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Open-mid back unrounded vowel

Open-mid back unrounded vowel
IPA number 314
Entity (decimal) ʌ
Unicode (hex) U+028C
Kirshenbaum V
Braille ⠬ (braille pattern dots-346)
IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
i • y
ɨ • ʉ
ɯ • u
ɪ • ʏ
ɪ̈ • ʊ̈
ɯ̽ • ʊ
e • ø
ɘ • ɵ
ɤ • o
 • ø̞
ə • ɵ̞
ɤ̞ • 
ɛ • œ
ɜ • ɞ
ʌ • ɔ
æ • 
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]

IPA help • IPA key • chart • Loudspeaker.svg chart with audio •

The open-mid back unrounded vowel, or low-mid back unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. Acoustically it is an open-mid back-central unrounded vowel. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʌ⟩, graphically a rotated lowercase "v" (called a turned V, though it was created as a small-capital ⟨ᴀ⟩ without the crossbar), and both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as either a wedge, a caret, or a hat. In transcriptions for English, this symbol is commonly used for the near-open central unrounded vowel, whereas in transcriptions for Danish, it is used for the (somewhat mid-centralized) open back rounded vowel.

The IPA prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowels, and the name of the article follows this. However, linguists are known to use the terms "high" and "low".

Before World War II, the /ʌ/ of Received Pronunciation was phonetically close to a back vowel [ʌ]; this sound has since shifted forward towards [ɐ] (a near-open central unrounded vowel). Daniel Jones reports his speech (southern British), as having an advanced back vowel [ʌ̟] between his central /ə/ and back /ɔ/; however, he also reports that other southern speakers had a lower and even more advanced vowel approaching cardinal [a]. In American English varieties, e.g. the West and Midwest, and the urban South, the typical phonetic realization of the phoneme /ʌ/ is an open-mid central [ɜ]. Truly backed variants of /ʌ/ that are phonetically [ʌ] can occur in Inland Northern American English, Newfoundland English, Philadelphia English, some African-American Englishes, and (old-fashioned) white Southern English in coastal plain and Piedmont areas. Despite this, the letter ⟨ʌ⟩ is still commonly used to indicate this phoneme, even in the more common varieties with central variants [ɐ] or [ɜ]. This may be due to both tradition as well as the fact that some other dialects retain the older pronunciation.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
English Cape Town lot [lʌ̟t] 'lot' Near-back. It corresponds to a weakly rounded [ɒ̈] in all other South African dialects. See South African English phonology
Cardiff thought [θʌ̟ːt] 'thought' Near-back, for some speakers it may be rounded and closer. See English phonology
General South African no [nʌː] 'no' May be a diphthong [ʌʊ̯] instead. See South African English phonology
General American gut About this sound [ɡʌt]  'gut' In most dialects, fronted to [ɜ], or fronted and lowered to [ɐ]. See English phonology and Northern Cities Vowel Shift
Inland Northern American
Multicultural London
Some Estuary English speakers
French Picardy alors [aˈlʌʀ̥] 'so' Corresponding to /ɔ/ in standard French.
German Chemnitz dialect machen [ˈmʌχɴ̩] 'to do' Allophone of /ʌ, ʌː/ (which phonetically are central [ɜ, ɜː]) before and after /ŋ, kʰ, k, χ, ʁ/. Exact backness varies; it is most posterior before /χ, ʁ/. See Chemnitz dialect phonology
Haida [qʰwʌʔáːj] 'the rock' Allophone of /a/ (sometimes also /aː/) after uvular and epiglottal consonants.
Irish Ulster dialect ola [ʌl̪ˠə] 'oil' See Irish phonology
Kaingang [ˈɾʌ] 'mark' Varies between back [ʌ] and central [ɜ].
Kensiu [hʌ̟ʎ] 'stream' Near-back.
Korean /byeol [pjʌl] 'star' See Korean phonology
Lillooet Retracted counterpart of /ə/.
Russian Standard Saint Petersburg голова [ɡəɫ̪ʌˈvä] 'head' Corresponds to [ɐ] in standard Moscow pronunciation; occurs mostly immediately before stressed syllables. See Russian phonology
Tamil Nasalized. Phonetic realization of the sequence /am/, may be [õ] or [ã] instead. See Tamil phonology



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