈmɒ̜̽ɟɒ̜̽r] 'Hungarian' Somewhat fronted and raised, with only slight rounding; sometimes transcribed in IPA as ⟨ɔ⟩. See Hungarian phonology
Ibibio[25] [dɒ̝́] 'marry' Near-open; typically transcribed in IPA as ⟨ɔ⟩.[25]
Irish Ulster[26] ólann [ɒ̝ːɫ̪ən̪ˠ] '(he) drinks' Raised;[26] may be transcribed /ɔː/.[27]
Kol öle [ɒle] 'name'
Korean Jeju 서울/Seoul [sʰɒ.ul] 'Seoul' See Korean phonology
Lehali dö [ⁿdɒ̝ŋ] 'yam' Raised vowel, being the back rounded counterpart of /æ/ in a symmetrical vowel inventory.[28]
Lemerig ān̄sār [ʔɒ̝ŋsɒ̝r] 'person' Raised vowel, being the back rounded counterpart of /æ/ in a symmetrical vowel inventory.[29]
Limburgish Maastrichtian[30] plaots [plɒ̝ːts] 'place' Near-open fully back; typically transcribed in IPA as ⟨ɔː⟩.[30] Corresponds to [ɔː] in other dialects.
Norwegian Dialects along the Swedish border[31] hat [hɒ̜ːt] 'hate' Weakly rounded and fully back.[31] See Norwegian phonology
Standard Eastern[32] topp [t̻ʰɒ̽pː] 'top' Mid-centralized,[32] typically transcribed as /ɔ/. Also described as [ɔ̟] and [ɔ]. See Norwegian phonology
Occitan Auvergnat país [pɒˈji] 'country'
Limousin Some northern dialects
Persian آب [ɒːb] 'water' See Persian phonology
Romanian Istro-Romanian[33] cap [kɒp] 'head' Corresponds to [ä] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Slovak Some speakers[34] a [ɒ] 'and' Under Hungarian influence, some speakers realize the short /a/ as rounded.[34] See Slovak phonology
Swedish Central Standard[35][36] jаg [jɒ̝ːɡ] 'I' Near-open fully back weakly rounded vowel.[35] Typically transcribed in IPA as ⟨ɑː⟩. See Swedish phonology
Gothenburg[36] [jɒːɡ] More rounded than in Central Standard Swedish.[36]
Uzbek dono [dɒnɒ] 'wise'
Waris ov [ɒβ] 'sky'
Western Desert Martu Wangka waŋka [wɒŋɡɑ] 'talk'
Yoruba[37] [example needed] Most often transcribed /ɔ/.

See also