|Open front unrounded vowel|
The open front unrounded vowel, or low front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many vocal languages. According to the official standards of the International Phonetic Association, the symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨⟩.
In practice, however, it is very common to approximate this sound with ⟨⟩ (officially a near-open (near-low) front unrounded vowel), and to use ⟨⟩ as an open (low) central unrounded vowel. This is the normal practice, for example, in the historical study of the English language. The loss of separate symbols for open and near-open front vowels is usually considered unproblematic, since the perceptual difference between the two is quite small, and very few, if any, languages contrast the two. See open central unrounded vowel for more information. If one needs to make it explicit that the vowel they're talking about is front, they can use symbols like ( with "advanced" diactric), or (lowered ), with the latter being more common.
The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, and the name of the article follows this. However, a large number of linguists, perhaps a majority, prefer the terms "high" and "low", and these are the only terms found in introductory textbooks on phonetics such as those by Peter Ladefoged.
|IPA vowel chart|
|Paired vowels are: unrounded rounded|
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- Its vowel height is open, also known as low, which means the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth – that is, as low as possible in the mouth.
- Its vowel backness is front, which means the tongue is positioned as far forward as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. This subsumes central open (central low) vowels because the tongue does not have as much flexibility in positioning as it does in the mid and close (high) vowels; the difference between an open front vowel and an open back vowel is similar to the difference between a close front and a close central vowel, or a close central and a close back vowel.
- It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.
Most, if not all, languages have some form of an unrounded open vowel. For languages that have only a single low vowel, the symbol for this vowel <a> may be used because it is the only low vowel whose symbol is part of the basic Latin alphabet. Whenever marked as such, the vowel is closer to a central than to a front .
- Thelwall & Sa'Adeddin (1990:38)
- Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999)
- Boberg (2005:133–154)
- Wells (1982:305)
- Hughes & Trudgill (1938:35)
- 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 March 7, 2013.
- Jassem (2003:106)
- Zamora Vicente (1967:?)
- Merrill (2008:109)
- Boberg, C. (2005), "The Canadian shift in Montreal", Language Variation and Change 17: 133–154
- Hughes, Arthur; Trudgill, Peter (1979), English Accents and Dialects: An Introduction to Social and Regional Varieties of British English, Baltimore: University Park Press
- Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (1): 103–107, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001191
- Ladefoged, Peter (1999), "American English", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association (Cambridge Univ. Press): 41–44
- Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344
- Ternes, Elmer; Vladimirova-Buhtz, Tatjana (1999), "Bulgarian", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 55–57, ISBN 0-521-63751-1 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Thelwall, Robin; Sa'Adeddin, M. Akram (1990), "Arabic", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 20 (2): 37–41, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004266
- Wells, J.C. (1982), Accents of English, 2: The British Isles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- Zamora Vicente, Alonso (1967), Dialectología española (2nd ed.), Biblioteca Romanica Hispanica, Editorial Gredos