Close front unrounded vowel

Close front unrounded vowel
IPA number 301
Entity (decimal) i
Unicode (hex) U+0069
Kirshenbaum i
Braille ⠊ (braille pattern dots-24)
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The close front unrounded vowel, or high front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound that occurs in most spoken languages, represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet by the symbol i. It is similar to the vowel sound in the English word meet—and often called long-e in American English[1]—although in English this sound has additional length (usually being represented as /iː/) and is not normally pronounced as a pure vowel (it is a slight diphthong) – a purer [i] sound is heard in many other languages, such as French, in words like chic.

The close front unrounded vowel is the vocalic equivalent of the palatal approximant [j]. The two are almost identical featurally. They alternate with each other in certain languages, such as French, and in the diphthongs of some languages, [i̯] with the non-syllabic diacritic and [j] are used in different transcription systems to represent the same sound.

Languages that use the Latin script commonly use the letter i to represent this sound, though there are some exceptions: in English orthography that letter is usually associated with /aɪ/ (as in bite) or /ɪ/ (as in bit), and /iː/ is more commonly represented by e, ea, ee, ie or ei, as in the words scene, bean, meet, niece, conceive; (see Great Vowel Shift). Irish orthography reflects both etymology and whether preceding consonants are broad or slender, so such combinations as , ei, and aío all represent /iː/.


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
This table contains phonetic symbols, which may not display correctly in some browsers. [Help]

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Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Arabic Standard[2] دين [d̪iːn]'religion' See Arabic phonology
ArmenianEastern[3] իմ [im] 'my'
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[4]
Bengali গল [igɔl] 'eagle' See Bengali phonology
Bulgarian[5] кит [kit̪] 'whale' See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan[6] sis [ˈs̠is̠] 'six' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Mandarin[7] /qī  [tɕʰi˥] 'seven' See Standard Chinese phonology
Czech Standard[8][9] bílý  [ˈbiːliː] 'white' See Czech phonology
Moravian[10] byli [ˈbili] 'they were' Corresponds to [e] (also described as [ɪ])[8] in Bohemian Czech.[10] See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[11][12][13] mile [ˈmiːlə] 'dune' See Danish phonology
Dutch[14] biet  [bit] 'beet' See Dutch phonology
English[15] free  [fɹiː] 'free' Depending on dialect, can be pronounced as a diphthong. See English phonology
Estonian[16] tiik [tiːk] 'pond' See Estonian phonology
Finnish[17][18] viisi [ˈviːsi] 'five' See Finnish phonology
French[19] fini [fini] 'finished' See French phonology
Georgian[20] სამ [ˈsɑmi]'three'
German Standard[21] Ziel  [t͡siːl] 'goal' See German phonology
Hindustani बच्ची [bət͡ʃiː] 'girl' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian[22] ív [iːv] 'arch' See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic[23][24][25] fínt [fin̥t] 'fine' See Icelandic phonology
Italian[26] bile [ˈbiːle] 'rage' See Italian phonology
Japanese[27] /gin  [ɡʲiɴ] 'silver' See Japanese phonology
Kaingang[28] [ˈndukːi] 'in the belly'
Limburgish[29][30][31][32] bies [bis] 'animal' The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Luxembourgish[33][34] Kiischt [kʰiːʃt] 'cherry' See Luxembourgish phonology
Polish[35] miś  [ˈmʲiɕ] 'teddy bear' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[36] fino [ˈfinu] 'thin' Also occurs as an unstressed allophone of other vowels. May be represented by y. See Portuguese phonology
Russian[37] лист  [lʲis̪t̪] 'leaf' Only occurs word-initially or after palatalized consonants. See Russian phonology
Sema[38] pi [pì] 'to say' Also described as near-close front [].[39]
Sioux Lakota[41][42] ǧí [ʀí]'it's brown'
Slovak[43] rýchly [ˈriːxli] 'fast' Backness varies between front and near-front; most commonly, it is realized as near-close [ɪ] instead.[44] See Slovak phonology
Spanish[45] tipo [ˈt̪ipo̞] 'type' May also be represented by y. See Spanish phonology
Sorbian Lower[46] kij [kʲij] 'stick'
Upper[46][47] bić [bʲit͡ʃ] 'to beat' See Upper Sorbian phonology
Thai[48] กริช [krìt] 'dagger'
Turkish[49][50] ip [ip] 'rope' See Turkish phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[52] diza [d̪iza] 'Zapotec'


  1. Maddox, Maeve. "DailyWritingTips: The Six Spellings of "Long E"". Retrieved July 20, 2014. External link in |website= (help)
  2. Thelwall (1990:38)
  3. Dum-Tragut (2009:13)
  4. Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  5. Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999:56)
  6. Carbonell & Llisterri (1992:54)
  7. Lee & Zee (2003:110))
  8. 1 2 Dankovičová (1999:72)
  9. Šimáčková, Podlipský & Chládková (2012:228)
  10. 1 2 Šimáčková, Podlipský & Chládková (2012:228–229)
  11. Grønnum (2005:268)
  12. Basbøll (2005:45)
  13. "John Wells's phonetic blog: Danish". 5 November 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2015. Wells's impression is that this vowel is slightly centralized [ï].
  14. Gussenhoven (1992:47)
  15. Roach (2004:240)
  16. Asu & Teras (2009:368)
  17. Iivonen & Harnud (2005:60, 66)
  18. Suomi, Toivanen & Ylitalo (2008:21)
  19. Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  20. Shosted & Chikovani (2006:261–262)
  21. Kohler (1999:87), Mangold (2005:37)
  22. Szende (1994:92)
  23. Árnason (2011:60)
  24. Einarsson (1945:10), cited in Gussmann (2011:73)
  25. Haugen (1958:65)
  26. Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:119)
  27. Okada (1991:94)
  28. Jolkesky (2009:676–677 and 682)
  29. Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:159)
  30. Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998:110)
  31. Peters (2006:119)
  32. Verhoeven (2007:221)
  33. Trouvain & Gilles (2009:75)
  34. Gilles & Trouvain (2013:70)
  35. Jassem (2003:105)
  36. Cruz-Ferreira (1995:92)
  37. Jones & Ward (1969:30)
  38. Teo (2014:27)
  39. Teo (2012:368)
  40. Fast Mowitz (1975:2)
  41. Rood & Taylor (1996)
  42. Lakota Language Consortium (2004). ALPHABET alphabet.htm Lakota letters and sounds.
  43. Pavlík (2004:95)
  44. Pavlík (2004:93, 95)
  45. Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:256)
  46. 1 2 Stone (2002:600)
  47. Šewc-Schuster (1984:20)
  48. Tingsabadh & Abramson (1993:24)
  49. Zimmer & Organ (1999:155)
  50. Göksel & Kerslake (2005:10)
  51. Bamgboṣe (1969:166)
  52. Merrill (2008:109)


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