Open-mid central unrounded vowel

Open-mid central unrounded vowel
IPA number 326
Entity (decimal) ɜ
Unicode (hex) U+025C
Kirshenbaum V"
Braille ⠲ (braille pattern dots-256)⠜ (braille pattern dots-345)
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The open-mid central unrounded vowel, or low-mid central 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 ɜ. The IPA symbol is not the digit 3 or the Cyrillic small letter Ze (з; the latter arose from the Greek letter zeta, Ζ ζ). The symbol is instead a reversed Latinized variant of the lowercase epsilon, ɛ. The value was specified only in 1993; until then, it had been transcribed ɛ̈.

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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Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Chinese Shanghainese[1] [kɜʔ4] 'to reform' Allophone of /ə/ in syllables closed by a glottal stop; may be as open as [ɐ] for some speakers.[2]
Catalan Northwestern Marieta [mɐɾɪ̝ˈë̞t̪ɛ̈] 'little Mary' Possible word-final allophone of unstressed /a/. See Catalan phonology
Cotabato Manobo[3] [bätɜʔ] 'child' Allophone of /a/ before glottal consonants; may be transcribed in IPA with ʌ.[3]
Dinka Luanyjang[4] laŋ [lɜ́ŋ] 'berry' Short allophone of /a/.[4]
Dutch[5] grappig [ˈχɾɑpɜχ] 'funny' Possible realization of /ə/.[5] See Dutch phonology
English Received Pronunciation[6] bird [bɜːd] 'bird' Sulcalized (the tongue is grooved like in [ɹ]). 'Upper Crust RP' speakers pronounce a more open vowel [ɐː], but for most other speakers it's actually mid ([ɜ̝ː]). This vowel corresponds to rhotacized [ɝ] in rhotic dialects.
Norfolk[7] bet [bɜ̟ʔ] 'bet' Somewhat fronted,[7] corresponds to /ɛ/ in other dialects.
Great Lakes region [bɜ̟ˀt] Corresponds to /ɛ/ in other dialects, may be near-open central [ɐ] instead. See Northern Cities Vowel Shift
Ohio[8] bust [bɜst] 'bust' The most common realization of the vowel transcribed in IPA with ʌ in American English. Nevertheless, it is not a standard pronunciation throughout the whole country.[6][8]
Most of Texas[8]
Northern Welsh[9] Some speakers.[9] Corresponds to [ə] (or a further back vowel) in other Welsh dialects.[10]
Scottish[11] [bɜ̠st] Somewhat retracted; may be more back [ʌ] instead.
German Chemnitz dialect[12] passe [ˈpɜsə] 'I pass' Typically transcribed in IPA with ʌ. See Chemnitz dialect phonology
Jebero[13] [ˈkɘnmɜʔ] 'indigenous person' Allophone of /a/ in closed syllables.[13]
Kaingang[14] [ˈɾɜ] 'mark' Varies between central [ɜ] and back [ʌ].[15]
Kalagan Kaagan[16] [mɜˈt̪äs] 'tall' Allophone of /a/; may be transcribed in IPA with ʌ.[16]
Ladin Some dialects Urtijëi  [uχt̪iˈʒɜj]  'Urtijëi'
Mapudungun[18] füta [ˈfɘtɜ] 'elderly person' Unstressed allophone of /ɐ/.[18]
Northern Tiwa Taos dialect [ʔɜ̃̄mˈpʊ̄i̯ˌwæ̀ˑʔɪ̄nã̄] 'his friends' Allophone of /æ/ and /ɑ/. See Taos phonology
Paicî [mbʷɜ̄] 'remainder'
Romanian Standard[19] măr [mɜ̠r] 'apple' Somewhat retracted;[19] also described as mid [ə]. See Romanian phonology
Transylvanian dialects[20] a [aˈʂɜ] 'such' Corresponds to [ä] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Sama Sibutu[21] [ˈsäpɜw] 'roof' Allophone of /a/; may be transcribed in IPA with ʌ.[21]
Vietnamese Southern bên [ˀɓɜːn˧˥] 'side' Allophone of /e/ before /t, n/. See Vietnamese phonology
Xumi Upper[22] [Rbɜ] 'pot, pan'
Yiddish Standard[23] ענלעך [ˈɛnlɜχ] 'similar' Unstressed vowel.[23] See Yiddish phonology



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