Close central rounded vowel

Close central rounded vowel
ʉ
ü
IPA Number318
Encoding
Entity (decimal)ʉ
Unicode (hex)U+0289
X-SAMPA}
Braille⠴ (braille pattern dots-356)⠥ (braille pattern dots-136)
Audio sample

The close central rounded vowel, or high central rounded vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʉ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is }. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as "barred u".

The close central rounded vowel is the vocalic equivalent of the rare labialized post-palatal approximant [ẅ].[2]

In most languages this rounded vowel is pronounced with protruded lips (endolabial). However, in a few cases the lips are compressed (exolabial).

Some languages feature the near-close central rounded vowel, which is slightly lower. It is most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʉ̞⟩ and ⟨ʊ̈⟩, but other transcriptions such as ⟨ʊ̟⟩ and ⟨ɵ̝⟩ are also possible. The symbol ⟨ᵿ⟩, a conflation of ⟨ʊ⟩ and ⟨ʉ⟩, is used as an unofficial extension of the IPA to represent this sound by a number of publications, such as Accents of English by John C. Wells. In the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, ⟨ᵿ⟩ represents free variation between /ʊ/ and /ə/.

Close central protruded vowel

The close central protruded vowel is typically transcribed in IPA simply as ⟨ʉ⟩, and that is the convention used in this article. As there is no dedicated diacritic for protrusion in the IPA, symbol for the close central rounded vowel with an old diacritic for labialization, ⟨  ̫⟩, can be used as an ad hoc symbol ⟨ʉ̫⟩ for the close central protruded vowel. Another possible transcription is ⟨ʉʷ⟩ or ⟨ɨʷ⟩ (a close central vowel modified by endolabialization), but this could be misread as a diphthong.

Features

  • Its vowel height is close, also known as high, which means the tongue is positioned close to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.
  • Its vowel backness is central, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel.
  • Its roundedness is protruded, which means that the corners of the lips are drawn together, and the inner surfaces exposed.

Occurrence

Because central rounded vowels are assumed to have protrusion, and few descriptions cover the distinction, some of the following may actually have compression.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Angami Khonoma[3] su [sʉ˦] 'deep' Allophone of /u/ after /s/.[3]
Armenian Some Eastern dialects[4] յուղ [jʉʁ] 'oil' Allophone of /u/ after /j/.
Berber Ayt Seghrouchen[5] ? [lːæjˈɡːʉɾ] 'he goes' Allophone of /u/ after velar consonants.
Dutch Standard Northern[6] nu [nʉ] 'now' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨y⟩; also described as close front [y][7] and near-close front [].[8] See Dutch phonology
Randstad[9] hut [ɦɵ̝t] 'hut' Found in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Lower [ɵ] in Standard Dutch.[9] See Dutch phonology
English Australian[10] goose [ɡʉːs] 'goose' See Australian English phonology
England[11][12] Can be back [] or front [] instead. The rounding is variable in some varieties.[13]
New Zealand[14] See New Zealand English phonology
Received Pronunciation[15] Realized as back [] in the conservative variety.[15]
South African[16] Realized as back [] in the conservative variety and in many Black and Indian varieties.[16] See South African English phonology
General American[17] [ɡʉs] Can be back [u] instead.[17]
Estuary[18] foot [fʉ̞ʔt] 'foot' The exact height, backness and roundedness is variable.[18]
Cockney[19] good [ɡʊ̈d] 'good' Only in some words, particularly good, otherwise realized as near-back [ʊ].[19]
Rural white Southern American[20] Can be front [ʏ] instead.[20]
Southeastern English[21] May be unrounded [ɪ̈] instead;[21] it corresponds to [ʊ] in other dialects. See English phonology
Ulster[22] Short allophone of /u/.[22]
Shetland[23] strut [stɹʊ̈t] 'strut' Can be [ɔ̟] or [ʌ] instead.[23]
German Upper Saxon[24] Buden [ˈb̥ʉːd̥n̩] 'booths' The example word is from the Chemnitz dialect.
Hausa[25] [example needed] Allophone of /u/.[25]
Ibibio Dialect of the Uruan area and Uyo[26] fuuk [fʉ́ʉk] 'cover many things/times' Allophone of /u/ between consonants.[26]
Some dialects[26] [example needed] Phonemic; contrasts with /u/.[26]
Irish Munster[27] ciúin [cʉːnʲ] 'quiet' Allophone of /u/ between slender consonants.[27] See Irish phonology
Ulster[28] úllaí [ʉ̜ɫ̪i][stress?] 'apples' Often only weakly rounded;[28] may be transcribed in IPA with ⟨u⟩.
Limburgish Some dialects[29][30] bruudsje [ˈbʀ̝ʉtʃə] 'breadroll' Close [ʉ][29] or near-close [ʉ̞],[30] depending on the dialect. Close front [y] in other dialects.[31] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨y⟩. The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect, in which the vowel is close.
Lüsu[32] [lʉ˥zʉ˥˧] 'Lüsu'
Russian[33] кюрий [ˈkʲʉrʲɪj] 'curium' Allophone of /u/ between palatalized consonants. Near-close when unstressed.[33] See Russian phonology
Scots[34] buit [bʉt] 'boot' May be more front [ʏ] instead.[34]
Swedish Bohuslän[35] yla [²ʉᶻːlä] 'howl' A fricated vowel that corresponds to [y̫ː] in Central Standard Swedish.[35] See Swedish phonology
Närke[35]
Tamil[36] வால் [väːlʉ] 'tail' Epenthetic vowel inserted in colloquial speech after word-final liquids; can be unrounded [ɨ] instead.[36] See Tamil phonology