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Close central compressed vowel

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Title: Close central compressed vowel  
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Subject: Close back rounded vowel, Roundedness
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Close central compressed vowel

The close central rounded vowel, or high central 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 ⟨ʉ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ⟨}⟩. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as "barred u".

The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, and the name of the article follows this. However, a large number of linguists, perhaps a majority, prefer the terms "high" and "low".

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

There is also a near-close central rounded vowel in some languages.

Close central protruded vowel



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Armenian Some Eastern dialects[1] յուղ [jʉʁ] 'oil' Allophone of /u/ after /j/
Berber Ayt Seghrouchen[2] ? [lːæjˈɡːʉɾ] 'he goes' Allophone of /u/ after velar consonants.
English Australian[3] rude [ɹʉːd] 'rude' In Australian English it's fronted [ʉ̟ː]. In Cockney and Estuary English it's often a diphthong [ʊʉ̯~əʉ̯]. In Scotland it can be more fronted, like [ʏ~y]. The exact length also varies between dialects. See Australian English phonology and English phonology
Modern RP speakers[6]
New Zealand
South African[9]
Irish ciúin [cʉ̠ːnʲ] 'quiet' Allophone of /uː/ and /u/. See Irish phonology
Polish judzić [ˈjʉd͡ʑi̝t͡ɕ] 'to egg on' Allophone of /u/ between palatalized consonants. See Polish phonology
Russian[10] кюрий [ˈkʲʉrʲɪj] 'curium' Allophone of /u/ between palatalized consonants. See Russian phonology
West Frisian drúf [drʉ̞ːf] 'grape' Lowered and a bit fronted. Typically transcribed as /yː/.

Close central compressed vowel

As there is no official diacritic for compression in the IPA, the spread-lip diacritic ⟨  ͍ ⟩ will be used here with the rounded vowel ⟨ʉ⟩ as an ad hoc symbol. Other possible transcriptions are ⟨ɨ͡β̞⟩ (simultaneous [ɨ] and labial compression) and ⟨ɨᵝ⟩ ([ɨ] modified with labial compression).



This vowel is typically transcribed with ⟨ʉ⟩. It also occurs in some dialects of Swedish, but see also close front compressed vowel. The close back vowels of Norwegian and Swedish are also compressed. See close back compressed vowel.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Norwegian[11] hus [hʉ͍ːs] 'house' See Norwegian phonology
Swedish ful [fʉ͍ːl] 'ugly' See Swedish phonology

See also



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