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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 ⟨ɨ̞⟩ (lowered [ɨ]) and ⟨ɪ̈⟩ (centralized [ɪ]). 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, 1_o, I\, I_- and @\_r.

Near-close central unrounded vowel
IPA Number317 430
Entity (decimal)ɪ​̈
Unicode (hex)U+026A U+0308
X-SAMPA1_o or I\
Braille⠌ (braille pattern dots-34)⠈ (braille pattern dots-4)⠒ (braille pattern dots-25)
Audio sample

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/.




Note: Because ⟨ɪ⟩ is commonly used for the close-mid near-front unrounded vowel (see near-close 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 ⟨ɨ⟩.
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]
Turkish Standard[19] acı [äˈd͡ʒɨ̞] 'pain' Allophone of /ɯ/ in final open syllable of a phrase.[19] See Turkish phonology
Welsh Northern dialects[20] 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. ^ a b Zimmer & Orgun (1999), p. 155.
  20. ^ Ball (1984:?)


  • Abdel-Massih, Ernest T. (1971), A Reference Grammar of Tamazight, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan
  • 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
  • Ball, Martin J. (1984), "Phonetics for phonology", in Ball, Martin J.; Jones, G.E (eds.), Welsh Phonology, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, ISBN 0-7083-0861-9
  • Hayward, Katrina; Hayward, Richard J. (1999), "Amharic", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 45–50, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004874, ISBN 0-521-65236-7
  • Jones, Daniel; Ward, Dennis (1969), The Phonetics of Russian, Cambridge University Press
  • 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
  • Lodge, Ken (2009), A Critical Introduction to Phonetics, Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-8264-8873-2
  • Mott, Brian (2012), "Traditional Cockney and popular London speech", Dialectologia, RACO (Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert), 9: 69–94, ISSN 2013-2247
  • Ní Chasaide, Ailbhe (1999), "Irish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 111–16, ISBN 0-521-63751-1
  • Ó Sé, Diarmuid (2000), Gaeilge Chorca Dhuibhne (in Irish), Dublin: Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann, ISBN 0-946452-97-0
  • Pullum, Geoffrey K.; Ladusaw, William A. (1996), Phonetic Symbol Guide, Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press, ISBN 9780226685366
  • Sadowsky, Scott; Painequeo, Héctor; Salamanca, Gastón; Avelino, Heriberto (2013), "Mapudungun", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (1): 87–96, doi:10.1017/S0025100312000369
  • Tench, Paul (2007), "Tera", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 37 (1): 228–234, doi:10.1017/s0025100307002952
  • Teo, Amos B. (2012), "Sumi (Sema)", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 42 (03): 365–373, doi:10.1017/S0025100312000254
  • Teo, Amos B. (2014), A phonological and phonetic description of Sumi, a Tibeto-Burman language of Nagaland (PDF), Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics, ISBN 978-1-922185-10-5
  • Wells, John C. (1982), Accents of English 3: Beyond the British Isles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-28541-0
  • Zimmer, Karl; Orgun, Orhan (1999), "Turkish" (PDF), Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 154–158, ISBN 0-521-65236-7

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