Close-mid back rounded vowel: Wikis


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See also: IPA, Consonants
  Front Near- front Central Near- back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
i · y
ɨ · ʉ
ɯ · u
ɪ · ʏ
ɪ̈ · ʊ̈
e · ø
ɘ · ɵ
ɤ · o
ɛ · œ
ɜ · ɞ
ʌ · ɔ
a · ɶ
ɑ · ɒ
Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents
a rounded vowel. Vowel length is indicated by appending  
IPA – number 307
IPA – text o
IPA – image {{{imagesize}}}
Entity o
Kirshenbaum o
About this sound Sound sample

The close-mid back 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 o, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is o.



  • Its vowel height is close-mid, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between close vowel and a mid vowel.
  • 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.
  • Its roundedness is protruded, which means that the corners of the lips and drawn together, and the inner surfaces exposed.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Catalan[1] sóc [sok] 'I am' See Catalan phonology
Chinese language Wu /hau [ho] 'flower' See shanghainese
Dutch kool [koːl] 'cabbage' See Dutch phonology
English Australian caught [kʰoːt] 'caught' See Australian English phonology
New Zealand See English phonology
GA row [ɻoː] 'row' Usually diphthongized to [oʊ]
Estonian tool [toːlʲ] 'chair'
Faroese tosa [ˈtoːsa] 'speak'
French[2] réseau [ʀeˈzo] 'net' See French phonology
German Kohl [kʰoːl] 'cabbage' See German phonology
Hungarian kór [koːr] 'disease' See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic bók [bou̯k] 'book'
Italian[3] foro [ˈfoːro] 'hole' See Italian phonology
Korean 보수/bosu [ˈpoːsu] 'salary' See Korean phonology
Norwegian lov [loːʋ] 'law' See Norwegian phonology
Silesian Ślůnsk [ɕlonsk] 'Silesia'
Portuguese[4] dois [d̪ojs] 'two' See Portuguese phonology
Swedish åka sv-åka.ogg [ˈoːka] 'travel, go' See Swedish phonology
Vietnamese tô [tō] 'soup, bowl' See Vietnamese phonology

Mid back rounded vowel

Many languages, such as Spanish and Japanese, have a mid back rounded vowel, which to speakers is clearly distinct from both the close-mid and open-mid vowels. However, since no language is known to distinguish all three, there is no separate IPA symbol for the mid vowel, and [o] is generally used. If precision is desired, the lowering diacritic may be used: [o̞].

Note that just because a language has only one non-close, non-open back vowel, that doesn't mean it's a cardinal mid vowel. The Sulawesian language Tukang Besi, for example, has a close-mid [o], whereas the Moluccan language Taba has an open-mid [ɔ]; in neither language does this contrast with another open/close-mid vowel.


In the following transcriptions, the lowering diacritic has been omitted for the sake of simplicity.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Croatian kolodv or [kolodvoːr] 'railway station'
Czech oko [oko] 'eye' See Czech phonology
English Yorkshire[5] coat [ko̟t] 'coat' Corresponds to /əʊ/ in other British dialects. See English phonology
Finnish koloon [ˈkoloːn] 'into hole' See Finnish phonology
Hebrew שלום [ʃalom] 'peace' Hebrew vowels are not shown in the script. See Niqqud and Hebrew phonology
Greek ωκεανός [oˌceaˈnos] 'ocean' See Modern Greek phonology
Japanese 日本/nihon [ɲihoɴ] 'Japan' See Japanese phonology
Korean 보리/bori [poˈɾi] 'barley' See Korean phonology
Romanian copil [koˈpil] 'child' See Romanian phonology
Russian[6] сухой [sʊˈxoj] 'dry' See Russian phonology
Spanish[7] todo [ˈt̪oð̞o] 'all' See Spanish phonology
Turkish kol [kʰoɫ] 'arm' See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian поїзд [ˈpojizd] 'train' See Ukrainian phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[8] do [d̪o] 'corn tassel'



  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (1-2): 53–56  
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 25 (2): 90–94  
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L (1993), "Illustrations of the IPA:French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (2): 73–76  
  • Jones, Daniel; Dennis, Ward (1969). The Phonetics of Russian. Cambridge University Press.  
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259  
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquipan Zapotec", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107–114  
  • Roach, Peter (2004), "British English: Received Pronunciation", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (2): 239–245  
  • Roca, Iggy; Johnson, Wyn (1999). A Course in Phonology. Blackwell Publishing.  
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 117–121  


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