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Open-mid back unrounded 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 314
IPA – text ʌ
IPA – image {{{imagesize}}}
Entity ʌ
Kirshenbaum V
About this sound Sound sample

The open-mid back unrounded vowel is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ʌ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is V. The IPA symbol is an inverted letter v and both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as either a wedge, a caret, or a hat. In transcriptions for some languages (including several dialects of English), this symbol is also used for the near-open central vowel.




Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
English Newfoundland[1] plus [plʌs] 'plus' Less fronted than other dialects. See English phonology
Irish Ulster dialect ola [ʌlˠə] 'oil' See Irish phonology
Korean [pʌl] 'punishment' See Korean phonology
Vietnamese ân [ʌn] 'favour; grace' Also analyzed as central [ɜ]. See Vietnamese phonology

Before World War II, the /ʌ/ of Received Pronunciation was phonetically close to a back vowel [ʌ]; this sound has since shifted forward towards [ɐ] (a Near-open central vowel). Daniel Jones reports his speech (southern British), as having an advanced back vowel [ʌ̘] between his central /ə/ and back /ɔ/; however, he also reports that other southern speakers had a lower and even more advanced vowel approaching cardinal [a].[3] In American English varieties, e.g., the West and Midwest, and the urban South, the typical phonetic realization of the phoneme /ʌ/ is a central vowel that can be transcribed as [ɜ] (open-mid central).[4][5] Truly backed variants of /ʌ/ that are phonetically [ʌ] can occur in Inland Northern American English, Newfoundland English, Philadelphia English, some African-American Englishes, and (old-fashioned) white Southern English in coastal plain and Piedmont areas.[6][7] Despite this, the symbol < ʌ > is still commonly used to indicate this phoneme, even in the more common varieties with central variants [ɐ] or [ɜ]. This may be due to both tradition as well as the fact that some other dialects retain the older pronunciation.[8].


  1. ^ Thomas (2001:27-28, 61-63)
  2. ^ Thomas (2001:27-28, 73-74)
  3. ^ Jones (1972:86-88)
  4. ^ Gordon (2004:340)
  5. ^ Tillery & Bailey (2004:333)
  6. ^ Thomas (2001:27-28, 112-115, 121, 134, 174)
  7. ^ Gordon (2004:294-296)
  8. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999:135)


  • Gordon, Matthew (2004a), "New York, Philadelphia and other Northern Cities", in Kortmann, Bernd, A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 294–296, ISBN 3110175320  
  • Gordon, Matthew (2004b), "The West and Midwest: phonology", in Kortmann, Bernd, A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 340, ISBN 3110175320  
  • Jones, Daniel (1972). An outline of English phonetics (9th ed.). Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons Ltd..  
  • Roca, Iggy; Johnson, Wyn (1999). Course in Phonology. Blackwell Publishing.  
  • Thomas, Erik R. (2001), "An acoustic analysis of vowel variation in New World English", Publication of the American Dialect Society (Duke University Press for the American Dialect Society) 85, ISSN 0002-8207  
  • Tillery, Jan and Guy Bailey, "The urban South: phonology", in Kortmann, Bernd, A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 333, ISBN 3110175320  


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