Mid Vowel

A mid vowel is a vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned mid-way between an open vowel and a close vowel. The only mid vowel with a dedicated symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet is the mid central vowel, a symbol which is also used for the vowel schwa.

The IPA divides the vowel space into thirds, with the close-mid vowels such as or and the open-mid vowels such as or equidistant in formant space between open and close or . Thus a true mid front vowel could be transcribed as either a lowered or a raised .

Few languages contrast all three heights of mid vowel, since it is rare for a language to distinguish more than four heights of true front or back vowels. One, the Amstetten dialect of Austro-Bavarian German, contrasts four heights of front unrounded, front rounded, and back vowels in addition to having an open central vowel. These have been transcribed with the available IPA symbols /i e ɛ æ/, /y ø œ ɶ/, /u o ɔ ɑ/, and /a/. The Kensiu language spoken in Malaysia and Thailand is highly unusual in that it contrasts true-mid vowels with close-mid and open-mid vowels without differences in other parameters such as backness or roundedness.

Amstetten Bavarian
(transcription)
Close i y u
Close-mid e ø o
Open-mid ɛ œ ɔ
Near open æ ɶ̝ ɑ̝
Open a

However, the vowels transcribed /æ ɶ ɑ/ are one-third the distance between open /a/ and close /i y u/, precisely the IPA definition of open-mid vowels . Thus Amstetten Bavarian may be an example of a language that contrasts mid vowels with both open-mid and close-mid vowels.

Amstetten Bavarian
(formant space)
Close i y u
Close-mid e ø o
Mid ø̞
Open-mid ɛ œ ɔ
Open a

Other articles related to "mid vowel, vowel, vowels":

Italian Language - Writing System
... The acute accent is used over ⟨e⟩ to indicate a stressed front close-mid vowel, as in perché "why, because" ... is also used over ⟨o⟩ to indicate a stressed back close-mid vowel (azióne) ... grave accent is used over ⟨e⟩ to indicate a front open-mid vowel, as in tè "tea" ...
Relative Articulation - Raised and Lowered - Raised and Lowered Consonants
... Open vowel > mid vowel > close vowel > approximant > fricative > plosive is one flap > stop is another and trill > (trilled) fricative yet another ... ʝ ʝ̃ r̝ ɬ Approximant / Vibrant j ȷ̃ ɾ r l Close vowel i ĩ (N/A) Close-mid vowel e ẽ Open-mid vowel ɛ ɛ̃ Near-open vowel æ æ̃ Open vowel a ã ...
Vowel - Articulation - Height
... Vowel height is named for the vertical position of the tongue relative to either the roof of the mouth or the aperture of the jaw ... In high vowels, such as and, the tongue is positioned high in the mouth, whereas in low vowels, such as, the tongue is positioned low in the mouth ... The IPA prefers the terms close vowel and open vowel, which respectively describe the jaw as open or closed ...
Lojban Grammar - Phonology - Basic Sounds
... Phoneme Grapheme Pronunciation example vowels open vowel a (ɑ) a as in father, not as in hat ... front mid vowel ɛ (e) e as in bet, not as in beep front close vowel i i as in machine, not as in igloo back mid vowel o (ɔ) o as in open, not as in opera back close vowel u u as in moon, not as in ...

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