Open-mid back rounded vowel

Open-mid back rounded vowel
IPA number 306
Entity (decimal) ɔ
Unicode (hex) U+0254
Kirshenbaum O
Braille ⠣ (braille pattern dots-126)
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The open-mid back rounded vowel, or low-mid back rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɔ. The IPA symbol is a turned letter c and both the symbol and the sound are commonly called "open-o". The name open-o represents the sound, in that it is like the sound represented by o, the close-mid back rounded vowel, except it is more open. It also represents the symbol, which can be remembered as an o which has been "opened" by removing part of the closed circular shape.

The IPA prefers the 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".


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
Afrikaans Few speakers in the former Transvaal Province[1] daar [dɔːr] 'there' Much more often open [ɒː]. It is unrounded [ɑː] in standard Afrikaans.[2] See Afrikaans phonology
Albanian po [pɔ] 'yes'
ArabicTunisian mox [mɔχ] 'brain' Corresponds to [] for some words in other varieties.
ArmenianEastern[3] հողմ [hɔʁm] 'storm'
Assamese সমীয়া/Ôxômiya [ɔxɔmija] 'Assamese'
Assyrian Neo-AramaicUrmian dialect khwara [χwɔːra] 'white' Corresponds to [ɒ] in other varieties.
Bamana wɔɔrɔ [wɔːrɔ] 'six'
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[4] May be transcribed in IPA with ɒ.[4]
Bengali অর্থ [ɔrt̪ʰo] 'meaning' See Bengali phonology
Bulgarian[5] род [rɔt̪] 'kin' See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan[6] soc [ˈsɔk] 'clog' See Catalan phonology
ChineseCantonese /ngo5 [ŋɔː˩˧] 'I' See Cantonese phonology
Min /gōo [ɡɔ˨] 'five'
Wu /bo [bɔ˨˩˦] 'run'
Danish Standard[7] og [ɔʊ̯] 'and' Also described as near-open [ɔ̞].[8] It is most often transcribed in IPA with ɒ. See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard Belgian[9] och  [ʔɔˤx]  'alas' 'Very tense, with strong lip-rounding',[10] strongly pharyngealized[11] (although less so in standard Belgian[12]) and somewhat fronted.[9][13] See Dutch phonology
Standard Netherlandic[13]
Amelands hôl [hɔːl] 'hollow'
Belgian nauw [nɔ̞ː] 'narrow' Some dialects. Corresponds to [ɔu] in standard Belgian Dutch.
Dutch Low Saxon taol [tɔːɫ] 'language' May be lower [ɒː] in some dialects.
English Australian[14] not  [nɔt]  'not' See Australian English phonology
New Zealand[16] May be somewhat fronted.[17] Often transcribed in IPA with ɒ.
Received Pronunciation[18] /ɒ/ has shifted up in emerging RP.
General American[19] thought [θɔːt] 'thought' Mainly in speakers without the cot–caught merger. It may be from lower [ɒ]. See English phonology
Older Received Pronunciation[21] Higher [ɔ̝ː] for most other speakers.
Scottish[22] Many Scottish dialects exhibit the cot-caught merger, the outcome of which is a vowel of [ɔ] quality.
Sheffield[23] goat [ɡɔːt] 'goat'
Newfoundland[24] but [bɔt] 'but' Less commonly unrounded [ʌ].[24] See English phonology
Faroese góðan morgun [ˌɡɔuwan ˈmɔɹɡʊn] 'good morning'
French[25] sort [sɔ̜ːʁ] 'fate' See French phonology
Georgian[26] სწრი [st͡sʼɔɾi] 'correct'
German Standard[27] voll  [fɔl]  'full' See German phonology
Northern Bernese grad [ˈɡ̊rɔd̥] 'just now' May be lower [ɒ]. See Bernese German phonology
Icelandic[28][29][30] loft [ˈlɔft] 'air' Often diphthongized to [oɔ] when long.[31] See Icelandic phonology
Indonesian kodok [kɔdɔʔ] 'frog'
Italian[32] parola  [päˈrɔ̟ːlä]  'word' Fronted. See Italian phonology
Kaingang[33] [ˈpɔ] 'stone'
Lao [bɔː] 'origin'
Limburgish[34][35][36] mòn [mɔːn] 'moon' Corresponds to lower [ɒ̝ː] in the Maastrichtian dialect.[37] The example word is from the Hasselt dialect.[35]
Lingala mbɔ́ngɔ [ᵐbɔ́ᵑɡɔ] 'money'
Luxembourgish[38] Sonn [zɔn] 'son' Possible realization of /o/.[38] See Luxembourgish phonology
Macedonian коњ [kɔɲ] 'horse' See Macedonian phonology
Norwegian Some dialects[39] så [sɔː] 'so' Present e.g. in Telemark; realized as mid [ɔ̝ː] in other dialects.[39] See Norwegian phonology
Occitan òme [ˈɔme] 'man'
Polish[40] kot  [kɔt̪]  'cat' See Polish phonology
Portuguese Most dialects[41][42] fofoca [fɔˈfɔ̞kə] 'gossip' Stressed vowel might be lower. The presence and use of other unstressed ⟨o⟩ allophones, such as [ o ʊ u], varies according to dialect.
Some speakers[43] bronca [ˈbɾɔ̃kə] 'scolding' Stressed vowel, allophone of nasal vowel /õ̞/. See Portuguese phonology
Russian Some speakers[44] сухой  [s̪ʊˈxɔj]  'dry' More commonly realized as mid [].[44] See Russian phonology
Slovak Standard[45] ohúriť [ˈɔɦʊːrɪc̟] 'to stun' Backness varies between back and near-back; most commonly realized as mid [] instead.[45] See Slovak phonology
Spanish Eastern Andalusian tos [tɔː] 'cough' Allophone of /o/ before word-final underlying /s/, /θ/, and /x/. See Spanish phonology.
Sorbian Lower[46] osba [ˈpʂɔz̪bä] 'a request'
Upper[46][47] pos [pɔs̪] 'dog' See Upper Sorbian phonology
Swedish moll [mɔl] minor See Swedish phonology
Tajikтоҷикӣ[tɔːdʒɪˈkiː]'Tajik language'
Ukrainian вовк [β̞ɔu̯k] 'wolf' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese to [tɔ] 'large' See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian bôle [ˈbɔːɫə] 'bread'
Yoruba[48] Nasalized; may be near-open [ɔ̞̃] instead.[48]

See also


  1. Donaldson (1993), p. 6.
  2. Donaldson (1993), pp. 6–7.
  3. Dum-Tragut (2009:13)
  4. 1 2 Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  5. Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999:56)
  6. Carbonell & Llisterri (1992:54)
  7. Grønnum (1998:100)
  8. Basbøll (2005:47)
  9. 1 2 Verhoeven (2005:245)
  10. Collins & Mees (2003:132)
  11. Collins & Mees (2003:132, 222 and 224)
  12. Collins & Mees (2003:222)
  13. 1 2 Gussenhoven (1992:47)
  14. Harrington, Cox & Evans (1997)
  15. Wells (1982a:305)
  16. Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009a)
  17. Bauer et al. (2007:98)
  18. Wikström (2013:45), "It seems to be the case that younger RP or near-RP speakers typically use a closer quality, possibly approaching Cardinal 6 considering that the quality appears to be roughly intermediate between that used by older speakers for the LOT vowel and that used for the THOUGHT vowel, while older speakers use a more open quality, between Cardinal Vowels 13 and 6."
  19. Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009b)
  20. Lodge (2009:168)
  21. Wells (1982a:293)
  22. Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006:7)
  23. Stoddart, Upton and Widowson in Urban Voices, Arnold, London, 1999, page 74
  24. 1 2 Wells (1982b:498)
  25. Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  26. Shosted & Chikovani (2006:261–262)
  27. Mangold (2005:37)
  28. Árnason (2011:60)
  29. Einarsson (1945:10), cited in Gussmann (2011:73)
  30. Haugen (1958:65)
  31. Árnason (2011:57–60)
  32. Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:119)
  33. Jolkesky (2009:676–677 and 682)
  34. Verhoeven (2007:221)
  35. 1 2 Peters (2006:118–119)
  36. Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998:110)
  37. Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:158–159)
  38. 1 2 Gilles & Trouvain (2013:70)
  39. 1 2 Popperwell (2010:26)
  40. Jassem (2003:105)
  41. Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91)
  42. Variação inter- e intra-dialetal no português brasileiro: um problema para a teoria fonológica – Seung-Hwa LEE & Marco A. de Oliveira
  43. Lista das marcas dialetais e ouros fenómenos de variação (fonética e fonológica) identificados nas amostras do Arquivo Dialetal do CLUP (Portuguese)
  44. 1 2 Jones & Ward (1969:56)
  45. 1 2 Pavlík (2004:94–95)
  46. 1 2 Stone (2002:600)
  47. Šewc-Schuster (1984:20)
  48. 1 2 Bamgboṣe (1969:166)


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