Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Near-close central unrounded vowel

The near-close central unrounded vowel, or near-high central unrounded vowel,[1] is a vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The International Phonetic Alphabet can represent this sound in a number of ways (see the box on the right), but the most common symbols are ⟨ɪ̈⟩ (centralized [ɪ]) and ⟨ɨ̞⟩ (lowered [ɨ]). Other possible transcriptions are ⟨ɪ̠⟩ (retracted [ɪ]) and ⟨ɘ̝⟩ (raised [ɘ]), with the latter symbol being the least common. The X-SAMPA equivalents are, respectively, I\, 1_o, I_- and @\_r.

Near-close central unrounded vowel
IPA number 319 415
Entity (decimal) ɪ​̈
Unicode (hex) U+026A U+0308
X-SAMPA I\ or 1_o
Braille ⠌ (braille pattern dots-34) ⠈ (braille pattern dots-4) ⠒ (braille pattern dots-25)

In many British dictionaries, this vowel has been transcribed ⟨ɪ⟩, which captures its height; in the American tradition it is more often ⟨ɨ⟩, which captures its centrality, or ⟨⟩,[2] which captures both. ⟨⟩ is also used in a number of other publications, such as Accents of English by John C. Wells. In the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, ⟨⟩ represents free variation between /ɪ/ and /ə/.



IPA: Vowels
Front Central Back

Paired vowels are: unrounded  rounded


Note: Because ⟨ɪ⟩ is commonly used for the close-mid near-front unrounded vowel (see near-close near-front unrounded vowel), some of the vowels transcribed with ⟨ɪ̈⟩ can be actually close-mid as well. See close-mid central unrounded vowel.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Amharic[3] ሥር [sɨ̞r] 'root' Often transcribed in IPA with ⟨ə⟩.
Berber Central Atlas Tamazight[4] [orthographic form?] [χdɪ̈m] 'to work' Epenthetically inserted into consonant clusters before labial and coronal consonants.
English Inland Southern American[5] good [ɡɪ̈d] 'good' Corresponds to [ʊ] in other dialects. See English phonology
Southeastern English[6] May be rounded [ʊ̈] instead;[6] it corresponds to [ʊ] in other dialects. See English phonology
London[7][8] lip [lɪ̈ʔp] 'lip' Possible realization of /ɪ/.[7][8]
South African[9] [lɪ̈p] For some speakers it can be equal to [ə]. General and Broad varieties of SAE have an allophonic variation, with [ɪ] ([i] in Broad) occurring near velar and palatal consonants, and [ɪ̈~ə] elsewhere. See South African English phonology
Southern American[10] Allophone of /ɪ/ before labial consonants, sometimes also in other environments.[10]
Irish Munster[11] goirt [ɡɨ̞ɾˠtʲ] 'salty' Allophone of /ɪ/ between broad consonants.[11] See Irish phonology
Ulster[12] [example needed] Allophone of /ɪ/.[12]
Mah Meri[13] [d͡ʑäbɨ̞ʔ͡k̚] 'to be drunk'
Mapudungun[14] müṉa [mɘ̝ˈn̪ɐ̝] 'male cousin on father's side' Unstressed allophone of /ɘ/.[14]
Russian[15] кожа   [ˈkʷo̞ʐ̺ɨ̞] 'skin' Occurs only after unpalatalized consonants and in unstressed syllables. See Russian phonology
Sema[16] sü [ʃɨ̞̀] 'to hurt' Also described as close [ɨ].[17]
Tera[18] vur [vɨ̞r] 'to give' Allophone of /ɨ/ in closed syllables.[18]
Welsh Northern dialects[19] pump [pɨ̞mp] 'five' Merges with /ɪ/ in southern dialects. See Welsh phonology


  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ Pullum & Ladusaw (1996:298)
  3. ^ Hayward & Hayward (1999:47)
  4. ^ Abdel-Massih (1971:15)
  5. ^ Wells (1982:534–535)
  6. ^ a b Lodge (2009:174)
  7. ^ a b Altendorf & Watt (2004:188–189)
  8. ^ a b Mott (2012:75)
  9. ^ Lass (2002:113–115)
  10. ^ a b Wells (1982:534)
  11. ^ a b Ó Sé (2000)
  12. ^ a b Ní Chasaide (1999:114)
  13. ^ Kruspe & Hajek (2009), p. 244.
  14. ^ a b Sadowsky et al. (2013:92)
  15. ^ Jones & Ward (1969:38)
  16. ^ Teo (2012:368)
  17. ^ Teo (2014:28)
  18. ^ a b Tench (2007:231)
  19. ^ Ball (1984:?)