Open central unrounded vowel
|Open central unrounded vowel|
|IPA Number||304 415|
|Unicode (hex)||U+0061 U+0308|
The open central unrounded vowel, or low central unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. While the International Phonetic Alphabet officially has no dedicated letter for this sound between front [a] and back [ɑ], it is normally written ⟨a⟩. If precision is required, it can be specified by using diacritics, such as centralized ⟨ä⟩ or retracted ⟨a̠⟩, but this is not common.
Acoustically, however, [a] is an extra-low central vowel. It is more common to use plain [a] for an open central vowel and, if needed, [æ] (officially near-open front vowel) for an open front vowel. Alternatively, Sinologists may use the letter ⟨ᴀ⟩ (small capital A). The IPA voted against officially adopting this symbol in 2011–2012.
The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, and the name of the article follows this. However, some linguists prefer the terms "high" and "low".
|IPA vowel chart|
|Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded|
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- 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 central, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel. This often subsumes open (low) front vowels, because the tongue does not have as much flexibility in positioning as it does for the close (high) vowels; the difference between an open front vowel and an open back vowel is equal to the difference between a close front and a close central vowel, or a close central and a close back vowel.
- It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.
Most languages have some form of an unrounded open vowel. Because the IPA uses ⟨a⟩ for both front and central unrounded open vowels, it is not always clear whether a particular language uses the former or the latter.
|Assyrian Neo-Aramaic||kalu||[kʰälu]||'bride'||May be realized as [a] and [æ] in the Urmia, Nochiya and Jilu dialects. In the Tyari dialect, [ɑ] is usually used.|
|Bavarian||Amstetten dialect||[example needed]|
|Bengali||পা/pa||[pä]||'leg'||See Bengali phonology|
|Catalan||sac||[s̠äk]||'sack'||See Catalan phonology|
|Chinese||Cantonese||沙/saa1||[sä̝ː˥]||'sand'||Somewhat raised. See Cantonese phonology|
|Mandarin||他/tā||[tʰä˥]||'he'||See Mandarin phonology|
|Czech||prach||[präx]||'dust'||See Czech phonology|
|Danish||Standard||barn||[ˈb̥äːˀn]||'child'||Most often transcribed in IPA as ⟨ɑ⟩ - the way it is realized in the conservative variety. See Danish phonology|
|Dutch||Amsterdam||bad||[bät]||'bath'||Also present in many other non-Randstad accents. It corresponds to [ɑ] in Standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology|
|Standard||zaal||[zäːɫ]||'hall'||Ranges from front to central; in non-standard accents it may be back. See Dutch phonology|
|English||Australian||car||[kʰäː]||'car'||See Australian English phonology|
|Cultivated South African||Some speakers. For other speakers, it is less front [ɑ̟ː] or, in Estuary English, even more back [ɑː].|
|time||[tʰäːm]||'time'||Corresponds to the diphthong /aɪ/ in most dialects. General South African speakers may also monophthongize /aʊ/. See English phonology|
|General American||cot||[kʰäʔt̚]||'cot'||It may be more back [ɑ̟ ~ ɑ], especially for speakers with the cot–caught merger. See English phonology|
|Southern Michigan||See English phonology|
|Northern England||trap||[t̠ɹ̝̊äp]||'trap'||Notably prevalent in Yorkshire, mainly around the Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales. More front [æ ~ a] for some other speakers. See English phonology|
|Some speakers from Reading||More front [ɛ ~ æ ~ a] for other speakers. See English phonology|
|Vancouver||[t̠ɹ̝̊äp̚]||See Canadian Shift and English phonology|
|Younger speakers from Ontario|
|Finnish||kana||[ˈkänä]||'hen'||Typically transcribed in IPA as ⟨ɑ⟩; also described as near-open back [ɑ̝]. See Finnish phonology|
|French||patte||[pät̪]||'paw'||See French phonology|
|German||Standard||Katze||[ˈkʰät͡sə]||'cat'||See German phonology|
|Hebrew||פח||<phonos file="Pach.ogg">[päχ] </phonos>||'garbage can'||Hebrew vowels are not shown in the script, see Niqqud and Modern Hebrew phonology|
|Hindustani||माता / ماتا||[mata]||'mother'||See Hindustani phonology|
|Hungarian||láb||[läːb]||'leg'||See Hungarian phonology|
|Icelandic||fara||[ˈfäːrä]||'go'||See Icelandic phonology|
|Italian||casa||[ˈkäːzä]||'home'||See Italian phonology|
|Japanese||蚊 ka||<phonos file="ja-ka.ogg">[kä] </phonos>||'mosquito'||See Japanese phonology|
|Limburgish||Hamont dialect||zaak||[zäːk²]||'business'||Contrasts with front [aː] and back [ɑː]. See Hamont dialect phonology|
|Norwegian||Standard Eastern||hat||[häːt̪]||'hate'||May be transcribed in IPA as ⟨ɑː⟩, the way it is pronounced in some dialects. Some older speakers may use a front [aː] instead. See Norwegian phonology|
|Polish||kat||<phonos file="Pl-kat.ogg">[kät̪]</phonos>||'executioner'||See Polish phonology|
|Portuguese||vá||[vä]||'go'||See Portuguese phonology|
|Romanian||cal||[käl]||'horse'||See Romanian phonology|
|Russian||там||<phonos file="Ru-там.ogg">[t̪äm]</phonos>||'there'||See Russian phonology|
|Scottish Gaelic||slat||[slät]||'yard'||See Scottish Gaelic phonology|
|Sema||ala||[à̠là̠]||'path'||Also described as near-open [ɐ].|
|Serbo-Croatian||патка / patka||[pâ̠t̪ka̠]||'female duck'||See Serbo-Croatian phonology|
|Slovak||a||[ä]||'and'||See Slovak phonology|
|Spanish||rata||[ˈrät̪ä]||'rat'||See Spanish phonology|
|Swedish||Central Standard||bank||[bäŋk]||'bank'||Also described as front [a]. See Swedish phonology|
|Turkish||at||[ät̪]||'horse'||Also described as back [ɑ]. See Turkish phonology|
|Vietnamese||Hanoi||xa||[s̪äː]||'far'||See Vietnamese phonology|
- Geoff Lindsey (2013) The vowel space, Speech Talk
- Keating (2012), p. 245.
- Verhoeven (2007), p. 221.
- Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
- Carbonell & Llisterri (1992), p. 54.
- Dankovičová (1999), p. 72.
- Pavlík (2004), p. 94.
- Šimáčková, Podlipský & Chládková (2012), p. 228.
- Grønnum (1998), p. 100.
- Grønnum (2005), p. 268.
- Grønnum (2003).
- Basbøll (2005), p. 46.
- Allan, Holmes & Lundskær-Nielsen (2000), p. 17.
- Ladefoged & Johnson (2010), p. 227.
- Collins & Mees (2003), p. 131.
- Peters (2010), p. 241.
- Gussenhoven (1992), p. 47.
- Verhoeven (2005), p. 245.
- Collins & Mees (2003), p. 104.