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Close central unrounded vowel
|Close central unrounded vowel|
The close central unrounded vowel, or high central unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound used in some languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɨ⟩, namely the lower-case letter i with a horizontal bar. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as barred i.
Some languages feature the near-close central unrounded vowel (listen (help·info)), which is slightly lower. It is most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɨ̞⟩ and ⟨ɪ̈⟩, but other transcriptions such as ⟨ɪ̠⟩ and ⟨ɘ̝⟩ are also possible. In many British dictionaries, this vowel has been transcribed ⟨ɪ⟩, which captures its height; in the American tradition it is more often ⟨ɨ⟩, which captures its centrality, or ⟨ᵻ⟩, which captures both. ⟨ᵻ⟩ is also used in a number of other publications, such as Accents of English by John C. Wells. In the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, ⟨ᵻ⟩ represents free variation between /ɪ/ and /ə/.
- 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.
- It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.
/ɨ/ is uncommon as a phoneme in Indo-European languages, occurring most commonly as an allophone in some Slavic languages, such as Russian. However, it is very common as a separate phoneme in the indigenous languages of the Americas and is often in phonemic contrast with other close vowels such as /i/ and /u/ both in modern living languages as well as reconstructed proto-languages (such as Proto-Uto-Aztecan). Campbell, Kaufman & Smith-Stark (1986) identify the presence of this vowel phoneme as an areal feature of a Mesoamerican Sprachbund (although that is not a defining feature of the entire area).
|Acehnese||tupeue||[tupɨə]||'to know'||Asyik and Al-Ahmadi Al-Harbi describe this sound as such while Durie describes it as closer to [ɯ]|
|Angami||Khonoma||prü||[pɻɨ˨]||'hail stone'||The height varies between close [ɨ] and mid [ə]. Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ə⟩.|
|Berber||Central Atlas Tamazight||khdim (ⵅⴷⵉⵎ)||[χdɨ̞m]||'to work'||Epenthetically inserted into consonant clusters before labial and coronal consonants.|
|English||Inland Southern American||good||[ɡɨ̞d]||'good'||Corresponds to [ʊ] in other dialects. See English phonology|
|Southeastern English||[ɡɪ̈d]||May be rounded [ʊ̈] instead; it corresponds to [ʊ] in other dialects. See English phonology|
|London||lip||[lɪ̈ʔp]||'lip'||Possible realization of /ɪ/.|
|South African||[lɨ̞p]||For some speakers it can be equal to [ə]. General and Broad varieties of SAE have an allophonic variation, with [ɪ] ([i] in Broad) occurring near velar and palatal consonants, and [ɨ̞~ə] elsewhere. See South African English phonology|
|Southern American||[lɪ̈p]||Allophone of /ɪ/ before labial consonants, sometimes also in other environments.|
|Southeastern English||rude||[ɹɨːd]||'rude'||May be rounded [ʉː], or a diphthong [ʊʉ̯~əʉ̯] instead.|
|Hausa||cin abinci||[t̠ʃin abɨnt̠ʃi]||'to eat'||Allophone of /i/.|
|Irish||Munster||caora||[kɨːɾˠə]||'sheep'||Allophone of /i/ between broad consonants. See Irish phonology|
|Ulster||[example needed]||Allophone of /ɪ/. Near-close.|
|Kurdish||Palewani (Southern)||kirmaşan (کرماشان)||[cʰɨɾmäːʃäːn]||'kermanshah'||Equal to Kurmanji and Sorani [ɪ]. See Kurdish phonology|
|Latgalian||dyžan||[ˈd̪ɨʒän̪]||'very much'||See Latgalian phonology|
|Mah Meri||[d͡ʑäbɨ̞ʔ͡k̚]||'to be drunk'|
|Malay||Kelantan-Pattani||ngecat||[ŋɨ.caʔ]||'to paint'||See Kelantan-Pattani Malay|
|Mapudungun||müṉa||[mɘ̝ˈn̪ɐ̝]||'male cousin on father's side'||Unstressed allophone of /ɘ/.|
|Paicî||[example needed]||May be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɯ⟩.|
|Romanian||înot||[ɨˈn̪o̞t̪]||'I swim'||See Romanian phonology|
|Russian||ты/ty||[t̪ɨ]||'you' (singular/informal)||Occurs only after unpalatalized consonants. Near-close when unstressed. See Russian phonology|
|Sahaptin||kʼsit||[kʼsɨt]||'cold'||Epenthetic. No lengthened equivalent|
|Sema||sü||[ʃɨ̀]||'to hurt'||Described variously as close [ɨ] and near-close [ɨ̞].|
|Shipibo||tenaitianronki||[ˈt̪ɨnɐi̞ti̞ɐ̃ɽõ̞ɣi̞]||[translation needed]||Possible realization of /ɯ/ after coronal consonants.|
|Swedish||Bohuslän||bli||[blɨᶻː]||'to become'||A fricated vowel that corresponds to [iː] in Central Standard Swedish. See Swedish phonology|
|Tajik||Bukharan||ġižġiž (ғижғиж)||[ʁɨʑʁɨʑ]||'the sound of
|Allophone of /i/ in the environment of uvular consonants.|
|Tamil||vāli (வால்)||[väːlɨ]||'tail'||Epenthetic vowel inserted in colloquial speech after word-final liquids; can be rounded [ʉ] instead. See Tamil phonology|
|vur||[vɨ̞r]||'to give'||Allophone of /ɨ/ in closed syllables.|
|Turkish||Standard||sığ||[sɨː]||'shallow'||Also described as close back [ɯ] and near-close near-back [ɯ̽] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɯ⟩. See Turkish phonology|
|Balkans||[example needed]||Word-final merger of standard Turkish sounds /i/ and /ɯ/, shift of /y/ and /u/ into single phoneme due to interactions caused by Balkan sprachbund. Dombrowski transcribes this phoneme as /i/.|
|Udmurt||urgetė, yrgjete (ургетэ, ыргетэ)||[ɨrgete]||'it growls'|
|Welsh||Northern dialects||llun||[ɬɨːn]||'picture'||Close when long, near-close when short. Merges with /ɪ/ in southern dialects. See Welsh phonology|
The sound of Polish ⟨y⟩ is often represented as /ɨ/, but actually it is a close-mid advanced central unrounded vowel, more narrowly transcribed [ɘ̟]. Similarly, European Portuguese unstressed ⟨e⟩, often represented as /ɨ/, is actually a near-close near-back unrounded vowel, more narrowly transcribed using ad hoc symbols such as [ɯ̽] (mid-centralized), [ɯ̟] (fronted) and [ʊ̜] (less rounded i.e. unrounded)
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