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Open 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 305
IPA – text ɑ
IPA – image {{{imagesize}}}
Entity ɑ
Kirshenbaum A
About this sound Sound sample

The open 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 ɑ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is A. The symbol ɑ is called script a because it lacks the extra hook on top of a printed letter a, which corresponds to a different vowel, the open front unrounded vowel. Script a, which has its linear stroke on the bottom right, should not be confused with turned script a, ɒ, which has its linear stroke on the top left and corresponds to a rounded version of this vowel, the open back rounded vowel.



  • Its vowel height is open, which means the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of 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
  • Its vowel roundedness is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Angor ape [ɑpe] 'father'
Arabic Standard[1] طويل [tˤɑˈwiːl] 'tall' Allophone of long and short /a/ near emphatic consonants. See Arabic phonology
Dutch bad [bɑt] 'bath' Backness varies among dialects. See Dutch phonology
English GA spa [spɑ̟ː] 'spa' See English phonology
Finnish kana [kɑnɑ] 'hen' See Finnish phonology
French[2] pâte [pɑt] 'dough' Only in dialects that distinguish pâte from patte. See French phonology
Georgian[3] გუდ [ɡudɑ] 'leather bag'
German Tag [tɑːk] 'day' In many dialects
Hungarian bal [bɑ̽l] 'left' See Hungarian phonology
Navajo ashkii [ɑʃkɪː] 'boy'
Norwegian hat [hɑːt] 'hate' See Norwegian phonology
Plautdietsch Gott [ɡɑ̽t] 'God'
Russian[4] палка [ˈpɑɫkə] 'stick' Occurs only both before /ɫ/ and after an unpalatalized consonant. See Russian phonology
Swedish hаt [ˈhɑːt] 'hate' See Swedish phonology

See also



  • Fougeron, Cecile & Caroline L Smith (1993), "Illustrations of the IPA:French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (2): 73-76
  • Jones, Daniel & Ward Dennis (1969), The Phonetics of Russian, Cambridge University Press
  • Shosted, Ryan K. & Chikovani Vakhtang (2006), "Standard Georgian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36 (2): 255-264
  • Thelwall, Robin (1990), "Illustrations of the IPA: Arabic", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 20 (2): 37-41


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