Open-mid back unrounded vowel

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Open-mid back unrounded vowel
IPA Number314
Entity (decimal)ʌ
Unicode (hex)U+028C
Braille⠬ (braille pattern dots-346)
Audio sample

The open-mid back unrounded vowel, or low-mid back unrounded vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʌ⟩, graphically a rotated lowercase "v" (called a turned V but created as a small-capital ⟨ᴀ⟩ without the crossbar). Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as either a wedge, a caret, or a hat. In transcriptions for English, this symbol is commonly used for the near-open central unrounded vowel, and in transcriptions for Danish, it is used for the (somewhat mid-centralized) open back rounded vowel.



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
English Cape Town[2] lot [lʌt] 'lot' It corresponds to a weakly rounded [ɒ̈] in all other South African dialects. See South African English phonology
Cardiff[3] thought [θʌːt] 'thought' For some speakers it may be rounded and closer. See English phonology
General South African[4] no [nʌː] 'no' May be a diphthong [ʌʊ̯] instead.[5] See South African English phonology
General American[6] gut About this sound[ɡʌt]  'gut' In most dialects, fronted to [ɜ], or fronted and lowered to [ɐ]. See English phonology and Northern Cities Vowel Shift
Inland Northern American[7]
Multicultural London[8]
Some Estuary English speakers[12]
French Picardy[13] alors [aˈlʌʀ̥] 'so' Corresponding to /ɔ/ in standard French.
German Chemnitz dialect[14] machen [ˈmʌχɴ̩] 'to do' Allophone of /ʌ, ʌː/ (which phonetically are central [ɜ, ɜː])[15] before and after /ŋ, kʰ, k, χ, ʁ/. Exact backness varies; it is most posterior before /χ, ʁ/.[16]
Haida[17] ḵwaáay [qʰwʌʔáːj] 'the rock' Allophone of /a/ (sometimes also /aː/) after uvular and epiglottal consonants.[18]
Irish Ulster dialect[19] ola [ʌl̪ˠə] 'oil' See Irish phonology
Kaingang[20] [ˈɾʌ] 'mark' Varies between back [ʌ] and central [ɜ].[21]
Kensiu[22] [hʌʎ] 'stream'
Korean[23] / neo [nʌ] 'you' See Korean phonology
Lillooet [example needed] Retracted counterpart of /ə/.
Mah Meri[24] [example needed] Allophone of /ə/; can be mid central [ə] or close-mid back [ɤ] instead.[24]
Oʼodham Pima corresponds to [ɨ] in Papago.
Russian Standard Saint Petersburg[25] голова [ɡəɫ̪ʌˈvä] 'head' Corresponds to [ɐ] in standard Moscow pronunciation;[25] occurs mostly immediately before stressed syllables. See Russian phonology
Tamil[26] [example needed] Nasalized. Phonetic realization of the sequence /am/, may be [õ] or [ã] instead.[26] See Tamil 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 unrounded vowel). Daniel Jones reports his speech (southern British), as having an advanced back vowel [ʌ̟] 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].[27] In American English varieties, e.g. the West and Midwest, and the urban South, the typical phonetic realization of the phoneme /ʌ/ is an open-mid central [ɜ].[28][29] 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.[30][31] Despite this, the letter ⟨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.[32]


  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ a b Lass (2002), p. 115.
  3. ^ Collins & Mees (1990), p. 95.
  4. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 614, 621.
  5. ^ Wells (1982), p. 614.
  6. ^ Wells (1982), p. 485.
  7. ^ W. Labov, S. Ash and C. Boberg (1997), A national map of the regional dialects of American English, Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania, retrieved May 27, 2013
  8. ^ Gimson (2014), p. 91.
  9. ^ Thomas (2001), pp. 27–28, 61–63.
  10. ^ Thomas (2001), pp. 27–28, 73–74.
  11. ^ Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006), p. 7.
  12. ^ Altendorf & Watt (2004), p. 188.
  13. ^ "Picardie : phonétique". Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  14. ^ Khan & Weise (2013), pp. 235, 238.
  15. ^ Khan & Weise (2013), p. 236.
  16. ^ Khan & Weise (2013), p. 238.
  17. ^ Lawrence (1977), pp. 32–33.
  18. ^ Lawrence (1977), pp. 32–33, 36.
  19. ^ Ní Chasaide (1999), pp. 114–115.
  20. ^ Jolkesky (2009), pp. 676–677, 682.
  21. ^ Jolkesky (2009), pp. 676, 682.
  22. ^ Bishop (1996), p. 230.
  23. ^ Lee (1999).
  24. ^ a b Kruspe & Hajek (2009), p. 245.
  25. ^ a b Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015), p. 225.
  26. ^ a b Keane (2004), p. 114.
  27. ^ Jones (1972), pp. 86–88.
  28. ^ Gordon (2004b), p. 340.
  29. ^ Tillery & Bailey (2004), p. 333.
  30. ^ Thomas (2001), pp. 27–28, 112–115, 121, 134, 174.
  31. ^ Gordon (2004a), pp. 294–296.
  32. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999), p. 135.


  • Altendorf, Ulrike; Watt, Dominic (2004), "The dialects in the South of England: phonology", in Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Kortmann, Bernd; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive (eds.), A handbook of varieties of English, 1: Phonology, Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 181–196, ISBN 3-11-017532-0
  • Bishop, Nancy (1996), "A preliminary description of Kensiu (Maniq) phonology" (PDF), Mon–Khmer Studies Journal, 25
  • Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (1990), "The Phonetics of Cardiff English", in Coupland, Nikolas; Thomas, Alan Richard (eds.), English in Wales: Diversity, Conflict, and Change, Multilingual Matters Ltd., pp. 87–103, ISBN 1-85359-032-0
  • Gimson, Alfred Charles (2014), Cruttenden, Alan (ed.), Gimson's Pronunciation of English (8th ed.), Routledge, ISBN 9781444183092
  • Gordon, Matthew (2004a), "New York, Philadelphia and other Northern Cities", in Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W. (eds.), A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 294–296, ISBN 3-11-017532-0
  • Gordon, Matthew (2004b), "The West and Midwest: phonology", in Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W. (eds.), A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, p. 340, ISBN 3-11-017532-0
  • Jolkesky, Marcelo Pinho de Valhery (2009), "Fonologia e prosódia do Kaingáng falado em Cacique Doble", Anais do SETA, Campinas: Editora do IEL-UNICAMP, 3: 675–685
  • Jones, Daniel (1972), An outline of English phonetics (9th ed.), Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons Ltd.
  • Keane, Elinor (2004), "Tamil", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 111–116, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001549
  • Khan, Sameer ud Dowla; Weise, Constanze (2013), "Upper Saxon (Chemnitz dialect)" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (2): 231–241, doi:10.1017/S0025100313000145
  • Kruspe, Nicole; Hajek, John (2009), "Mah Meri", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 39 (2): 241–248, doi:10.1017/S0025100309003946
  • Lass, Roger (2002), "South African English", in Mesthrie, Rajend (ed.), Language in South Africa, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521791052
  • Lawrence, Erma (1977), Haida dictionary, Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center
  • Lee, Hyun Bok (1999), "Korean", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 120–122, ISBN 0-521-63751-1
  • Ní Chasaide, Ailbhe (1999). "Irish". Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. Cambridge University Press. pp. 111–116. ISBN 0-521-63751-1.
  • Roca, Iggy; Johnson, Wyn (1999), Course in Phonology, Blackwell Publishing
  • Scobbie, James M; Gordeeva, Olga B.; Matthews, Benjamin (2006), Acquisition of Scottish English Phonology: an overview, Edinburgh: QMU Speech Science Research Centre Working Papers
  • 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; Bailey, Guy (2004), "The urban South: phonology", in Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W. (eds.), A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, p. 333, ISBN 3-11-017532-0
  • Wells, J.C. (1982). Accents of English 3: Beyond the British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-28541-0.
  • Yanushevskaya, Irena; Bunčić, Daniel (2015), "Russian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 45 (2): 221–228, doi:10.1017/S0025100314000395

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