Near-close near-front rounded vowel

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Near-close near-front rounded vowel
IPA number 320
Entity (decimal) ʏ
Unicode (hex) U+028F
Kirshenbaum I.
Braille ⠔ (braille pattern dots-35) ⠽ (braille pattern dots-13456)

The near-close near-front rounded vowel, or near-high near-front rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʏ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is Y.

The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, though many linguists prefer the terms "high" and "low".

In most languages this rounded vowel is pronounced with compressed lips (in an exolabial manner). However, in a few cases the lips are protruded (in an endolabial manner). This is the case with Swedish, which contrasts the two types of rounding.

Near-close near-front compressed vowel


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
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IPA help • IPA key • chart • Loudspeaker.svg chart with audio • view


Note: Since front rounded vowels are assumed to have compression, and few descriptions cover the distinction, some of the following may actually have protrusion.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Armenian Western գիւղ [kʰʏʁ] 'village'
Dutch Orsmaal-Gussenhoven dialect[1] rug [rʏç] 'back' See Orsmaal-Gussenhoven dialect phonology
Standard[2] fuut [fʏt] 'grebe' Also described as central [ʉ̞][3] and close [ÿ].[4] See Dutch phonology
English Southern England[5] book [bʏk] 'book' Some dialects.[5] Corresponds to /ʊ/ in other English dialects. See English phonology
Ulster[6] mule [mjʏl] 'mule' Short allophone of /u/; occurs only after /j/.[6] See English phonology
Faroese krúss [kɹʏsː] 'mug'
French Quebec lune [lʏn] 'moon' Allophone of /y/ in closed syllables. See Quebec French phonology
German Southern Bernese [example needed] Corresponds to [œi̯] in the city of Bern. See Bernese German phonology
Standard[7] schützen [ˈʃʏt͡sn̩] 'protect' May be somewhat lowered.[8] See German phonology
Limburgish Hamont dialect[9] bul [bʏl¹] 'a paper bag' May be transcribed /y/.[9] See Hamont dialect phonology
Weert dialect[10] [example needed] Allophone of /øə/ before nasals.[10]
Ripuarian Colognian[citation needed] üch [ʏɧ] [translation needed] See Colognian phonology
Kerkrade dialect[11] kümme [ˈkʏmə] [translation needed] Realized as fully close [y] in the word-final position.[11]
Swedish Central Standard[12] ut About this sound [ʏβ̞t̪]  'out' May be central [ʉː] in other dialects. See Swedish phonology
Turkish[13] atasözü [ät̪äˈs̪ø̞̈z̪ʏ] 'proverb' Allophone of /y/ described variously as "word-final"[13] and "occurring in final open syllable of a phrase".[14] See Turkish phonology

Dutch short ⟨u⟩ is often transcribed as /ʏ/, but it is actually a central vowel, close-mid [ɵ] in the Netherlands,[3][15] and near-close [ʊ̈] in Belgium.[4]

Similarly, Icelandic ⟨u⟩ is often transcribed as /ʏ/, but it is actually close-mid central [ɵ].[16][17][18]

Near-close near-front protruded vowel

Near-close near-front protruded vowel

Catford notes that most languages with rounded front and back vowels use distinct types of labialization, protruded back vowels and compressed front vowels. However, a few languages, such as Scandinavian ones, have protruded front vowels. One of these, Swedish, even contrasts the two types of rounding in front vowels (together with height and duration).[19]

As there are no diacritics in the IPA to distinguish protruded and compressed rounding, old diacritic for labialization, ⟨◌̫⟩, will be used here as an ad hoc symbol for protruded front vowels. Another possible transcription is ⟨ʏʷ⟩ or ⟨ɪʷ⟩ (a near-close near-front vowel modified by endolabialization), but this could be misread as a diphthong.



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Kurdish Jafi xö [xʏ̫ː] 'salt'
Norwegian Standard Eastern[20] nytt [nʏ̫tː] 'new' Described variously as near-front[21] and front.[22] See Norwegian phonology
Swedish Central Standard[12] ylle About this sound [ˈʏ̫l̪ːɛ]  'wool' See Swedish phonology



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