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Close-mid front unrounded vowel

Close-mid front unrounded vowel
IPA Number302
Entity (decimal)e
Unicode (hex)U+0065
Braille⠑ (braille pattern dots-15)
Audio sample

The close-mid front unrounded vowel, or high-mid front unrounded 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 ⟨e⟩.

For the close-mid front unrounded vowel that is usually transcribed with the symbol ⟨ɪ⟩ or ⟨i⟩, see near-close front unrounded vowel. If the usual symbol is ⟨e⟩, the vowel is listed here.

There is also the mid front unrounded vowel (About this soundlisten ) in some languages, which is slightly lower. It is normally written ⟨e⟩, but if precision is required, diacritics may be used, such as ⟨⟩ or ⟨ɛ̝⟩ (the former, indicating lowering, being more common).

For many of the languages that have only one phonemic front unrounded vowel in the mid-vowel area (neither close nor open), the vowel is pronounced as a true mid vowel and is phonetically distinct from either a close-mid or open-mid vowel. Examples are Basque, Spanish, Romanian, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Greek, Hejazi Arabic, Serbo-Croatian and Korean (Seoul dialect). A number of dialects of English also have such a mid front vowel. However, there is no general predisposition. Igbo and Egyptian Arabic, for example, have a close-mid [e], and Bulgarian has an open-mid [ɛ], but none of these languages have another phonemic mid front vowel.

Kensiu, spoken in Malaysia and Thailand, is claimed to be unique in having true-mid vowels that are phonemically distinct from both close-mid and open-mid vowels, without differences in other parameters such as backness or roundedness.[2]



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Standard[3] bed [bet] 'bed' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɛ⟩. The height varies between close-mid [e] and mid [ɛ̝].[3] See Afrikaans phonology
Arabic Standard مَجۡر۪ىٰهَا‎/maǧreehaa [mad͡ʒ.reː.haː] See imalah
Hejazi[4] بـيـت‎/beet [be̞ːt] 'home' Mid.[4] See Hejazi Arabic phonology
Azerbaijani ge [ɟeˈd͡ʒæ] 'night'
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[5] [example needed]
Breton[6] [example needed] Unstressed /ɛ/ can be mid [ɛ̝] or close-mid [e] instead.[6]
Catalan[7] més [mes] 'more' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Mandarin[8] / About this sound[je̞˨˩˦˥] 'also' Mid.[8] See Standard Chinese phonology
Shanghainese[9] /kè [ke̠ʔ˩] 'should' Near-front; realization of /ɛ/, which appears only in open syllables. Phonetically, it is nearly identical to /ɪ/ ([ɪ̞]), which appears only in closed syllables.[9]
Danish Standard[10][11] hæl [ˈheːˀl] 'heel' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɛː⟩. See Danish phonology
Dutch Belgian[12] vreemd [vreːmt] 'strange' In the Netherlands often diphthongized to [eɪ]. See Dutch phonology
Some speakers[13] zet [zɛ̝t] 'shove' (n.) Open-mid [ɛ] in Standard Dutch.[13] See Dutch phonology
English Australian[14] bed [bed] 'bed' See Australian English phonology
Conservative Received Pronunciation Mid; often realized as open-mid in contemporary RP. See English phonology
New Zealand[15] The height varies from near-close in broad varieties to mid in the Cultivated variety.[15] See New Zealand English phonology
General American[16] may [meː] 'may' Most often a closing diphthong [eɪ].[16]
General Indian[17]
General Pakistani[18] Can be a diphthong [eɪ] instead, depending on speaker.
Ulster[22] Pronounced [ɛː~iə] in Belfast.
Some Cardiff speakers[23] square [skweː] 'square' More often open-mid [ɛː].[23]
Yorkshire[24] play [ple̞ː] 'play'
Scottish[20] bit [bë̞ʔ] 'bit' Near-front,[20] may be [ɪ] (also [ə]) instead for other speakers.
Cockney[25] bird [bɛ̝̈ːd] 'bird' Near-front; occasional realization of /ɜː/. It can be rounded [œ̝ː] or, more often, unrounded central [ɜ̝ː] instead.[25] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɜː⟩.
Estonian[26] keha [ˈkeɦɑ̝ˑ] 'body' See Estonian phonology
Finnish[27][28] menen [ˈme̞ne̞n] 'I go' Mid.[27][28] See Finnish phonology
French[29][30] beauté [bot̪e] 'beauty' See French phonology
German Standard[31][32] Seele About this sound[ˈzeːlə] 'soul' See Standard German phonology
Many speakers[33] Jäger [ˈjeːɡɐ] 'hunter' Outcome of the /ɛː–eː/ merger found universally in Northern Germany, Eastern Germany and Eastern Austria (often even in formal speech) and in some other regions.[33] See Standard German phonology
Southern accents[34] Bett [b̥et] 'bed' Common realization of /ɛ/ in Southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria.[34] See Standard German phonology
Swabian accent[34] Contrasts with the open-mid [ɛ].[34] See Standard German phonology
Bernese dialect[35] rède [ˈrɛ̝d̥ə] 'to speak' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɛ⟩. See Bernese German phonology
Greek Modern Standard[36] πες / pes [pe̞s̠] 'say!' See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrew[37] כן‎/ken [ke̞n] 'yes' Hebrew vowels are not shown in the script, see Niqqud and Modern Hebrew phonology
Hungarian[38] hét [heːt̪] 'seven' Also described as mid [e̞ː].[39] See Hungarian phonology
Ibibio[40] [sé̞] 'look' Mid.[40]
Icelandic[41] kenna [ˈcʰɛ̝nːä] 'to teach' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɛ⟩. The long allophone is often diphthongized to [eɛ].[42] See Icelandic phonology
Italian Standard[43] stelle [ˈs̪t̪elle] 'stars' See Italian phonology
Standard[44] crederci [ˈkreːd̪e̞rt͡ʃi] 'to believe' Common realization of the unstressed /e/.[44] See Italian phonology
Northern accents[45] penso [ˈpe̞ŋso] 'I think' Common realization of /e/.[45] See Italian phonology
Japanese[46] 笑み/emi About this sound[e̞mʲi]  'smile' Mid.[46] See Japanese phonology
Jebero[47] [ˈiʃë̞k] 'bat' Near-front; possible realization of /ɘ/.[47]
Korean 우레 / ure [uɾe​] 'thunder' See Korean phonology
Limburgish Most dialects[48][49][50] leef [leːf] 'dear' The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Maastrichtian[48] bèd [bɛ̝t] 'bed' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɛ⟩.
Norwegian le [leː] 'laugh' The example word is from Urban East Norwegian.[51][52] See Norwegian phonology
Urban East[53][54] nett [nɛ̝tː] 'net' See Norwegian phonology
Persian سه/se [se] 'three'
Polish[55] dzień About this sound[d͡ʑeɲ̟] 'day' Allophone of /ɛ/ between palatal or palatalized consonants. See Polish phonology
Portuguese[56] mesa [ˈmezɐ] 'table' See Portuguese phonology
Romanian[57] fete [ˈfe̞t̪e̞] 'girls' Mid.[57] See Romanian phonology
Russian[58] шея About this sound[ˈʂejə] 'neck' Close-mid [e] before and between soft consonants, mid [e̞] after soft consonants.[58] See Russian phonology
Saterland Frisian[59] tään [te̠ːn] 'thin' Near-front; typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɛː⟩. Phonetically, it is nearly identical to /ɪ/ ([ɪ̞]). The vowel typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩ is actually near-close [e̝ː].[59]
Serbo-Croatian[60] тек / tek [t̪ě̞k] 'only' Mid.[60] See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovene[61] sedem [ˈsèːdəm] 'seven' See Slovene phonology
velikan [ʋe̞liˈká̠ːn] 'giant' Unstressed vowel,[62] as well as an allophone of /e/ before /j/ when a vowel does not follow within the same word.[63] See Slovene phonology
Slovak Standard[64][65] behať [ˈbɛ̝ɦäc̟] 'to run' Mid;[64][65] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɛ⟩. See Slovak phonology
Sotho[66] ho jwetsa [hʊ̠ʒʷet͡sʼɑ̈] 'to tell' Contrasts close, near-close and close-mid front unrounded vowels.[66] See Sotho phonology
Spanish[67] bebé [be̞ˈβ̞e̞] 'baby' Mid.[67] See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central Standard[68][69] se [s̪eː] 'see' Often diphthongized to [eə̯] (hear the word: About this sound[s̪eə̯]). See Swedish phonology
Upper Sorbian njebjo [ˈɲ̟ɛ̝bʲɔ] 'sky' Allophone of /ɛ/ between soft consonants and after a soft consonant, excluding /j/ in both cases.[70] See Upper Sorbian phonology
Tahitian vahine [vahine] 'woman'
Tera[71] ze [zè̞ː] 'spoke'
Turkish[72][73] ev [e̞v] 'house' Mid.[72][73] See Turkish phonology
Yoruba[74] [example needed]

See also


  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ Bishop, N. (1996). A preliminary description of Kensiw (Maniq) phonology. Mon–Khmer Studies Journal, 25.
  3. ^ a b Wissing (2016), section "The unrounded mid-front vowel /ɛ/".
  4. ^ a b Abdoh (2010), p. 84.
  5. ^ Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  6. ^ a b Ternes (1992), p. 433.
  7. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992), p. 54.
  8. ^ a b Lee & Zee (2003), p. 110.
  9. ^ a b Chen & Gussenhoven (2015), p. 328.
  10. ^ Grønnum (1998), p. 100.
  11. ^ Basbøll (2005), p. 45.
  12. ^ Verhoeven (2005), p. 245.
  13. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003), p. 131.
  14. ^ Harrington, Cox & Evans (1997).
  15. ^ a b Gordon & Maclagan (2004), p. 609.
  16. ^ a b Wells (1982), p. 487.
  17. ^ Wells (1982), p. 626.
  18. ^ Mahboob & Ahmar (2004), p. 1010.
  19. ^ Watt & Allen (2003), pp. 268–269.
  20. ^ a b c Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006), p. 7.
  21. ^ Deterding (2000), p. ?.
  22. ^ "Week 18 (ii). Northern Ireland" (PDF).
  23. ^ a b Collins & Mees (1990), p. 95.
  24. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999), p. 179.
  25. ^ a b Wells (1982), p. 305.
  26. ^ Asu & Teras (2009), p. 368.
  27. ^ a b Iivonen & Harnud (2005), pp. 60, 66.
  28. ^ a b Suomi, Toivanen & Ylitalo (2008), p. 21.
  29. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993), p. 73.
  30. ^ Collins & Mees (2013), p. 225.
  31. ^ Kohler (1999), p. 87.
  32. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 34.
  33. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), pp. 64–65.
  34. ^ a b c d Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 64.
  35. ^ Marti (1985), p. 27.
  36. ^ Arvaniti (2007), p. 28.
  37. ^ Laufer (1999), p. 98.
  38. ^ Kráľ (1988), p. 92.
  39. ^ Szende (1994), p. 92.
  40. ^ a b Urua (2004), p. 106.
  41. ^ Brodersen (2011).
  42. ^ Árnason (2011), pp. 57–60.
  43. ^ Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004), p. 119.
  44. ^ a b Bertinetto & Loporcaro (2005), pp. 137–138.
  45. ^ a b Bertinetto & Loporcaro (2005), p. 137.
  46. ^ a b Okada (1999), p. 117.
  47. ^ a b Valenzuela & Gussenhoven (2013), p. 101.
  48. ^ a b Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999), p. 159.
  49. ^ Peters (2006), p. 119.
  50. ^ Verhoeven (2007), p. 221.
  51. ^ Vanvik (1979), pp. 13-14.
  52. ^ Kvifte & Gude-Husken (2005), p. 4.
  53. ^ Strandskogen (1979), pp. 15-16.
  54. ^ Vanvik (1979), p. 13.
  55. ^ Jassem (2003), p. 106.
  56. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 91.
  57. ^ a b Sarlin (2014), p. 18.
  58. ^ a b Jones & Ward (1969), pp. 41, 44.
  59. ^ a b Peters (2017), p. ?.
  60. ^ a b Landau et al. (1999), p. 67.
  61. ^ Šuštaršič, Komar & Petek (1999), p. 137.
  62. ^ Tatjana Srebot-Rejec. "On the vowel system in present-day Slovene" (PDF).
  63. ^ Šuštaršič, Komar & Petek (1999), p. 138.
  64. ^ a b Pavlík (2004), pp. 93, 95.
  65. ^ a b Hanulíková & Hamann (2010), p. 375.
  66. ^ a b Doke & Mofokeng (1974), p. ?.
  67. ^ a b Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 256.
  68. ^ Engstrand (1999), p. 140.
  69. ^ Rosenqvist (2007), p. 9.
  70. ^ Šewc-Schuster (1984), p. 34.
  71. ^ Tench (2007), p. 230.
  72. ^ a b Zimmer & Orgun (1999), p. 155.
  73. ^ a b Göksel & Kerslake (2005), p. 10.
  74. ^ Bamgboṣe (1969), p. 166.


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