Mid back rounded vowel

The mid back rounded vowel is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. While there is no dedicated symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the exact mid back rounded vowel between close-mid [o] and open-mid [ɔ], it is normally written ⟨o⟩. If precision is desired, diacritics may be used, such as ⟨⟩ or ⟨ɔ̝⟩, the former being more common. There was an alternative IPA symbol for this sound, ⟨ꭥ⟩. A non-IPA letter ⟨⟩ is also found.

Mid back rounded vowel
IPA Number307 430
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)o​̞
Unicode (hex)U+006F U+031E
Braille⠕ (braille pattern dots-135)⠠ (braille pattern dots-6)⠣ (braille pattern dots-126)

Just because a language has only one non-close non-open back vowel, it still may not be a true-mid vowel. There is a language in Sulawesi, Indonesia, with a close-mid [o], Tukang Besi. Another language in Indonesia, in the Maluku Islands, has an open-mid [ɔ], Taba. In both languages, there is no contrast with another mid (true-mid or close-mid) vowel.

Kensiu, in Malaysia and Thailand, is highly unusual in that it contrasts true-mid vowels with close-mid and open-mid vowels without any difference in other parameters, such as backness or roundedness.


  • Its vowel height is mid, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a close vowel and an open vowel.
  • Its vowel backness is back, which means the tongue is positioned back 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 are drawn together, and the inner surfaces exposed.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Standard[1] bok [bɔ̝k] 'goat' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩. The height varies between mid [ɔ̝] and close-mid [o].[1] See Afrikaans phonology
Arabic Hejazi[2] لـون/lōn [lo̞ːn] 'color' See Hejazi Arabic phonology
Breton[3] [example needed] Possible realization of unstressed /ɔ/; can be open-mid [ɔ] or close-mid [o] instead.[3]
Chinese Taiwanese Mandarin[4] /  [ʋo̞ɔː˨˩˦] 'I' See Standard Chinese phonology
Shanghainese[5] /kò [kö̞¹] 'tall' Near-back. Realization of /ɔ/ in open syllables and /ʊ/ in closed syllables.[5]
Czech[6][7] oko [ˈo̞ko̞] 'eye' In Bohemian Czech, the backness varies between back and near-back, whereas the height varies between mid [o̞] and close-mid [o].[6] See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[8][9] måle [ˈmɔ̽ːlə] 'measure' Near-back;[8][9] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔː⟩. See Danish phonology
Dutch Amsterdam[10] och [ɔ̝̈χ] 'alas' Near-back;[10] corresponds to open-mid [ɔˤ] in standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology
Orsmaal-Gussenhoven dialect[11] mot [mɔ̝t] 'well' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩.
English Cultivated South African[12] thought [θɔ̝ːt] 'thought' Close-mid [] for other speakers. See South African English phonology
Maori[13] Near-close [o̝ː] in General New Zealand English.[13][14]
Scouse[15] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔː⟩.
Some Cardiff speakers[16] Other speakers use a more open, advanced and unrounded vowel [ʌ̈ː].[16]
General American[17] Cambodia  [kʰɛəmˈbö̞diə] 'Cambodia' Near-back; often diphthongal: [ö̞ʊ].[17] Some regional North American varieties use a vowel that is closer to cardinal [o]. See English phonology
Yorkshire[18] [kʰamˈbo̞ːdjə] Corresponds to /əʊ/ in other British dialects. See English phonology
Faroese[19] toldi [ˈtʰɔ̝ltɪ̞] 'endured' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩. See Faroese phonology
Finnish[20][21] kello [ˈke̞lːo̞] 'clock' See Finnish phonology
French Parisian[22] pont [pɔ̝̃] 'bridge' Nasalized; typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ̃⟩. See French phonology
German Southern accents[23] voll [fɔ̝l] 'full' Common realization of /ɔ/ in Southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Open-mid [ɔ] in Northern Standard German.[24] See Standard German phonology
Western Swiss accents[25] hoch [ho̞ːχ] 'high' Close-mid [] in other accents.[26] See Standard German phonology
Greek Modern Standard[27][28] πως / pos [po̞s̠] 'how' See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrew[29] שלום/shalom/šɔlom [ʃäˈlo̞m] 'peace' Hebrew vowels are not shown in the script. See Niqqud and Modern Hebrew phonology
Ibibio[30] do [dó̞] 'there'
Icelandic[31] loft [ˈlɔ̝ft] 'air' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩. The long allophone is often diphthongized to [oɔ].[32] See Icelandic phonology
Inuit West Greenlandic[33] [example needed] Allophone of /u/ before and especially between uvulars.[33] See Inuit phonology
Italian Standard[34] forense [fo̞ˈrɛnse] 'forensic' Common realization of the unstressed /o/.[34] See Italian phonology
Northern accents[35] bosco [ˈbo̞sko̞] 'forest' Local realization of /ɔ/.[35] See Italian phonology
Japanese[36] /ko [ko̞] 'child' See Japanese phonology
Korean[37] 보리 / bori [po̞ˈɾi] 'barley' See Korean phonology
Limburgish Hasselt dialect[38] mok [mɔ̝k] 'mug' May be transcribed IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩.[38] See Hasselt dialect phonology
Malay Standard ڤوكوق / pokok [po̞.ko̞ʔ] 'tree' See Malay phonology
Norwegian Urban East[39][40] lov [lo̞ːʋ] 'law' Also described as close-mid [].[41] See Norwegian phonology
Romanian[42] acolo [äˈko̞lo̞] 'there' See Romanian phonology
Russian[43] сухой/sukhoy/sukhoj  [s̪ʊˈxo̞j]  'dry' Some speakers realize it as open-mid [ɔ].[43] See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian[44][45] ко̑д / kd/kõd [kô̞ːd̪] 'code' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Shipibo[46] koni [ˈkö̞ni̞] 'eel' Near-back.[46]
Slovene[47] oglas [o̞ˈɡlá̠s̪] 'advertisement' Unstressed vowel,[47] as well as an allophone of /o/ before /ʋ/ when a vowel does not follow within the same word.[48] See Slovene phonology
Spanish[49] todo [ˈt̪o̞ð̞o̞] 'all' See Spanish phonology
Tera[50] zo [zo̞ː] 'rope'
Turkish[51][52] kol [kʰo̞ɫ] 'arm' See Turkish phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[53] do [d̪o̞] 'corn tassel'


  1. ^ a b Wissing (2016), section "The rounded mid-high back vowel /ɔ/".
  2. ^ Abdoh (2010:84)
  3. ^ a b Ternes (1992), p. 433.
  4. ^ Lee & Zee (2003), p. 110.
  5. ^ a b Chen & Gussenhoven (2015), p. 328.
  6. ^ a b Dankovičová (1999), p. 72.
  7. ^ Šimáčková, Podlipský & Chládková (2012), pp. 228–230.
  8. ^ a b Grønnum (1998), p. 100.
  9. ^ a b Basbøll (2005), p. 47.
  10. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003), p. 132.
  11. ^ Peters (2010), p. 241.
  12. ^ Lass (2002), p. 116.
  13. ^ a b Warren & Bauer (2004), p. 617.
  14. ^ Hay, Maclagan & Gordon (2008), pp. 21–22.
  15. ^ Watson (2007), p. 357.
  16. ^ a b Collins & Mees (1990), p. 95.
  17. ^ a b Wells (1982), p. 487.
  18. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999), p. 180.
  19. ^ Peterson (2000), cited in Árnason (2011:76)
  20. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005), pp. 60, 66.
  21. ^ Suomi, Toivanen & Ylitalo (2008), p. 21.
  22. ^ Collins & Mees (2013), p. 226.
  23. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 64.
  24. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), pp. 34, 64.
  25. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 65.
  26. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), pp. 34, 65.
  27. ^ Arvaniti (2007), p. 28.
  28. ^ Trudgill (2009), p. 81.
  29. ^ Laufer (1999), p. 98.
  30. ^ Urua (2004), p. 106.
  31. ^ Brodersen (2011).
  32. ^ Árnason (2011), pp. 57–60.
  33. ^ a b Fortescue (1990), p. 317.
  34. ^ a b Bertinetto & Loporcaro (2005), pp. 137–138.
  35. ^ a b Bertinetto & Loporcaro (2005), p. 137.
  36. ^ Okada (1999), p. 117.
  37. ^ Lee (1999), p. 121.
  38. ^ a b Peters (2006), p. 119.
  39. ^ Vanvik (1979), pp. 13, 17.
  40. ^ Kvifte & Gude-Husken (2005), p. 4.
  41. ^ Kristoffersen (2000), pp. 16–17.
  42. ^ Sarlin (2014), p. 18.
  43. ^ a b Jones & Ward (1969), p. 56.
  44. ^ Kordić (2006), p. 4.
  45. ^ Landau et al. (1999), p. 67.
  46. ^ a b Valenzuela, Márquez Pinedo & Maddieson (2001), p. 282.
  47. ^ a b Tatjana Srebot-Rejec. "On the vowel system in present-day Slovene" (PDF).
  48. ^ Šuštaršič, Komar & Petek (1999), p. 138.
  49. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 256.
  50. ^ Tench (2007), p. 230.
  51. ^ Zimmer & Orgun (1999), p. 155.
  52. ^ Göksel & Kerslake (2005), p. 11.
  53. ^ Merrill (2008), p. 109.


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