World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Mid central vowel

Article Id: WHEBN0000594786
Reproduction Date:

Title: Mid central vowel  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: IPA Extensions, Central vowel, Ə, Ă, Vowels
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Mid central vowel

Mid central vowel
IPA number 322
Entity (decimal) ə
Unicode (hex) U+0259
Kirshenbaum @
Braille ⠢ (braille pattern dots-26)
IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
This table contains phonetic symbols, which may not display correctly in some browsers. [Help]

 •  • chart •  chart with audio •

The mid central vowel (also known as schwa) is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ə, a rotated lowercase letter e. The same symbol may be used for both the unrounded and the rounded forms of the mid central vowel, although there exist certain other notations that may be used to represent either variant specifically.


  • Mid central unrounded vowel 1
    • Features 1.1
    • Occurrence 1.2
  • Mid central rounded vowel 2
    • Features 2.1
    • Occurrence 2.2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Bibliography 5

Mid central unrounded vowel

The mid central unrounded vowel is frequently written with the symbol [ə]. However, this symbol may not specifically represent an unrounded vowel, and it is frequently used for almost any unstressed obscure vowel. If precision is desired, the symbol for the close-mid central unrounded vowel may be used with a lowering diacritic, [ɘ̞]. Another possibility is using the symbol for the open-mid central unrounded vowel with a raising diacritic, [ɜ̝].



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe зы     'one'
Albanian është [ˈəʃtə] 'is'
Armenian ընկեր [əŋˈkɛɹ] 'friend'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic ?/sətwa [sətwɐ] 'winter' Most speakers. Usually raised to [ɪ] in some Tyari dialects.
Catalan Eastern Catalan amb [əm(b)] 'with' See Catalan phonology
Dutch beter [ˈbeːtər] 'better' See Dutch phonology
English Most dialects Tina [ˈtʰiːnə] 'Tina' Reduced vowel; varies in quality. See English phonology
Cultivated South African[1] bird [bəːd] 'bird' May be transcribed in IPA as ɜː. Other South African varieties use a higher, more front and rounded vowel [øː~ ø̈ː].
Received Pronunciation[3] Often transcribed /ɜː/. It is sulcalized, which means the tongue is grooved like in [ɹ]. 'Upper Crust RP' speakers pronounce a near-open vowel [ɐː], but for some other speakers it may actually be open-mid [ɜː]. This vowel corresponds to rhotacized [ɝ] in rhotic dialects.
Indian[4] bust [bəst] 'bust' May be lower. Some Indian varieties merge /ʌ/ and /ə/ like Welsh English.
Wales[5] May also be further back; it corresponds to /ʌ/ in other dialects.
Yorkshire[6] Middle class pronunciation. Other speakers use [ʊ]. Corresponds to /ʌ/ in other dialects.
Estonian[7] kõrv [kərv] 'ear' Typically transcribed in IPA as ɤ; can be mid back [ɤ̞] or close back [ɯ] instead, depending on the speaker.[7] See Estonian phonology
German Chemnitz dialect[8] Wonne [ˈʋɞ̝n̪ə] 'bliss' See Chemnitz dialect phonology
Standard[9] bitte     'please' Unstressed allophone of /ɛ/. See German phonology
Hindustani दस/دَس [ˈd̪əs] 'ten' See Hindustani phonology
Inuit West Greenlandic[10] Allophone of /i/ before and especially between uvulars.[10] See Inuit phonology
Kabardian щы     'three'
Kashubian jãzëk [jãzək] 'language'
Luxembourgish[11] dënn [d̥ən] 'thin' More often realized as slightly rounded [ɵ̞].[11] See Luxembourgish phonology
Macedonian к’смет [ˈkəs̪mɛt̪] 'luck' (archaic) Not considered a vowel phoneme. See Macedonian phonology
Malay Melayu [məlaju] 'Malay'
Marathi करा [əkˈra] 'eleven' See Marathi phonology.
Palauan tilobęd [tilobəd] 'came'
Pashto غوښه [ˈɣwəʂa] 'meat' See Pashto dialects
Piedmontese përché [pərˈke] 'why' May be realized as [a] or [ɑ] instead, depending on the variety.
Portuguese European[12] pagar [pɜ̝ˈɣaɾ] 'to pay' Often corresponds to a near-open vowel [ɐ] in Brazilian Portuguese.[13] See Portuguese phonology
São Paulo[14] cama [ˈkəmɐ] 'bed' Shorter nasal resonance or complete oral vowel in São Paulo and Southern Brazil, while nasal vowel in many other Portuguese dialects.
Southern Brazil
Some speakers[15] conviver [kũviˈveə̯ɾ] 'to coexist' Primarily in Portugal, but also stereotyped as a characteristic of the dialect of Rio de Janeiro (where [ə] for /ɐ/ is also dominant).[16] See Portuguese phonology
Punjabi ਅਮਨ [əmən] 'peace'
Romanian măr [mər] 'apple' Also described as open-mid [ɜ]. See Romanian phonology
Russian это     'this' Unstressed allophone of several vowels. See Russian phonology
Spanish Mexican pesos [ˈpesəs] 'pesos'
Swedish be [bəˈɡoː] 'to commit' Unstressed allophone of /ɛ/, see Swedish phonology
Welsh Cymru     'Wales' See Welsh phonology
West Frisian gewoan [ɡəˈʋoə̯n] 'normal'

Mid central rounded vowel

Mid central rounded vowel

Languages may have a mid central rounded vowel (a rounded [ə]), distinct from both the close-mid and open-mid vowels. However, since no language is known to distinguish all three, there is no separate IPA symbol for the mid vowel, and the symbol [ɵ] for the close-mid central rounded vowel is generally used instead. If precision is desired, the lowering diacritic can be used: [ɵ̞]. This vowel can also be represented by adding the more rounded diacritic to the schwa symbol, or by combining the raising diacritic with the open-mid central rounded vowel symbol, although it is rare to use such symbols.



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Dutch Standard Belgian[17] neus [nɵ̞ːs] 'nose' Usually transcribed in IPA as øː; in the Netherlands it is often a diphthong [ɵʉ]. See Dutch phonology
Southern[18] hut [ɦɵ̞t] 'hut' Corresponds to [ɵ] in standard Netherlandic Dutch and [ʊ̈] in standard Belgian Dutch.
French[19] je [ʒə̹] 'I' This may be more front for a number of speakers. See French phonology
German Chemnitz dialect[8] Wonne [ˈʋɞ̝n̪ə] 'bliss' See Chemnitz dialect phonology
Irish Munster[20] scoil [skө̠˕lʲ] 'school' Somewhat retracted;[20] allophone of /ɔ/ between a broad and a slender consonant.[20] See Irish phonology
Luxembourgish[11] dënn [d̥ɵ̞n] 'thin' Slightly rounded; less often realized as unrounded [ə].[11] See Luxembourgish phonology
Russian[21][22] тётя     'aunt' Allophone of /o/ in the environment of palatalized consonants. See Russian phonology
Swedish Central Standard[23] full     'full' Pronounced with compressed lips, more closely transcribed [ɵ̞ᵝ] or [ɘ̞ᵝ]. See Swedish phonology
West Frisian skowe [ˈskoːwə̹] 'to shove'

See also


  1. ^ Lass (2002:116)
  2. ^ Lodge (2009:168)
  3. ^ Roach (2004:242)
  4. ^ Sailaja (2009:24–25)
  5. ^ Wells (1982:380–381)
  6. ^ Stoddart, Upton & Widdowson (1999:74 and 76)
  7. ^ a b Asu & Teras (2009:368–369)
  8. ^ a b Khan & Weise (2013:236)
  9. ^ Kohler (1999:87), Mangold (2005:37)
  10. ^ a b Fortescue (1990), p. 317.
  11. ^ a b c d Gilles & Trouvain (2013:70)
  12. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:91)
  13. ^ Barbosa & Albano (2004:229)
  14. ^ Produção da Fala. Marchal, Alain & Reis, César. p. 169.
  15. ^ Lista das marcas dialetais e ouros fenómenos de variação (fonética e fonológica) identificados nas amostras do Arquivo Dialetal do CLUP (Portuguese)
  16. ^ Ditongações do falar carioca – WordReference (Portuguese)
  17. ^ Verhoeven (2005:245)
  18. ^ Collins & Mees (2003:131)
  19. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  20. ^ a b c Ó Sé (2000)
  21. ^ Jones & Ward (1969:62–63)
  22. ^ Crosswhite (2000:167)
  23. ^ Engstrand (1999:140)


  • Asu, Eva Liina; Teras, Pire (2009), "Estonian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 39 (3): 367–372,  
  • Barbosa, Plínio A.; Albano, Eleonora C. (2004), "Brazilian Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (2): 227–232,  
  • Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (2003), The Phonetics of English and Dutch, Fifth Revised Edition (PDF),  
  • Crosswhite, Katherine Margaret (2000), "Vowel Reduction in Russian: A Unified Account of Standard, Dialectal, and 'Dissimilative' Patterns" (PDF), University of Rochester Working Papers in the Language Sciences 1 (1): 107–172 
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 25 (2): 90–94,  
  • Engstrand, Olle (1999), "Swedish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the usage of the International Phonetic Alphabet., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 140,  
  • Fortescue, Michael (1990), "Basic Structures and Processes in West Greenlandic", in Collins, Dirmid R. F., Arctic Languages: An Awakening (PDF), Paris: UNESCO, pp. 309–332,  
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L (1993), "French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (2): 73–76,  
  • Gilles, Peter; Trouvain, Jürgen (2013), "Luxembourgish" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 43 (1): 67–74,  
  • Jones, Daniel; Ward, Dennis (1969), The Phonetics of Russian, Cambridge University Press 
  • Khan, Sameer ud Dowla; Weise, Constanze (2013), "Upper Saxon (Chemnitz dialect)" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 43 (2): 231–241,  
  • Kohler, Klaus J. (1999), "German", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 86–89,  
  • Lass, Roger (2002), "South African English", in Mesthrie, Rajend, Language in South Africa, Cambridge University Press,  
  • Lodge, Ken (2009), A Critical Introduction to Phonetics,  
  • Mangold, Max (2005), Das Aussprachewörterbuch, Duden,  
  • Ó Sé, Diarmuid (2000), Gaeilge Chorca Dhuibhne (in Gaeilge), Dublin: Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann,  
  • Roach, Peter (2004), "British English: Received Pronunciation", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (2): 239–245,  
  • Sailaja, Pingali (2009), Indian English, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd, pp. 17–38,  
  • Stoddart, Jana; Upton, Clive; Widdowson, J.D.A. (1999), "Sheffield dialect in the 1990s: revisiting the concept of NORMs", Urban Voices, London: Arnold, pp. 72–89 
  • Verhoeven, Jo (2005), "Belgian Standard Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35 (2): 245,  
  • Wells, J.C. (1982), Accents of English, 2: The British Isles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.