Open-mid back unrounded vowel

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, even though some vendors display it as a real turned v). Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as a "wedge", "caret" or "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 open back rounded vowel.

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




Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Ajië[2] kë [kʌˀ] 'pot' Distinct from /ə/
Catalan Solsonès[3] tarda [ˈtaɾð̞ʌ̃ː] 'afternoon' Realization of final unstressed /ə/
Emilian most Emilian dialects[4] Bulåggna [buˈlʌɲːɐ] 'Bologna' It corresponds to a sound between /ɔ/ to /ä/; written ò in some spellings
English Cape Town[5] lot [lʌt] 'lot' It corresponds to a weakly rounded [ɒ̈] in all other South African dialects. See South African English phonology
Cardiff[6] thought [θʌːt] 'thought' For some speakers it may be rounded and closer. See English phonology
General South African[7] no [nʌː] 'no' May be a diphthong [ʌʊ̯] instead.[8] See South African English phonology
General American[9] gut [ɡʌt] 'gut' In some dialects, fronted to [ɜ], or fronted and lowered to [ɐ]. In Standard Southern British English, [ʌ] is increasingly heard in place of [ɐ] to avoid the trap-strut merger.[10] See English phonology and Northern Cities Vowel Shift
Inland Northern American[11]
Multicultural London[12]
Northern East Anglian[14]
Some Estuary English speakers[17]
Some Standard Southern British speakers[10]
French Picardy[18] alors [aˈlʌʀ̥] 'so' Corresponding to /ɔ/ in standard French.
German Chemnitz dialect[19] machen [ˈmʌχɴ̩] 'to do' Allophone of /ʌ, ʌː/ (which phonetically are central [ɜ, ɜː])[20] before and after /ŋ, kʰ, k, χ, ʁ/. Exact backness varies; it is most posterior before /χ, ʁ/.[21]
Haida[22] ḵwaáay [qʷʰʌʔáːj] 'the rock' Allophone of /a/ (sometimes also /aː/) after uvular and epiglottal consonants.[23]
Irish Ulster dialect[24] ola [ʌl̪ˠə] 'oil' See Irish phonology
Kaingang[25] [ˈɾʌ] 'mark' Varies between back [ʌ] and central [ɜ].[26]
Kashmiri از [ʌz] 'today' Allophone of [[[Near-open central vowel|ɐ]]]. Used only in monosyllables. Typical of the Srinagar variety.
Kensiu[27] [hʌʎ] 'stream'
Korean[28] / neo [nʌ̹] 'you' See Korean phonology
Lillooet [example needed] Retracted counterpart of /ə/.
Mah Meri[29] [example needed] Allophone of /ə/; can be mid central [ə] or close-mid back [ɤ] instead.[29]
Nepali असल/asal [ʌsʌl] 'good' See Nepali phonology
Portuguese Greater Lisbon area[30] leite [ˈɫ̪ʌjt̪ɨ̞] 'milk' Allophone of /ɐ/ before /i/ (forming a phonetic diphthong [ʌj]). Corresponds to [e] in other accents.[30] See Portuguese phonology
Russian Standard Saint Petersburg[31] голова/golová [ɡəɫ̪ʌˈvä] 'head' Corresponds to [ɐ] in standard Moscow pronunciation;[31] occurs mostly immediately before stressed syllables. See Russian phonology
Tamil[32] [example needed] Nasalized. Phonetic realization of the sequence /am/, may be [õ] or [ã] instead.[32] See Tamil phonology
Xavante[33] [jʌm] 'seed' The nasal version [ʌ̃] also occurs.[33]

Before World War II, the /ʌ/ of Received Pronunciation was phonetically close to a back vowel [ʌ], which has since shifted forward towards [ɐ] (a near-open central unrounded vowel). Daniel Jones reported his speech (southern British) as having an advanced back vowel [ʌ̟] between his central /ə/ and back /ɔ/; however, he also reported that other southern speakers had a lower and even more advanced vowel that approached cardinal [a].[34] In American English varieties, such as in the West, the Midwest, and the urban South, the typical phonetic realization of the phoneme /ʌ/ is an open-mid central [ɜ].[35][36] Truly backed variants of /ʌ/ that are phonetically [ʌ] can occur in Inland Northern American English, Newfoundland English, Philadelphia English, some of African-American English, and (old-fashioned) white Southern American English in coastal plain and Piedmont areas.[37][38] However, the letter ⟨ʌ⟩ is still commonly used to indicate this phoneme, even in the more common varieties with central variants [ɐ] or [ɜ]. That may be because of both tradition and some other dialects retaining the older pronunciation.[39]


  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ Zetterberg, William. "So close and yet so different: Reconstructing the phonological history of three Southern New Caledonian languages | Lund University". Lund University. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  3. ^ "Anàlisi dialectològica d'uns parlars del Solsonès". Retrieved 2019-11-29.
  4. ^ "Scrîver al bulgnaiṡ cum và". (in Emilian). Archived from the original on 2020-10-26. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  5. ^ a b Lass (2002), p. 115.
  6. ^ Collins & Mees (1990), p. 95.
  7. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 614, 621.
  8. ^ Wells (1982), p. 614.
  9. ^ Wells (1982), p. 485.
  10. ^ a b Cruttenden (2014), p. 122.
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ Cruttenden (2014), p. 91.
  13. ^ Thomas (2001), pp. 27–28, 61–63.
  14. ^ Trudgill (2004), p. 167.
  15. ^ Thomas (2001), pp. 27–28, 73–74.
  16. ^ Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006), p. 7.
  17. ^ Altendorf & Watt (2004), p. 188.
  18. ^ "Picardie : phonétique". Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  19. ^ Khan & Weise (2013), pp. 235, 238.
  20. ^ Khan & Weise (2013), p. 236.
  21. ^ Khan & Weise (2013), p. 238.
  22. ^ Lawrence (1977), pp. 32–33.
  23. ^ Lawrence (1977), pp. 32–33, 36.
  24. ^ Ní Chasaide (1999), pp. 114–115.
  25. ^ Jolkesky (2009), pp. 676–677, 682.
  26. ^ Jolkesky (2009), pp. 676, 682.
  27. ^ Bishop (1996), p. 230.
  28. ^ Lee (1999).
  29. ^ a b Kruspe & Hajek (2009), p. 245.
  30. ^ a b Cruz-Ferreira (1995), pp. 91–2.
  31. ^ a b Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015), p. 225.
  32. ^ a b Keane (2004), p. 114.
  33. ^ a b Nikulin & Carvalho (2019), p. 263.
  34. ^ Jones (1972), pp. 86–88.
  35. ^ Gordon (2004b), p. 340.
  36. ^ Tillery & Bailey (2004), p. 333.
  37. ^ Thomas (2001), pp. 27–28, 112–115, 121, 134, 174.
  38. ^ Gordon (2004a), pp. 294–296.
  39. ^ 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. Vol. 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: 227–253.
  • 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. pp. 87–103. ISBN 1-85359-032-0.
  • Cruttenden, Alan (2014). Gimson's Pronunciation of English (8th ed.). Routledge. ISBN 9781444183092.
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995). "European Portuguese". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 25 (2): 90–94. doi:10.1017/S0025100300005223. S2CID 249414876.
  • Gordon, Matthew (2004a). "New York, Philadelphia and other Northern Cities". In Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W. (eds.). A Handbook of Varieties of English. Vol. 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, vol. 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" [Phonology and prosody of Kaingang spoken in Cacique Doble]. Anais do SETA (in Portuguese). 3. Campinas: Editora do IEL-UNICAMP: 675–685.
  • Jones, Daniel (1972). An Outline of English Phonetics (9th ed.). Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons.
  • 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. 85. Duke University Press for the American Dialect Society.
  • Tillery, Jan; Bailey, Guy (2004). "The urban south: Phonology". In Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W. (eds.). A Handbook of Varieties of English. Vol. 1: Phonology. Walter de Gruyter. p. 333. ISBN 3-11-017532-0.
  • Trudgill, Peter (2004). "The dialect of East Anglia: Phonology". In Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Kortmann, Bernd; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive (eds.). A Handbook of Varieties of English. Vol. 1: Phonology. Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 163–177. 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.
  • Nikulin, Andrey; Carvalho, Fernando O. de (2019). "Estudos diacrônicos de línguas indígenas brasileiras: um panorama". Macabéa - Revista Eletrônica do NETLLI (in Brazilian Portuguese). 8 (2). Crato. doi:10.47295/MREN.V8I2.1910.