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|Open-mid central unrounded vowel|
The open-mid central unrounded vowel, or low-mid central unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɜ⟩. The IPA symbol is not the digit ⟨3⟩ or the Cyrillic small letter Ze (з). The symbol is instead a reversed Latinized variant of the lowercase epsilon, ɛ. The value was specified only in 1993; until then, it had been transcribed ⟨ɛ̈⟩.
The ⟨ɜ⟩ letter may be used with a raising diacritic ⟨ɜ̝⟩, to denote the mid central unrounded vowel. It may also be used with a lowering diacritic ⟨ɜ̞⟩, to denote the near-open central unrounded vowel.
Conversely, ⟨ə⟩, the symbol for the mid central vowel may be used with a lowering diacritic ⟨ə̞⟩ to denote the open-mid central unrounded vowel, although that is more accurately written with an additional unrounding diacritic ⟨ə̞͑⟩ to explicitly denote the lack of rounding (the canonical value of IPA ⟨ə⟩ is undefined for rounding).
Similarly, the symbol for the near-open central vowel with a raising diacritic ⟨ɐ̝⟩ may be used instead of ⟨ɜ⟩. Again, an additional unrounding diacritic ⟨ɐ̝͑⟩ may be used to explicitly denote the unroundedness, as the canonical value of IPA ⟨ɐ⟩ is also not definited for rounding.
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
|Afrikaans||Standard||lig||[lə̞χ]||'light'||Also described as mid [ə], typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ə⟩. See Afrikaans phonology|
|Bulgarian||пара||[pɐ̝ˈra]||'coin'||Unstressed allophone of /ɤ/ and /a/. Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɐ⟩ or ⟨ə⟩. See Bulgarian phonology|
|Chinese||Cantonese||心 / sam1||[sɐ̝m˥]||'heart'||Most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɐ⟩. See Cantonese phonology|
|Shanghainese||[kə̞ʔ˦]||'to reform'||Allophone of /ə/ in syllables closed by a glottal stop; may be as open as [ɐ] for some speakers.|
|Cotabato Manobo||[bätɜʔ]||'child'||Allophone of /a/ before glottal consonants; may be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʌ⟩.|
|[lɜ́ŋ]||'berry'||Short allophone of /a/.|
|Dutch||grappig||[ˈχɾɑpə̞χ]||'funny'||Possible realization of /ə/. See Dutch phonology|
|English||Received Pronunciation||bird||[bɜːd]||'bird'||Sulcalized (the tongue is grooved like in [ɹ]). "Upper Crust RP" speakers pronounce a more open vowel [ɐː], but for most other speakers it is actually mid ([ɜ̝ː]). This vowel corresponds to rhotacized [ɝ] in rhotic dialects.|
|General American||bust||[bɜst]||'bust'||The most common realization of the vowel transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʌ⟩ in American English. Nevertheless, it is not a standard pronunciation throughout the whole country.|
|Most of Texas|
|Northern Welsh||Some speakers. Corresponds to /ə/ or /ʌ/ in other Welsh dialects.|
|Scottish||[bɜ̠st]||Somewhat retracted; may be more back /ʌ/ instead.|
|German||Chemnitz dialect||passe||[ˈb̥ɜsə]||'[I] pass'||Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨a⟩.|
|Many speakers||herrlich||[ˈhɜːlɪç]||'fantastic'||Common alternative to the diphthong [ɛɐ̯]. See Standard German phonology|
|Hausa||[example needed]||Possible allophone of /a/, which can be as close as [ə] and as open as [ä].|
|Jebero||[ˈkɘnmɜʔ]||'indigenous person'||Allophone of /a/ in closed syllables.|
|Kaingang||[ˈɾɜ]||'mark'||Varies between central [ɜ] and back [ʌ].|
|Kalagan Kaagan||[mɜˈt̪äs]||'tall'||Allophone of /a/; may be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʌ⟩.|
|Li'o||Ke'o||[mə̞re]||'dark'||Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ə⟩.|
|Mapudungun||karü||[ˈkɐ̝ʐɘ̝]||'green'||Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɐ⟩ or ⟨a⟩.|
|Paicî||rë||[ɾɜ]||'they' (prefix)||May be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʌ⟩.|
|Portuguese||aja||[ˈäʒɐ̝]||'act' (subj.)||Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ɐ⟩. See Portuguese phonology|
|Romanian||Standard||măr||[mə̞r]||'apple'||Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ə⟩. See Romanian phonology|
|Transylvanian dialects||așa||[aˈʂɜ]||'such'||Corresponds to [ä] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology|
|Sama||Sibutu||[ˈsäpɜw]||'roof'||Allophone of /a/; may be transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʌ⟩.|
|Sindhi||[sə̞rə̞]||'funeral'||Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ə⟩.|
|Temne||pȧs||[pɜ́s]||'brew'||Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʌ⟩.|
|Xumi||Upper||[Rbɜ][clarification needed]||'pot, pan'|
|Yiddish||Standard||ענלעך||[ˈɛnlɜχ]||'similar'||Unstressed vowel. See Yiddish phonology|