Near-close near-front unrounded vowel

Near-close near-front unrounded vowel
IPA number 319
Entity (decimal) ɪ
Unicode (hex) U+026A
Kirshenbaum I
Braille ⠌ (braille pattern dots-34)
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The near-close near-front unrounded vowel, or near-high near-front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɪ, i.e. a small capital letter i. The International Phonetic Association advises serifs on the symbol's ends.[1] Some sans-serif fonts do meet this typographic specification.[2] Prior to 1989, there was an alternate symbol for this sound: ɩ, the use of which is no longer sanctioned by the IPA.[3] Despite that, some modern writings[4] still use it.

The Handbook of the International Phonetic Association defines [ɪ] as a mid-centralized (lowered and centralized) close front unrounded vowel,[5] therefore, an alternative transcription of this vowel is (a symbol equivalent to a more complex ï̞). However, some languages, such as Australian English,[6] Danish[7][8] and Swedish,[9] have the near-close front unrounded vowel, which differs from its near-front counterpart in that it is a lowered, but not centralized close front unrounded vowel, transcribed in the IPA as ɪ̟, or (this article uses ɪ̟).

The IPA prefers the terms "close" and "open" for classifying vowels. Some linguists use the terms "high" and "low", respectively, instead of "close" and "open".


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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Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Arabic Gulf جِن [d͡ʒɪn] 'Djinn' See Arabic phonology
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic sitwa [sɪtwɐ] 'winter' Used mostly in the Tyari dialects. [ə] is used predominantly in other dialects.
Chinese Cantonese /bing1 [pɪŋ˥] 'ice' Can be realized as [e] instead. See Cantonese phonology
Czech Bohemian[10] byli [ˈbɪlɪ] 'they were' Also described as close-mid front [e];[11] corresponds to close front [i] in Moravian Czech.[11] See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[7][8] hel [ˈhɪ̟ːˀl] 'whole' Fully front;[7][8] typically transcribed in IPA with - the way it is pronounced in the conservative variety.[12] The vowel transcribed in IPA with ɪ is pronounced similarly to the short /e/.[13] See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard[14][15] blik  [blɪk] 'glance' Also described as close-mid [ɪ̞] in Belgian Standard Dutch.[16] See Dutch phonology
Rotterdam[17] [blɪ̟k] Slightly more front and higher than in Standard Dutch.[17]
The Hague[17]
Orsmaal-Gussenhoven dialect[18] 'plate' Somewhat fronted.[18] See Orsmaal-Gussenhoven dialect phonology
English Many dialects bit  [bɪt] 'bit' See English phonology
Australian[6] [bɪ̟t] Fully front.[6] See Australian English phonology
New Zealand bed [bɪd] 'bed' Some speakers. For others it's more open [e], or even [ɛ], in the case of South African English.
South African
French Quebec petite [pət͡sɪt] 'small' Allophone of /i/ in closed syllables. See Quebec French phonology
German Standard[19][20][21] bitte  [ˈbɪtə] 'please' Described variously as front[19] and near-front.[20][21] See German phonology
Southern Bernese [ˈɣ̊lɪːd̥] 'cloth' Corresponds to [ɛi̯] in the city of Bern. See Bernese German phonology
Hindustani See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian[22] visz [vɪs] 'to carry' Typically transcribed in IPA with ɩ. See Hungarian phonology
Irish duine [dˠɪnʲə] 'person' See Irish phonology
Kaingang[23] [ɸɪˈɾi] 'rattlesnake' Atonic allophone of /i/ and /e/.[24]
Latin Classical timida [tɪmiːda] 'nervous' [i] in Ecclesiastical Latin
Limburgish Hamont dialect[25] noorderweend [ˈnoːʀdəʀβ̞ɪːnt] 'north wind' Standard Dutch-influenced pronunciation;[25] may be realized as []. See Hamont dialect phonology
Hasselt dialect[26] mìs [mɪs] 'wrong'
Weert dialect[27] zeen [zɪːn] 'to be' Allophone of /eə/ before nasals.[27]
Lithuanian viltis [vʲɪlʲˈtʲɪs] 'hope' See Lithuanian phonology
Luxembourgish[28] Been [bɪ̟ːn] 'leg' Fully front;[28] typically transcribed in IPA with . Also described as close-mid [].[29] See Luxembourgish phonology
Malay Malaysian and Singaporean pilih [piˈlɪh] 'choose', 'select' Allophone of /i/ in closed final syllables of root morphemes.
Mongolian[30] ? [xɪɾɘ̆] 'hillside'
Norwegian Standard Eastern[31][32] litt [l̻ɪ̟t̻ː] 'a little' Fully front;[31][32] also described as close [i].[33] See Norwegian phonology
Oromo Finfinne [fɪnˈfɪ́n.nɛ́] 'Natural Springs
(Addis Ababa)'
Plautdietsch winta [ˈvɪntə] 'winter'
Portuguese Brazilian[34] cine [ˈsinɪ] 'cine' Reduction and neutralization of unstressed /e/ (can be epenthetic), /ɛ/ and /i/. Can be unvoiced. See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi ਨਿੰਬੂ [nɪmbu] 'lemon'
Romanian Banat dialect[35] râu [rɪw] 'river' Corresponds to [ɨ] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Russian[36] дерево  [ˈdʲerʲɪvə] 'tree' Occurs only in unstressed syllables. See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic thig [hɪk] 'come' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Sema[37] pi [pì̞] 'to say' Fully front;[37] also described as close [i].[38]
Shiwiar[39] Allophone of /i/.[39]
Sicilian arrìriri [äˈʐːiɾɪɾɪ] 'smile' Allophone of /i/.
Slovak[40][41][42] rýchly [ˈrɪːxlɪ] 'fast' Backness varies between front and near-front.[40] See Slovak phonology
Slovene Standard[43] mira [ˈmɪ̀ːɾä] 'measure' Allophone of /i/ before /r/.[43] See Slovene phonology
Sorbian Upper[44] być [bɪt͡ʃ] 'to be' Allophone of /i/ after hard consonants.[44] See Upper Sorbian phonology
Spanish Eastern Andalusian[45] mis [mɪ̟ː] 'my' (pl.) Fully front. It corresponds to [i] in other dialects, but in these dialects they're distinct. See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central Standard[9] sill  [s̪ɪ̟l̪ː] 'herring' Fully front.[9] See Swedish phonology
Turkish[46] müşteri [my̠ʃt̪e̞ˈɾɪ] 'customer' Allophone of /i/ described variously as "word-final"[46] and "occurring in final open syllable of a phrase".[47] See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian[48] ходити [xoˈdɪtɪ] 'to walk' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese ch [cɪj˧ˀ˨] 'elder sister' See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian Hindeloopers beast [bɪːst] 'animal' See West Frisian phonology
Yoruba[49] Fully front; typically transcribed in IPA with ĩ. It is nasalized, and may be close [ĩ] instead.[49]

Icelandic i is often transcribed with ɪ, but it is actually close-mid [e].[50][51][52]


  1. "IPA Fonts: General Advice". International Phonetic Association. 2015. With any font you consider using, it is worth checking that the symbol for the centralized close front vowel (ɪ, U+026A) appears correctly with serifs top and bottom; that the symbol for the dental click (ǀ, U+01C0) is distinct from the lower-case L (l)
  2. Sans-serif fonts with serifed ɪ (despite having serifless capital I) include Arial, FreeSans and Lucida Sans.
    On the other hand, Segoe and Tahoma place serifs on ɪ as well as capital I.
    Finally, both are serifless in Calibri.
  3. International Phonetic Association (1999:167)
  4. Such as Árnason (2011)
  5. International Phonetic Association (1999:13)
  6. 1 2 3 Cox (2012:159)
  7. 1 2 3 Grønnum (1998:100)
  8. 1 2 3 Basbøll (2005:45)
  9. 1 2 3 Engstrand (1999:140)
  10. Dankovičová (1999:72)
  11. 1 2 Šimáčková, Podlipský & Chládková (2012:228–229)
  12. Ladefoged & Johnson (2010:227)
  13. Basbøll (2005:58)
  14. Collins & Mees (2003:128)
  15. Gussenhoven (1992:47)
  16. Verhoeven (2005:245)
  17. 1 2 3 Collins & Mees (2003:131)
  18. 1 2 Peters (2010:241)
  19. 1 2 Lodge (2009:87)
  20. 1 2 Kohler (1999:87)
  21. 1 2 Mangold (2005:37)
  22. Szende (1994:92)
  23. Jolkesky (2009:676–677 and 682)
  24. Jolkesky (2009:676 and 682)
  25. 1 2 Verhoeven (2007), p. 224.
  26. Peters (2006), p. 119.
  27. 1 2 Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998), p. 110.
  28. 1 2 Gilles & Trouvain (2013:70)
  29. Trouvain & Gilles (2009:75)
  30. Iivonen & Harnud (2005:62, 66–67)
  31. 1 2 Vanvik (1979:13)
  32. 1 2 Popperwell (2010:16, 18)
  33. Strandskogen (1979:15–16)
  34. Barbosa & Albano (2004:229)
  35. Pop (1938), p. 30.
  36. Jones & Ward (1969:37)
  37. 1 2 Teo (2012:368)
  38. Teo (2014:27)
  39. 1 2 Fast Mowitz (1975:2)
  40. 1 2 Pavlík (2004:93, 95)
  41. Hanulíková & Hamann (2010:375)
  42. Mistrík (1988:13)
  43. 1 2 Jurgec (2007), p. 3.
  44. 1 2 Šewc-Schuster (1984), p. 34.
  45. 1 2 Zamora Vicente (1967:?)
  46. 1 2 Göksel & Kerslake (2005:10)
  47. Zimmer & Organ (1999:155)
  48. Сучасна українська мова: Підручник / О.Д. Пономарів, В.В.Різун, Л.Ю.Шевченко та ін.; За ред. О.Д.пономарева. — 2-ге вид., перероб. —К.: Либідь, 2001. — с. 14
  49. 1 2 Bamgboṣe (1969:166)
  50. Árnason (2011:60)
  51. Einarsson (1945:10), cited in Gussmann (2011:73)
  52. Haugen (1958:65)


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