Close back rounded vowel

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Template:Infobox IPA Template:IPA vowels

The close back rounded vowel, or high back rounded vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is Template:Angbr IPA, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is u.

In most languages, this rounded vowel is pronounced with protruded lips ('endolabial'). However, in a few cases the lips are compressed ('exolabial').

The close back rounded vowel is almost identical featurally to the labio-velar approximant Template:IPA. Template:IPA alternates with Template:IPA in certain languages, such as French, and in the diphthongs of some languages, Template:IPA with the non-syllabic diacritic and Template:IPA are used in different transcription systems to represent the same sound.

Close back protruded vowel

The close back protruded vowel is the most common variant of the close back rounded vowel. It is typically transcribed in IPA simply as Template:Angbr IPA (the convention used in this article). As there is no dedicated IPA diacritic for protrusion, the symbol for the close back rounded vowel with an old diacritic for labialization, Template:Angbr IPA, can be used as an ad hoc symbol Template:Angbr IPA. Another possible transcription is Template:Angbr IPA or Template:Angbr IPA (a close back vowel modified by endolabialization), but that could be misread as a diphthong.


Template:Close vowel Template:Back vowel Template:Protruded vowel


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans StandardTemplate:Sfnp boek Template:IPA 'book' Only weakly rounded.Template:Sfnp See Afrikaans phonology
Arabic StandardTemplate:Sfnp جنوب Template:IPA 'south' See Arabic phonology
Armenian EasternTemplate:Sfnp դուռ Template:IPA 'door'
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[2] Template:Example needed
BulgarianTemplate:Sfnp луд Template:IPA 'crazy' See Bulgarian phonology
CatalanTemplate:Sfnp suc Template:IPA 'juice' See Catalan phonology
Chinese MandarinTemplate:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp / tǔ Template:IPA 'earth' See Standard Chinese phonology
CantoneseTemplate:Sfnp / fū Template:Audio-IPA 'man' See Cantonese phonology
ShanghaineseTemplate:Sfnp Template:IPA 'melon' Height varies between close and close-mid; contrasts with a close to close-mid back compressed vowel.Template:Sfnp
Danish StandardTemplate:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp du Template:IPA 'you' See Danish phonology
Dutch StandardTemplate:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp voet Template:Audio-IPA 'foot' Somewhat fronted in Belgian Standard Dutch.Template:Sfnp
English AustralianTemplate:Sfnp book Template:IPA 'book' Also described as near-close near-back Template:IPAblink;Template:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp corresponds to Template:IPAblink in other accents. See Australian English phonology
Cape FlatsTemplate:Sfnp May be advanced to Template:IPAblink, or lowered and unrounded to Template:IPAblink.Template:Sfnp See South African English phonology
Cultivated South AfricanTemplate:Sfnp boot Template:IPA 'boot' Typically more front than cardinal Template:IPA. Instead of being back, it may be central Template:IPAblink in Geordie and RP, and front Template:IPAblink in Multicultural London. See English phonology and South African English phonology
General AmericanTemplate:Sfnp
Multicultural LondonTemplate:Sfnp
Received PronunciationTemplate:Sfnp
PakistaniTemplate:Sfnp Template:IPA
Greater New York City Template:IPA[3]
New Zealand[4]Template:Sfnp treacle Template:IPA 'treacle' Possible realization of the unstressed vowel Template:IPA, which is variable in rounding and ranges from central to (more often) back and close to close-mid.[4]Template:Sfnp Corresponds to Template:IPA in other accents. See New Zealand English phonology
EstonianTemplate:Sfnp sule Template:IPA 'feather' (gen. sg.) See Estonian phonology
FinnishTemplate:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp kukka Template:IPA 'flower' See Finnish phonology
FaroeseTemplate:Sfnp gulur Template:IPA 'yellow' See Faroese phonology
FrenchTemplate:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp Template:Audio-IPA 'where' See French phonology
GeorgianTemplate:Sfnp და Template:IPA 'leather bag'
German StandardTemplate:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp Fuß Template:Audio-IPA 'foot' See Standard German phonology
Many speakersTemplate:Sfnp Stunde Template:IPA 'hour' The usual realization of Template:IPA in Switzerland, Austria and partially also in Western and Southwestern Germany (Palatinate, Swabia).Template:Sfnp See Standard German phonology
Greek Modern StandardTemplate:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp που / pu Template:IPA 'where' See Modern Greek phonology
HungarianTemplate:Sfnp út Template:IPA 'way' See Hungarian phonology
IcelandicTemplate:Sfnp[5] þú Template:IPA 'you' See Icelandic phonology
ItalianTemplate:Sfnp tutto Template:IPA 'all', 'everything' See Italian phonology
KaingangTemplate:Sfnp nduki Template:IPA 'in the belly'
Korean / nun Template:IPA 'snow' See Korean phonology
[[Kurdish languages|KurdishTemplate:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp]][50]Template:Sfnp[6] Kurmanji (Northern) çû Template:IPA 'wood' See Kurdish phonology
Sorani (Central) چوو
Palewani (Southern)
Latin ClassicalTemplate:Sfnp sus Template:IPA 'pig'
LimburgishTemplate:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp sjoen Template:IPA 'beautiful' BackTemplate:Sfnp or near-back,Template:Sfnp depending on the dialect. The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Lower SorbianTemplate:Sfnp zub Template:IPA 'tooth'
LuxembourgishTemplate:Sfnp Luucht Template:IPA 'air' See Luxembourgish phonology
MongolianTemplate:Sfnp үүр Template:IPA 'nest'
Persian دور [duɾ] 'far' See Persian phonology
PolishTemplate:Sfnp buk Template:Audio-IPA 'beech tree' Also represented orthographically by Template:Angbr. See Polish phonology
PortugueseTemplate:Sfnp tu Template:IPA 'you' See Portuguese phonology
RomanianTemplate:Sfnp unu Template:IPA 'one' See Romanian phonology
RussianTemplate:Sfnp узкий Template:Audio-IPA 'narrow' See Russian phonology
Serbo-CroatianTemplate:Sfnp дуга / duga Template:IPA 'rainbow' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
ShiwiarTemplate:Sfnp Template:Example needed
SpanishTemplate:Sfnp curable Template:IPA 'curable' See Spanish phonology
SothoTemplate:Sfnp tumo Template:IPA 'fame' Contrasts close, near-close and close-mid back rounded vowels.Template:Sfnp See Sotho phonology
Swahili ubongo [ubongo] 'brain'
ThaiTemplate:Sfnp สุด Template:IPA 'rearmost'
TurkishTemplate:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp uzak Template:IPA 'far' See Turkish phonology
UdmurtTemplate:Sfnp урэтэ Template:IPA 'to divide'
UkrainianTemplate:Sfnp рух Template:IPA 'motion' See Ukrainian phonology
Upper SorbianTemplate:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp žuk Template:IPA 'beetle' See Upper Sorbian phonology
YorubaTemplate:Sfnp Template:Example needed
Zapotec TilquiapanTemplate:Sfnp gdu Template:IPA 'all'

Close back compressed vowel

Template:Infobox IPA Some languages, such as Japanese and Swedish, have a close back vowel that has a distinct type of rounding, called compressed or exolabial.Template:Sfnp Only Shanghainese is known to contrast it with the more typical protruded (endolabial) close back vowel, but the height of both vowels varies from close to close-mid.Template:Sfnp

There is no dedicated diacritic for compression in the IPA. However, compression of the lips can be shown with the letter Template:IPAalink as Template:Angbr IPA (simultaneous Template:IPA and labial compression) or Template:Angbr IPA (Template:IPA modified with labial compression). The spread-lip diacritic Template:Angbr IPA may also be used with a rounded vowel letter Template:Angbr IPA as an ad hoc symbol, but 'spread' technically means unrounded.


Template:Close vowel Template:Back vowel Template:Compressed vowel


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Chinese ShanghaineseTemplate:Sfnp Template:IPA 'capital' Height varies between close and close-mid; contrasts with a close to close-mid back protruded vowel.Template:Sfnp
JapaneseTemplate:Sfnp 空気 / Template:Transl Template:Audio-IPA 'air' Near-back; may be realized as central Template:IPAblink by younger speakers.Template:Sfnp See Japanese phonology
LizuTemplate:Sfnp Template:IPATemplate:What 'feather' Near-back.Template:Sfnp
NorwegianTemplate:Sfnp[7] mot Template:IPA 'courage' The example word is from Urban East Norwegian, in which the vowel can be diphthongized to Template:IPA.Template:Sfnp See Norwegian phonology
Swedish Central StandardTemplate:SfnpTemplate:Sfnp oro Template:IPA 'unease' Often realized as a sequence Template:IPA or Template:IPATemplate:Sfnp (hear the word: Template:Audio-IPA). See Swedish phonology

See also


  1. Template:Vowel terminology
  2. Template:Harvcoltxt, cited in Template:Harvcoltxt
  3. Labov, William; Ash, Sharon; Boberg, Charles (2006). The Atlas of North American English. chpt. 17. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "NZE Phonology" (PDF). Victoria University of Wellington. p. 3. 
  5. Template:Harvcoltxt, cited in Template:Harvcoltxt
  6. Fattah describes the sound as being voyelle longue centrale arrondie (p. 116).
  7. While Template:Harvcoltxt does not describe the exact type of rounding of this vowel, some other sources (e.g. Template:Harvcoltxt and Template:Harvcoltxt) state explicitly that it is compressed.


External links

Template:IPA navigation