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Mid back rounded vowel

Mid back rounded vowel
IPA Number307 430
Entity (decimal)o​̞
Unicode (hex)U+006F U+031E
Braille⠕ (braille pattern dots-135)⠠ (braille pattern dots-6)⠣ (braille pattern dots-126)
Audio sample

The mid back rounded vowel is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. While there is no dedicated symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the exact mid back rounded vowel between close-mid [o] and open-mid [ɔ], it is normally written ⟨o⟩. If precision is desired, diacritics may be used, such as ⟨⟩ or ⟨ɔ̝⟩, the former being more common. A non-IPA letter ⟨⟩ is also found.

Just because a language has only one non-close non-open back vowel, it still may not be a true-mid vowel. There is a language in Sulawesi, Indonesia, with a close-mid [o], Tukang Besi. Another language in Indonesia, in the Maluku Islands, has an open-mid [ɔ], Taba. In both languages, there is no contrast with another mid (true-mid or close-mid) vowel.

Kensiu, in Malaysia and Thailand, is highly unusual in that it contrasts true-mid vowels with close-mid and open-mid vowels without any difference in other parameters, such as backness or roundedness.


  • Its vowel height is mid, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a close vowel and an open vowel.
  • Its vowel backness is back, which means the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Unrounded back vowels tend to be centralized, which means that often they are in fact near-back.
  • Its roundedness is protruded, which means that the corners of the lips are drawn together, and the inner surfaces exposed.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Standard[1] bok [bɔ̝k] 'goat' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩. The height varies between mid [ɔ̝] and close-mid [o].[1] See Afrikaans phonology
Arabic Hejazi[2] لـون [lo̞ːn] 'color' See Hejazi Arabic phonology
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[3] [example needed] Contrasts close-mid /o/, true-mid /o̞/ and open-mid /ɔ/ back rounded vowels.[3]
Breton[4] [example needed] Possible realization of unstressed /ɔ/; can be open-mid [ɔ] or close-mid [o] instead.[4]
Chinese Mandarin[5] / About this sound[wo̞˨˩˦˥] 'I' See Standard Chinese phonology
Shanghainese[6] [kö̞¹] 'tall' Near-back. Realization of /ɔ/ in open syllables and /ʊ/ in closed syllables.[6]
Czech[7][8] oko [ˈo̞ko̞] 'eye' In Bohemian Czech, the backness varies between back and near-back, whereas the height varies between mid [o̞] and close-mid [o].[7] See Czech phonology
Danish Standard[9][10] måle [ˈmɔ̝̈ːlə] 'measure' Near-back;[9][10] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔː⟩. See Danish phonology
Dutch Amsterdam[11] och [ɔ̝̈χ] 'alas' Near-back;[11] corresponds to open-mid [ɔˤ] in standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology
Orsmaal-Gussenhoven dialect[12] mot [mɔ̝t] 'well' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩.
English Cultivated South African[13] thought [θɔ̝ːt] 'thought' Close-mid [] for other speakers. See South African English phonology
Maori[14] Closer [] in other New Zealand accents.[14]
Scouse[15] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔː⟩.
Some Cardiff speakers[16] Other speakers use a more open, advanced and unrounded vowel [ʌ̈ː].[16]
Received Pronunciation[17] May be as open as [ɔː] for older speakers, and is most often transcribed as such. See English phonology
Estuary[18] coat [kʰo̞ːʔ] 'coat' Rare; commonly a diphthong.[18] It corresponds to /əʊ/ in other British dialects. See English phonology
Yorkshire[19] [kʰo̞t] Corresponds to /əʊ/ in other British dialects. See English phonology
Finnish[20][21] kello [ˈke̞llo̞] 'clock' See Finnish phonology
French Parisian[22] pont [pɔ̝̃] 'bridge' Nasalized; typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ̃⟩. See French phonology
German Southern accents[23] voll [fɔ̝l] 'full' Common realization of /ɔ/ in Southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Open-mid [ɔ] in Northern Standard German.[24] See Standard German phonology
Western Swiss accents[25] hoch [ho̞ːχ] 'high' Close-mid [] in other accents.[26] See Standard German phonology
Greek Modern Standard[27][28] πως / pos [po̞s̠] 'how' See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrew[29] שלום [ʃäˈlo̞m] 'peace' Hebrew vowels are not shown in the script. See Niqqud and Modern Hebrew phonology
Ibibio[30] [dó̞] 'there'
Icelandic[31] loft [ˈlɔ̝ft] 'air' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩. The long allophone is often diphthongized to [oɔ].[32] See Icelandic phonology
Inuit West Greenlandic[33] [example needed] Allophone of /u/ before and especially between uvulars.[33] See Inuit phonology
Italian Standard[34] forense [fo̞ˈrɛnse] 'forensic' Common realization of the unstressed /o/.[34] See Italian phonology
Northern accents[35] [example needed] Local realization of /ɔ/.[35] See Italian phonology
Japanese[36] /ko [ko̞] 'child' See Japanese phonology
Korean[37] 보리 / bori [po̞ˈɾi] 'barley' See Korean phonology
Limburgish Hasselt dialect[38] mok [mɔ̝k] 'mug' Typically transcribed IPA with ⟨ɔ⟩.[38]
Norwegian Urban East[39][40] lov [lo̞ːʋ] 'law' Also described as close-mid [].[41] See Norwegian phonology
Romanian[42] acolo [äˈko̞lo̞] 'there' See Romanian phonology
Russian[43] сухой About this sound[s̪ʊˈxo̞j]  'dry' Some speakers realize it as open-mid [ɔ].[43] See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian[44][45] кôд / kôd [kô̞ːd̪] 'code' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Shipibo[46] koni [ˈkö̞ni̞] 'eel' Near-back.[46]
Slovak Standard[47][48] ohúriť [ˈɔ̝ɦu̞ːri̞c̟] 'to stun' See Slovak phonology
Slovene[49] oglas [o̞ˈɡlá̠s̪] 'advertisement' Unstressed vowel,[49] as well as an allophone of /o/ before /ʋ/ when a vowel does not follow within the same word.[50] See Slovene phonology
Spanish[51] todo [ˈt̪o̞ð̞o̞] 'all' See Spanish phonology
Tera[52] zo [zo̞ː] 'rope'
Turkish[53][54] kol [kʰo̞ɫ] 'arm' See Turkish phonology
Zapotec Tilquiapan[55] do [d̪o̞] 'corn tassel'


  1. ^ a b Wissing (2016), section "The rounded mid-high back vowel /ɔ/".
  2. ^ Abdoh (2010:84)
  3. ^ a b Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  4. ^ a b Ternes (1992), p. 433.
  5. ^ Lee & Zee (2003), p. 110.
  6. ^ a b Chen & Gussenhoven (2015), p. 328.
  7. ^ a b Dankovičová (1999), p. 72.
  8. ^ Šimáčková, Podlipský & Chládková (2012), pp. 228–230.
  9. ^ a b Grønnum (1998), p. 100.
  10. ^ a b Basbøll (2005), p. 47.
  11. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003), p. 132.
  12. ^ Peters (2010), p. 241.
  13. ^ Lass (2002), p. 116.
  14. ^ a b Warren & Bauer (2004), p. 617.
  15. ^ Watson (2007), p. 357.
  16. ^ a b Collins & Mees (1990), p. 95.
  17. ^ Roach (2004), p. 242.
  18. ^ a b Przedlacka (2001), p. 44.
  19. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999), p. 180.
  20. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005), pp. 60, 66.
  21. ^ Suomi, Toivanen & Ylitalo (2008), p. 21.
  22. ^ Collins & Mees (2013), p. 226.
  23. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 64.
  24. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), pp. 34, 64.
  25. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), p. 65.
  26. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015), pp. 34, 65.
  27. ^ Arvaniti (2007), p. 28.
  28. ^ Trudgill (2009), p. 81.
  29. ^ Laufer (1999), p. 98.
  30. ^ Urua (2004), p. 106.
  31. ^ Brodersen (2011).
  32. ^ Árnason (2011), pp. 57–60.
  33. ^ a b Fortescue (1990), p. 317.
  34. ^ a b Bertinetto & Loporcaro (2005), pp. 137–138.
  35. ^ a b Bertinetto & Loporcaro (2005), p. 137.
  36. ^ Okada (1999), p. 117.
  37. ^ Lee (1999), p. 121.
  38. ^ a b Peters (2006), p. 119.
  39. ^ Vanvik (1979), pp. 13, 17.
  40. ^ Kvifte & Gude-Husken (2005), p. 4.
  41. ^ Kristoffersen (2000), pp. 16–17.
  42. ^ Sarlin (2014), p. 18.
  43. ^ a b Jones & Ward (1969), p. 56.
  44. ^ Kordić (2006), p. 4.
  45. ^ Landau et al. (1999), p. 67.
  46. ^ a b Valenzuela, Márquez Pinedo & Maddieson (2001), p. 282.
  47. ^ Pavlík (2004), pp. 94–95.
  48. ^ Hanulíková & Hamann (2010), p. 375.
  49. ^ a b Tatjana Srebot-Rejec. "On the vowel system in present-day Slovene" (PDF).
  50. ^ Šuštaršič, Komar & Petek (1999), p. 138.
  51. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 256.
  52. ^ Tench (2007), p. 230.
  53. ^ Zimmer & Orgun (1999), p. 155.
  54. ^ Göksel & Kerslake (2005), p. 11.
  55. ^ Merrill (2008), p. 109.


External links