Near-open front unrounded vowel

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Near-open front unrounded vowel
æ
IPA number 325
Encoding
Entity (decimal) æ
Unicode (hex) U+00E6
X-SAMPA {
Kirshenbaum &
Braille ⠩ (braille pattern dots-146)
Sound

The near-open front unrounded vowel, or near-low front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. Acoustically it is simply an open or low front unrounded vowel.[1] The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨æ⟩, a lowercase of the ⟨Æligature. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as "ash".

The rounded counterpart of [æ], the near-open front rounded vowel (for which the IPA provides no separate symbol) has been reported to occur allophonically in Danish;[2][3] see open front rounded vowel for more information.

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

In practice, ⟨æ⟩ is sometimes used to represent the open front unrounded vowel; see the introduction to that page for more information.

Features[edit]

IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Close
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
i • y
ɨ • ʉ
ɯ • u
ɪ • ʏ
ɪ̈ • ʊ̈
ɯ̽ • ʊ
e • ø
ɘ • ɵ
ɤ • o
 • ø̞
ə • ɵ̞
ɤ̞ • 
ɛ • œ
ɜ • ɞ
ʌ • ɔ
æ • 
ɐ • ɞ̞
a • ɶ
ä • ɒ̈
ɑ • ɒ
Near-close
Close-mid
Mid
Open-mid
Near-open
Open
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
This table contains phonetic symbols, which may not display correctly in some browsers. [Help]

IPA help • IPA key • chart • Loudspeaker.svg chart with audio • view
  • Its vowel height is near-open, also known as near-low, which means the tongue is positioned similarly to an open vowel, but is slightly more constricted – that is, the tongue is positioned similarly to a low vowel, but slightly higher.
  • Its vowel backness is front, which means the tongue is positioned as far forward as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Note that rounded front vowels are often centralized, which means that often they are in fact near-front.
  • It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.

Occurrence[edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Standard[4] perd [pæːrt] 'horse' Allophone of /ɛ/ before sequences /rs/, /rt/, /rd/ and, in some dialects, before /k x l r/. See Afrikaans phonology
Arabic Standard[5] كتاب About this sound [kiˈtæːb]  'book' Allophone of /a/ in the environment of plain labial and coronal consonants as well as /j/ (depending on the speaker's accent). See Arabic phonology
Catalan[6][7][8] Valencian tesi [ˈt̪ɛ̞z̥ɪ̝] 'thesis' Main realization of /ɛ/. See Catalan phonology
set [ˈs̠æ̠t̪] 'seven' Near-front. Allophone of /ɛ/ found in contact with liquids and in monosyllabic terms. Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɛ
Majorcan
Minorcan
Some Valencian and Balearic speakers[9] llamp [ˈl̠ʲɛ̞mp] 'lightning' Allophone of /a/ in contact with palatal consonants. In some variants it can merge with /ɛ/.
Western Catalan[10][11] taula [ˈt̪ɑ̟wɫæ̝] 'table' Somewhat retracted. Unstressed allophone of /a/ in the coda. It can alternate with rounded allophones in the Valencian dialects.
Danish Standard[2][12] Dansk [ˈd̥ænsɡ̊] 'Danish' Most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨a⟩ - the way it is realized by certain older or upper-class speakers.[13] See Danish phonology
English Australian[14] cat About this sound [kʰæt]  'cat' Many younger speakers realize it as fully open [a],[15] whereas in broader accents it may be open-mid [ɛ]. See English phonology and Australian English phonology
Cultivated New Zealand[16] Higher in other New Zealand varieties. See New Zealand English phonology
General American[17]
Received Pronunciation[18] Lower [a] for many younger speakers
Norfolk[19] [kʰæ̠t] Near-front.[19]
Cockney[20] town [tˢæːn] 'town' May be lower [] or a diphthong [æə̯] instead. It corresponds to /aʊ̯/ in other dialects
Estonian[21] väle [ˈvæ̠lɛˑ] 'agile' Near-front.[21] See Estonian phonology
Finnish[22] mäki [ˈmæki] 'hill' See Finnish phonology
French Popular Parisian[23] tard [ˈtæʀ] 'late' See French phonology
Quebec ver About this sound [væːʁ]  'worm' Allophone of /ɛ/ before /ʁ/ or in open syllables, and of /a/ in closed syllables.[24] See Quebec French phonology
German Standard[25] Pointe [ˈpʰo̯æ̃ːtʰə] 'punch line' Nasalized.[25] Most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɛ̃ː⟩. Present only in loanwords. See German phonology
Greek Macedonia[26] γάτα/gáta [ˈɣætæ] 'cat' See Modern Greek phonology
Thessaly[26]
Thrace[26]
Pontic[27] καλάθια/kaláthia [kaˈlaθæ] 'baskets'
Hungarian[28] nem [næm] 'no' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɛ⟩. See Hungarian phonology
Lakon[29] rävräv [ræβræβ] 'evening'
Limburgish Hasselt dialect[30] mès [mæs²] 'knife'
Maastrichtian[31] twelf [ˈtβ̞æ̠ləf] 'twelve' Near-front.[31]
Luxembourgish[32] Käpp [kʰæp] 'heads' See Luxembourgish phonology
Norwegian Standard Eastern[33] lær [l̪æːɾ] 'leather' See Norwegian phonology
Polish[34] ten [t̪æn̪] 'this one'
(masc. nom.)
Rare realization of /ɛ/.[35] See Polish phonology
Portuguese Some dialects[36] pedra [ˈpæðɾɐ] 'stone' Stressed vowel. In other dialects closer /ɛ/. See Portuguese phonology
Some European speakers[37] também [tɐˈmæ̃] 'also' Stressed vowel, allophone of nasal vowel /ẽ̞/.
Ripuarian Kerkrade dialect[38] dem [dæm] [translation needed] Allophone of /ɛ/ before /m, n, ŋ, l, ʁ/.[38]
Romanian Bukovinian dialect[39] piele [pæle][stress?] 'skin' Corresponds to [je] in standard Romanian. Also identified in some Central Transylvanian sub-dialects.[39] See Romanian phonology
Russian[40][41] пять About this sound [pʲætʲ]  'five' Allophone of /a/ between palatalized consonants. See Russian phonology
Slovak[42] väzy [ˈʋæzɪ] 'ligaments' Somewhat rare pronunciation, with [ɛ] being more common. See Slovak phonology
Swedish Central Standard[43][44][45] ära About this sound [²æːɾä]  'honour' Allophone of /ɛː, ɛ/ before /r/. See Swedish phonology
Stockholm[45] läsa [²læːsä] 'to read' Realization of /ɛː, ɛ/ for younger speakers. Higher [ɛː, ɛ̝ ~ ɛ] for other speakers
Turkish[46] sen [s̪æn̪] 'you' Allophone of /e/ before syllable-final /m, n, l, r/. In a limited number of words (but not before /r/), it is in free variation with [].[46] See Turkish phonology

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]