Open-mid central unrounded vowel

Open-mid central unrounded vowel
IPA Number326
Entity (decimal)ɜ
Unicode (hex)U+025C
Braille⠲ (braille pattern dots-256)⠜ (braille pattern dots-345)
Audio sample

The open-mid central unrounded vowel, or low-mid central unrounded 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 ⟨ɜ⟩. The IPA symbol is not the digit ⟨3⟩ or the Cyrillic small letter Ze (з). 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 ⟨ɜ⟩ letter may be used with a raising diacriticɜ̝⟩, to denote the mid central unrounded vowel. It may also be used with a lowering diacritic ⟨ɜ̞⟩, to denote the near-open central unrounded vowel.

Conversely, ⟨ə⟩, the symbol for the mid central vowel may be used with a lowering diacritic ⟨ə̞⟩ to denote the open-mid central unrounded vowel, although that is more accurately written with an additional unrounding diacritic ⟨ə̞͑⟩ to explicitly denote the lack of rounding (the canonical value of IPA ⟨ə⟩ is undefined for rounding).