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Open central unrounded vowel

Open central unrounded vowel
ɑ̈
ɐ̞
IPA number 304 415
Encoding
Entity (decimal) a​̈
Unicode (hex) U+0061 U+0308
X-SAMPA a_" or a_- or A_" or 6_o
Sound
IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Close
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
Near-close
Close-mid
Mid
Open-mid
Near-open
Open
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 central unrounded vowel, or low central unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. While the International Phonetic Alphabet officially has no dedicated letter for this sound between front [a] and back [ɑ], it is normally written ⟨a⟩. If precision is required, it can be specified by using diacritics, such as centralized ⟨ä⟩ or retracted ⟨⟩, but this is not common.

Acoustically, however, [a] is an extra-low central vowel. It is more common to use plain [a] for an open central vowel and, if needed, [æ] (officially near-open front vowel) for an open front vowel. Alternatively, Sinologists may use the letter ⟨⟩ (small capital A). The IPA voted against officially adopting this symbol in 2011–2012.

The Hamont dialect of Limburgish has been reported to contrast long open front, central and back unrounded vowels, which is extremely unusual.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic kalu [kʰälu] 'bride' May be realized as [a] and [æ] in the Urmia, Nochiya and Jilu dialects. In the Tyari dialect, [ɑ] is usually used.
Bavarian Amstetten dialect
Bengali পা/pa [pä] 'leg' See Bengali phonology
Catalan sac [s̠äk] 'sack' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Cantonese /saa1 [sä̝ː˥] 'sand' Somewhat raised. See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin /tā About this sound [tʰä˥]  'he' Varies between front and back. See Mandarin phonology
Czech prach [präx] 'dust' See Czech phonology
Danish Standard barn [ˈb̥äːˀn] 'child' Most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɑː⟩ - the way it is realized in the conservative variety. See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard zaal [zäːɫ] 'hall' Ranges from front to central; in non-standard accents it may be back. See Dutch phonology
Amsterdam bad [bät] 'bath' Also present in many other non-Randstad accents. It corresponds to [ɑ] in Standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology
Antwerp
Brabant
English Australian car [kʰäː] 'car' See Australian English phonology
Cultivated South African Some speakers. For other speakers, it is less front [ɑ̟ː] or, in Estuary English, even more back [ɑː]. See South African English phonology
Estuary
Norfolk
General
South African
time [tʰäːm] 'time' Corresponds to the diphthong /aɪ/ in most dialects. General South African speakers may also monophthongize /aʊ/. See English phonology and South African English phonology
Southern American
General American cot [kʰäʔt̚] 'cot' It may be more back [ɑ̟ ~ ɑ], especially for speakers with the cotcaught merger. See English phonology
Southern Michigan See English phonology
Multicultural London trap [t̠ɹ̝̊äʔp] 'trap' More front [ɛ ~ æ ~ a] for other Southeastern English speakers. See English phonology
Some speakers from Reading
Northern England [t̠ɹ̝̊äp] Notably prevalent in Yorkshire, mainly around the Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales. More front [æ ~ a] for some other speakers. See English phonology
Vancouver [t̠ɹ̝̊äp̚] See Canadian Shift and English phonology
Younger speakers from Ontario
Finnish kana [ˈkänä] 'hen' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɑ⟩; also described as near-open back [ɑ̝]. See Finnish phonology
French patte [pät̪] 'paw' See French phonology
Galician macio [ˈmäθjo] 'soft' See Galician phonology
German Standard Katze [ˈkʰät͡sə] 'cat' See German phonology
Hebrew פח About this sound [päχ]   'garbage can' Hebrew vowels are not shown in the script, see Niqqud and Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindustani माता / ماتا [mata] 'mother' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian láb [läːb] 'leg' See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic fara [ˈfäːrä] 'go' See Icelandic phonology
Italian casa [ˈkäːzä] 'home' See Italian phonology
Japanese ka About this sound [kä]   'mosquito' See Japanese phonology
Limburgish Hamont dialect zaak [zäːk²] 'business' Contrasts with front [] and back [ɑː]. See Hamont dialect phonology
Lithuanian namas [ˈnäːmäs] 'house'
Malay api [äpi] 'fire'
Norwegian Sognamål dag [däːɡ] 'day' See Norwegian phonology
Polish kat About this sound [kät̪]  'executioner' See Polish phonology
Portuguese vá [vä] 'go' See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi ਜਾ [d͡ʒäː] 'go!'
Romanian cal [käl] 'horse' See Romanian phonology
Russian там About this sound [t̪äm]  'there' See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic slat [slät] 'yard' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Sema ala [à̠là̠] 'path' Also described as near-open [ɐ].
Serbo-Croatian патка / patka [pâ̠t̪ka̠] 'female duck' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Shiwiar
Slovak a [ä] 'and' See Slovak phonology
Spanish rata [ˈrät̪ä] 'rat' See Spanish phonology
Sorbian Lower glažk [ɡläʂk] 'glass'
Upper ale [ˈälɛ] 'but' See Upper Sorbian phonology
Swedish Central Standard bank [bäŋk] 'bank' Also described as front [a]. See Swedish phonology
Turkish at [ät̪] 'horse' Also described as back [ɑ]. See Turkish phonology
Vietnamese Hanoi xa [s̪äː] 'far' See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian laad [ɫäːt] 'drawer'
Yoruba

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