Near-close central unrounded vowel

Near-close central unrounded vowel
IPA number 319 415
Entity (decimal) ɪ̈
Unicode (hex) U+026AU+0308
X-SAMPA I\ or 1_o
Braille ⠌ (braille pattern dots-34)⠈ (braille pattern dots-4)⠒ (braille pattern dots-25)
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The near-close central unrounded vowel, or near-high central unrounded vowel, 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.

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 ,[1] which captures both. The third edition of the OED adopted an unofficial extension of the IPA, , that is a conflation of ɪ and ɨ, and represents either [ɪ̈] or free variation between [ɪ] and [ə]. It is also used in a number of other publications, for example the well-known Accents of English written by John C. Wells.

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 in the USA, prefer the terms "high" and "low".


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
i  y
ɨ  ʉ
ɯ  u
ɪ  ʏ
ɪ̈  ʊ̈
ɯ̽  ʊ
e  ø
ɘ  ɵ
ɤ  o
ə  ɵ̞
ɛ  œ
ɜ  ɞ
ʌ  ɔ
ɐ  ɞ̞
a  ɶ
ä  ɒ̈
ɑ  ɒ
Paired vowels are: unrounded  rounded
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IPA help  IPA key  chart   chart with audio  view


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Standard[2] lig [lɪ̈χ] 'light' Stressed allophone of /ə/. See Afrikaans phonology
Many speakers[3] lug 'air' Many speakers merge /œ/ and /ə/ into [ɪ̈], especially in natural speech.[3] See Afrikaans phonology
Amharic[4] ሥር [sɨ̞r] 'root' Often transcribed in IPA with ə.
Berber Central Atlas Tamazight[5] [χdɪ̈m] 'to work' Epenthetically inserted into consonant clusters before labial and coronal consonants.
English Inland Southern American[6] good [ɡɪ̈d] 'good' Corresponds to [ʊ] in other dialects. See English phonology
Southeastern English[7] May be rounded [ʊ̈] instead;[7] it corresponds to [ʊ] in other dialects. See English phonology
London[8][9] lip [lɪ̈ʔp] 'lip' Possible realization of /ɪ/.[8][9]
South African[10] [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.
Southern American[11] Allophone of /ɪ/ before labial consonants, sometimes also in other environments.[11]
Irish Munster[12] goirt [ɡɨ̞ɾˠtʲ] 'salty' Allophone of /ɪ/ between broad consonants.[12] See Irish phonology
Ulster[13] Allophone of /ɪ/.[13]
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]
Vietnamese Hanoi dialect thc [tʰɨ̞k˧˥] 'mood' Allophone of /ɨ/ before /k, ŋ/. See Vietnamese phonology
Southern xin [s̪ɨ̞n˧˥] 'to ask for sth' Allophone of /i/ before /t, n/. See Vietnamese phonology
Welsh Northern dialects[19] pump [pɨ̞mp] 'five' Merges with /ɪ/ in southern dialects. See Welsh phonology



  • 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, 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, Welsh Phonology, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, ISBN 0-7083-0861-9 
  • Donaldson, Bruce C. (1993), "1. Pronunciation", A Grammar of Afrikaans, Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 1–35, ISBN 9783110134261 
  • 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 
  • Lass, Roger (2002), "South African English", in Mesthrie, Rajend, 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 
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