Open-mid front unrounded vowel

Open-mid front unrounded vowel
IPA number 303
Entity (decimal) ɛ
Unicode (hex) U+025B
Kirshenbaum E
Braille ⠜ (braille pattern dots-345)
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The open-mid front unrounded vowel, or low-mid 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 a Latinized variant of the Greek lowercase epsilon, ɛ.

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".


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
Akan pɛ [pʰɛ] 'to like'
Albanian tre [tɾɛ] 'three'
Arabic كريب [kɾɛp] 'crêpe' Only in loanwords and used by a small number of speakers, depending on country of origin. See Arabic phonology.
ArmenianEastern[1]էջ [ɛd͡ʒ] 'page'
Assamese তিয়া [ɛtija] 'now'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic mes [mɛːs] 'table' Used predominantly in the Tyari, Barwari and Chaldean Neo-Aramaic dialects. Corresponds to [i] in other varieties.
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[2] May be transcribed in IPA with æ.[2]
Bulgarian[3] пет [pɛt̪] 'five' See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan[4] mel [mɛɫ] 'honey' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Cantonese /se4 [sɛː˩] 'snake' See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin /nian [njɛn˧˥] 'year' Varies between open and mid. See Mandarin phonology
Wu ngae [ŋɛ˥˨] 'face'
Czech[5][6][7] led [lɛt] 'ice' In Bohemian Czech, this vowel varies between open-mid front [ɛ], open-mid near-front [ɛ̠] and mid near-front [ɛ̝̈].[5] See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[8][9] frisk [ˈfʁ̞ɛsɡ̊] 'fresh' Most often transcribed in IPA with æ. See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard[10] bed  [bɛt]  'bed' See Dutch phonology
The Hague[11] jij  [jɛ̞ː]  'you' Corresponds to [ɛi] in standard Dutch.
English General American[12] bed  [bɛd]  'bed'
Northern English[13] May be somewhat lowered.[14]
Received Pronunciation[15][16] Older RP speakers pronounce a closer vowel []. See English phonology
Cockney[18] fat [fɛt] 'fat'
New Zealand[20]
Some Broad South African speakers[21] Other speakers realize this vowel as [æ] or [a].
Belfast[22] days [dɛːz] 'days' Pronounced [iə] in closed syllables; corresponds to [eɪ] in RP.
Zulu[23] mate [mɛt] 'mate' Speakers exhibit a met-mate merger.
Estonian[24] sule [ˈsulɛˑ] 'feather' (gen. sg.) Common word-final allophone of /e/.[25] See Estonian phonology
Faroese elska [ɛlska] 'love'
French[26] bête  [bɛt̪]  'beast' See French phonology
Galician pé [pɛ] 'foot'
Georgian[27] გედი [ɡɛdɪ] 'swan'
German Standard[28] Bett  [bɛt]  'bed' Also described as mid near-front [ɛ̝̈].[29] See Standard German phonology
Hindustani شَہَر / शहर [ʃɛɦɛr] 'city' See Hindustani phonology
Icelandic[30][31][32] kenna [ˈcʰɛnːa] 'to teach' Often diphthongized to [eɛ] when long.[33] See Icelandic phonology
Italian[34] bene  [ˈbɛːne]  'good' See Italian phonology
Kaingang[35] [ˈᵐbɾɛ] 'with'
Korean 태도 [tʰɛːdo] 'attitude' Currently merging with [e] in Seoul dialects. See Korean phonology
Limburgish[36][37][38] crème [kʀ̝ɛːm] 'cream' The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.[39]
Lithuanian mane [mɐˈnʲɛ] 'me' (acc.)
Luxembourgish[40][41] Stär [ʃtɛːɐ̯] 'star' Allophone of /eː/ before /ʀ/.[41] See Luxembourgish phonology
Macedonian елен [ˈɛl̪ɛn̪] 'deer' See Macedonian phonology
Ngwe Njoagwi dialect [lɛ̀rɛ́] 'eye'
North Frisian tech [tɛx] 'closed'
Polish[42] ten  [t̪ɛn̪]  'this one' (nom. m.) See Polish phonology
Portuguese Most dialects[43][44] meleca [mɛˈl̪ɛ̞kə] 'goo' Stressed vowel might be lower [æ]. The presence and use of other unstressed ⟨e⟩ allophones, such as [ e ɪ i ɨ], varies according to dialect.
Some speakers[45] tempo [ˈt̪ɛ̃pu] 'time' Stressed vowel, allophone of nasal vowel /ẽ̞/. See Portuguese phonology
Romanian Transylvanian dialects[46] vede [ˈvɛɟe] '(he) sees' Corresponds to mid [] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Russian[47] это  [ˈɛt̪ə]  'this' See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic aig [ɛk] 'at' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Seri me [mɛ] 'you'
Shiwiar[48] Allophone of /a/.
Slovak[7] behať [ˈbɛɦäc̟] 'to run' Rare realization of /e/; most commonly realized as mid [].[7] See Slovak phonology
Spanish Eastern Andalusian[49] las madres [læ̞ː ˈmæ̞ːð̞ɾɛː] 'the mothers' Corresponds to [] in other dialects, but in these dialects they're distinct. See Spanish phonology
Sorbian Lower[50] serp [s̪ɛrp] 'sickle'
Upper[50][51] čelo [ˈt͡ʃɛlɔ] 'calf' See Upper Sorbian phonology
Swedish Central Standard[52] ät [ɛ̠ːt̪] 'eat' (imp.) Somewhat retracted. See Swedish phonology
Tagalog babae [bɐˈbaɛː] 'woman' Can also be pronounced as []. See Tagalog phonology
Turkish[53][54] ülke [y̠l̠ˈcɛ] 'country' Allophone of /e/ described variously as "word-final"[53] and "occurring in final open syllable of a phrase".[54] See Turkish phonology
Ukrainian береза  [bɛˈrɛz̪ɐ]  'birch' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese e [ɛ] 'to fear' See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian têd [tɛːt] 'languid'
Yoruba[55] sẹ̀ [ɛ̄sɛ] 'leg'

The vowel transcribed in IPA with ɛ in Standard Eastern Norwegian is actually mid.[56]

See also


  1. Dum-Tragut (2009:13)
  2. 1 2 Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  3. Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999:56)
  4. Carbonell & Llisterri (1992:54)
  5. 1 2 Dankovičová (1999:72)
  6. Šimáčková, Podlipský & Chládková (2012:228)
  7. 1 2 3 Kráľ (1988:92)
  8. Grønnum (1998:100)
  9. Basbøll (2005:45)
  10. Gussenhoven (1992), p. 47.
  11. Collins & Mees (2003:136)
  12. Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009a)
  13. Lodge (2009:163), Watson (2007:357), Watt & Allen (2003:268)
  14. Lodge (2009:163)
  15. Schmitt (2007:322–323)
  16. "Received Pronunciation". British Library. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  17. Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006:7)
  18. Hughes & Trudgill (1979:35)
  19. Bet Hashim & Brown (2000)
  20. Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009b)
  21. Lanham (1967:9)
  22. "Week 18 (ii). Northern Ireland" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  23. Rodrik Wade, MA Thesis, Ch 4: Structural characteristics of Zulu English at the Wayback Machine (archived May 17, 2008)
  24. Asu & Teras (2009:368–369)
  25. Asu & Teras (2009:369)
  26. Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  27. Shosted & Chikovani (2006:261–262)
  28. Mangold (2005:37)
  29. Kohler (1999:87)
  30. Árnason (2011:60)
  31. Einarsson (1945:10), cited in Gussmann (2011:73)
  32. Haugen (1958:65)
  33. Árnason (2011:57–60)
  34. Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:119)
  35. Jolkesky (2009:676–677 and 682)
  36. Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:159)
  37. Peters (2006:119)
  38. Verhoeven (2007:221)
  39. Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:158)
  40. Trouvain & Gilles (2009:75)
  41. 1 2 Gilles & Trouvain (2013:70)
  42. Jassem (2003:105)
  43. Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91)
  44. Variação inter- e intra-dialetal no português brasileiro: um problema para a teoria fonológica – Seung-Hwa LEE & Marco A. de Oliveira
  45. Lista das marcas dialetais e ouros fenómenos de variação (fonética e fonológica) identificados nas amostras do Arquivo Dialetal do CLUP
  46. Pop (1938), p. 29.
  47. Jones & Ward (1969:41)
  48. Fast Mowitz (1975:2)
  49. 1 2 Zamora Vicente (1967:?)
  50. 1 2 Stone (2002:600)
  51. Šewc-Schuster (1984:20)
  52. Engstrand (1999:140)
  53. 1 2 Göksel & Kerslake (2005:10)
  54. 1 2 Zimmer & Organ (1999:155)
  55. Bamgboṣe (1969:166)
  56. Vanvik (1979:13)


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