Close-mid back rounded vowel

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Close-mid back rounded vowel
IPA Number307
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)o
Unicode (hex)U+006F
Braille⠕ (braille pattern dots-135)

The close-mid back rounded vowel, or high-mid back rounded 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 o.

Close-mid back protruded vowel[edit]

The close-mid back protruded vowel is the most common variant of the close-mid back rounded vowel. It is typically transcribed in IPA simply as o, and that is the convention used in this article. As there is no dedicated diacritic for protrusion in the IPA, the symbol for the close-mid back rounded vowel with an old diacritic for labialization,   ̫, can be used as an ad hoc symbol for the close-mid back protruded vowel. Another possible transcription is or ɤʷ (a close-mid back vowel modified by endolabialization), but this could be misread as a diphthong.

For the close-mid near-back protruded vowel that is usually transcribed with the symbol ʊ, see near-close back protruded vowel. If the usual symbol is o, the vowel is listed here.



Because back rounded vowels are assumed to have protrusion, and few descriptions cover the distinction, some of the following may actually have compression.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Standard[2] bok [bok] 'goat' Typically transcribed in IPA with ɔ. The height varies between close-mid [o] and mid [ɔ̝].[2] See Afrikaans phonology
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[3] [example needed] Contrasts close [u], near-close [], close-mid [o] and open-mid [ɔ] back rounded vowels in addition to the open central unrounded [ä].[3] Typically transcribed in IPA with ɔ.
Bulgarian[4] уста/usta [os̪ˈt̪a] 'mouth' Unstressed allophone of /u/ and /ɔ/.[4] See Bulgarian phonology
Catalan[5] sóc [sok] 'I am' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Wu[6] /kò [ko˩] 'melon' Specifically in Shanghainese. Height varies between close and close-mid; contrasts with a close to close-mid back compressed vowel.[6]
Czech Bohemian[7] oko [ˈoko] 'eye' Backness varies between back and near-back; may be realized as mid [] instead.[7] See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[8][9] kone [ˈkʰoːnə] 'wife' Also described as near-close [o̝ː].[10][11] See Danish phonology
Dutch Standard Belgian[12] kool [koːɫ]  'cabbage' In the Netherlands often diphthongized to [oʊ]. See Dutch phonology
English Estuary yawn [joːn] 'yawn' May be [oʊ] or [ɔo] instead.
Received Pronunciation[14] Typically transcribed with ɔː. See English phonology
South African[15] General and Broad varieties. Cultivated SAE has a more open vowel. See South African English phonology
General Indian[16] go [ɡoː] 'go'
General Pakistani[17] Varies between [oː ~ əʊ ~ ʊ].
Estonian[19] tool [toːlʲ] 'chair' See Estonian phonology
Faroese[20] tola [ˈtʰoːla] 'to endure' May be a diphthong [oɔː ~ oəː] instead.[21] See Faroese phonology
French[22][23] réseau [ʁezo]  'network' See French phonology
German Standard[24][25] oder [ˈoːdɐ]  'or' See Standard German phonology
Upper Saxon[26] sondern [ˈsɞ̝nd̥oˤn] 'except' Pharyngealized; corresponds to [ɐ] in Northern Standard German. The example word is from the Chemnitz dialect.[26]
Greek Sfakian[27] μεταφράζω / metafrázō [metafrázo] 'translate' Corresponds to mid [] in Modern Standard Greek.[28] See Modern Greek phonology
Hindustani सोमवार [so:m.ʋɑ:r] 'Monday' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian[29] kór [koːr] 'disease' See Hungarian phonology
Italian[30] ombra [ˈombrä] 'shade' See Italian phonology
Kaingang[31] pipo [pɪˈpo] 'toad'
Khmer ម៉ូលេគុល / molékŭl [moːleːkul] 'molecule' See Khmer phonology
Korean 노래 / norae [noɾε] 'song' See Korean phonology
Kurdish[32][33] Kurmanji (Northern) rôj [roːʒ] 'day' See Kurdish phonology
Sorani (Central) رۆژ/rôj
Palewani (Southern)
Latin Classical [34] sol [soːl] 'sun'
Limburgish Most dialects[35][36][37] hoof [ɦoːf] 'garden' The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Lower Sorbian[38] wocy [ˈβ̞ot̪͡s̪ɪ] '(two) eyes' Diphthongized to [u̯ɔ] in slow speech.[38]
Luxembourgish[39] Sonn [zon] 'sun' Sometimes realized as open-mid [ɔ].[39] See Luxembourgish phonology
Malay mampus [mam.pos] 'die' Allophone of /u/ in closed-final syllables. May be [ʊ] or [] depending on the speaker. See Malay phonology
Malayalam ന്ന് [on̪ːɨ̆] 'one' See Malayalam phonology
Marathi दोन [do:n] 'two' See Marathi phonology
Minangkabau sado [sädoː] 'all'
Norwegian Most dialects[40][41][42] lov [loːʋ] 'law' The quality varies among dialects; in Urban East Norwegian, it has been variously described as close-mid back [oː][41] and mid [o̞ː],[40][42] in Stavangersk it is a close-mid near-back [o̟ː],[43] whereas in Telemark it is a back open-mid vowel [ɔː].[42] In some dialects it is replaced by the diphthong [ɑʊ].[43] See Norwegian phonology
Persian لاک‌پشت/lakpošt [lɒkˈpoʃt] 'turtle'
Portuguese[44] dodô [doˈdo] 'dodo' See Portuguese phonology
Polish wiośnie [ˈvʲoɕɲɛ] 'spring' Allophone of /ɔ/ between palatal or palatalized consonants. See Polish phonology
Saterland Frisian[45] doalje [ˈdo̟ːljə] 'to calm' Near-back; typically transcribed in IPA with ɔː. Phonetically, it is nearly identical to /ʊ/ ([ʊ̞]). The vowel typically transcribed in IPA with is actually near-close [o̝ː].[45]
Shiwiar[46] [example needed] Allophone of /a/.[46]
Slovak Some speakers[47] telefón [ˈtɛ̝lɛ̝foːn] 'telephone' Realization of /ɔː/ reported to occur in dialects spoken near the river Ipeľ, as well as - under Hungarian influence - in some other speakers. Corresponds to mid [ɔ̝ː] in standard Slovak.[47] See Slovak phonology
Slovene moj [mòːj] 'my' See Slovene phonology
Sotho[48] pontsho [pʼon̩t͡sʰɔ] 'proof' Contrasts close, near-close and close-mid back rounded vowels.[48] See Sotho phonology
Spanish camión [kaˈmjoːn] 'truck' See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central Standard[49][50] åka [²oːcä]  'travel' Often diphthongized to [oə̯]. See Swedish phonology
Ukrainian[51] молодь/molod' [ˈmɔlodʲ] 'youth' See Ukrainian phonology
Upper Sorbian[38][52] Bóh [box] 'god' Diphthongized to [u̯ɔ] in slow speech.[38][53] See Upper Sorbian phonology
Welsh nos [noːs] 'night' See Welsh phonology
West Frisian[54] bok [bok] 'billy-goat' See West Frisian phonology
Yoruba[55] egba mi o [egba mi o] 'help'

Close-mid back compressed vowel[edit]

Close-mid back compressed vowel

There is no dedicated diacritic for compression in the IPA. However, compression of the lips can be shown with ⟨β̞⟩ as ɤ͡β̞ (simultaneous [ɤ] and labial compression) or ɤᵝ ([ɤ] modified with labial compression). The spread-lip diacritic   ͍ may also be used with a rounded vowel letter as an ad hoc symbol, but 'spread' technically means unrounded.

Only Wu Chinese is known to contrast it with the more typical protruded (endolabial) close-mid back vowel, but the height of both vowels varies from close to close-mid.[6]


  • Its vowel height is close-mid, also known as high-mid, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a close vowel (a high vowel) and a mid vowel.
  • Its vowel backness is back, which means the tongue is positioned back in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.
  • Its roundedness is compressed, which means that the margins of the lips are tense and drawn together in such a way that the inner surfaces are not exposed.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Chinese Wu[6] /tè [tɤᵝ˩] 'capital' Specifically in Shanghainese. Height varies between close and close-mid; contrasts with a close to close-mid back protruded vowel.[6]


  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ a b Wissing (2016), section "The rounded mid-high back vowel /ɔ/".
  3. ^ a b Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  4. ^ a b Ternes & Vladimirova-Buhtz (1999), p. 56.
  5. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992), p. 54.
  6. ^ a b c d e Chen & Gussenhoven (2015), pp. 328–329.
  7. ^ a b Dankovičová (1999), p. 72.
  8. ^ Grønnum (1998), p. 100.
  9. ^ Ladefoged & Johnson (2010), p. 227.
  10. ^ Uldall (1933), p. ?.
  11. ^ Basbøll (2005), p. 47.
  12. ^ Verhoeven (2005), p. 245.
  13. ^ Wells (1982), p. 310.
  14. ^ Roach (2004), p. 242.
  15. ^ Lass (2002), p. 116.
  16. ^ Wells (1982), p. 626.
  17. ^ Mahboob & Ahmar (2004), p. 1009.
  18. ^ Deterding (2000).
  19. ^ Asu & Teras (2009), p. 368.
  20. ^ Árnason (2011), pp. 68, 74–75.
  21. ^ Árnason (2011), pp. 68, 75.
  22. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993), p. 73.
  23. ^ Collins & Mees (2013), p. 225.
  24. ^ Hall (2003), pp. 90, 107.
  25. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 34.
  26. ^ a b Khan & Weise (2013), p. 237.
  27. ^ Trudgill (2009), pp. 83–84.
  28. ^ Trudgill (2009), p. 81.
  29. ^ Szende (1994), p. 94.
  30. ^ Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004), p. 119.
  31. ^ Jolkesky (2009), pp. 676–677, 682.
  32. ^ Thackston (2006a), p. 1.
  33. ^ Khan & Lescot (1970), pp. 8–16.
  34. ^ Wheelock's Latin (1956).
  35. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), p. 159.
  36. ^ Peters (2006), p. 119.
  37. ^ Verhoeven (2007), p. 221.
  38. ^ a b c d Stone (2002), p. 600.
  39. ^ a b Gilles & Trouvain (2013), p. 70.
  40. ^ a b Vanvik (1979), pp. 13, 17.
  41. ^ a b Kristoffersen (2000), pp. 16–17.
  42. ^ a b c Popperwell (2010), p. 26.
  43. ^ a b Vanvik (1979), p. 17.
  44. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 91.
  45. ^ a b Peters (2017), p. ?.
  46. ^ a b Fast Mowitz (1975), p. 2.
  47. ^ a b Kráľ (1988), p. 92.
  48. ^ a b Doke & Mofokeng (1974), p. ?.
  49. ^ Engstrand (1999), p. 140.
  50. ^ Rosenqvist (2007), p. 9.
  51. ^ Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995), p. 4.
  52. ^ Šewc-Schuster (1984), p. 20.
  53. ^ Šewc-Schuster (1984), pp. 32–33.
  54. ^ Tiersma (1999), p. 10.
  55. ^ Bamgboṣe (1966), p. 166.


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