Mid front unrounded vowel

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Mid front unrounded vowel
IPA number 302 430
Entity (decimal) e​̞
Unicode (hex) U+0065 U+031E

The mid front unrounded 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 front unrounded vowel between close-mid [e] and open-mid [ɛ], it is normally written e. If precision is required, diacritics may be used, such as or ɛ̝ (the former, indicating lowering, being more common). In Sinology and Koreanology , (small capital E, U+1D07, ᴇ) is used sometimes.

For many languages that have only one phonemic front unrounded vowel in the mid-vowel area (i.e. neither close nor open), this vowel is pronounced as a true mid vowel, phonetically distinct from either a close-mid or open-mid vowel. Examples are Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Greek and Turkish. A number of dialects of English also have such a mid front vowel. However, there is no general predisposition for this. Igbo, for example, has a close-mid [e], whereas Bulgarian has an open-mid [ɛ], even though neither language has another phonemic mid front vowel.

The Kensiu language 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.1



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Catalan Alguerese sec [se̞k] 'dry' /ɛ/ and /e/ merge into [e̞] in these dialects. See Catalan phonology
Dutch Belgian2 rib About this sound [rë̞p]  'rib' Centralized, typically transcribed as /ɪ/. It corresponds to ɘ̟ in the Netherlands. See Dutch phonology
English Cardiff3 square [skwe̞ː] 'square' Corresponds to /ɛə/ in RP.
Received Pronunciation bed [be̞d] 'bed' Many speakers pronounce a more open vowel ɛ instead. See English phonology
Southern English
Inland Northern American4 bit [bë̞t̚] 'bit' Centralized, used in some dialects. Corresponds to ɪ in other dialects, in Scotland it can be ɪ~ə instead. See Northern Cities vowel shift
Scottish5 [bë̞ʔ]
Yorkshire6 play [ple̞ː] 'play'
Finnish7 menen [ˈme̞ne̞n] 'I (will) go' See Finnish phonology
Greek φαινόμενο fainómeno [fe̞ˈno̞me̞no̞] 'phenomenon' See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrew8 כן [ke̞n] 'yes' Hebrew vowels are not shown in the script, see Niqqud and Modern Hebrew phonology
Hungarian9 hét [he̞ːt̪] 'seven' See Hungarian phonology
Japanese10 笑み About this sound [e̞mʲi]  'smile' See Japanese phonology
Korean11 베개 [pe̞ˈɡɛ] 'pillow' See Korean phonology
Norwegian Standard Eastern12 nett [n̪ɛ̝t̪] 'net' Typically transcribed /ɛ/. See Norwegian phonology
Portuguese Brazilian energia [ẽ̞ne̞ɦˈʑi.ɐ] 'energy' Unstressed vowel.13 See Portuguese phonology
Romanian fete [ˈfe̞t̪e̞] 'girls' See Romanian phonology
Russian14 человек [t͡ɕɪlɐˈvʲe̞k] 'human' Occurs only after soft consonants. See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian15 питање / pitanje About this sound [pǐːt̪äːɲ̟e̞]  'question' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Spanish16 bebé [be̞ˈβ̞e̞] 'baby' See Spanish phonology
Swedish Central Standard17 häll [he̞l̪] 'flat rock' Typically transcribed as /ɛ/. Many dialects pronounce short /e/ and /ɛ/ the same. See Swedish phonology
Tagalog daliri [dɐˈliɾe̞] 'finger' See Tagalog phonology
Turkish18 ev [e̞v] 'house' See Turkish phonology
IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
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  1. ^ Bishop, N. (1996). A preliminary description of Kensiw (Maniq) phonology. Mon–Khmer Studies Journal, 25.
  2. ^ Verhoeven (2005:245)
  3. ^ Coupland (1990:95)
  4. ^ Labov, William; Ash, Sharon; Boberg, Charles (15 July 1997). "A National Map of the Regional Dialects of American English". Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  5. ^ Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006:7)
  6. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999:179)
  7. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005:60, 66)
  8. ^ Laufer (1999:98)
  9. ^ Szende (1994:92)
  10. ^ Okada (1991:94)
  11. ^ Lee (1999:121)
  12. ^ Vanvik (1979:13)
  13. ^ Corresponds to /ɛ/, or /ɨ/ and /i/ (where Brazilian dialects have [i ~ ɪ ~ e̞]), in other national variants. May be lowered to [ɛ̝ ~ ɛ] in amazofonia, nordestino, mineiro (MG) and fluminense (RJ) if not nasalized ([ẽ̞] does not corresponds to phoneme //), or be raised and merged to /e/ in sulista, paulistano, caipira and sertanejo.
  14. ^ Jones & Ward (1969:41)
  15. ^ Landau et al. (1999:67)
  16. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:256)
  17. ^ Engstrand (1999:140)
  18. ^ Zimmer & Orgun (1999:155)


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  • Engstrand, Olle (1999), "Swedish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the usage of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 140–142, ISBN 0-521-63751-1 
  • Iivonen, Antti; Harnud, Huhe (2005), "Acoustical comparison of the monophthong systems in Finnish, Mongolian and Udmurt", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35 (1): 59–71, doi:10.1017/S002510030500191X 
  • Jones, Daniel; Ward, Dennis (1969), The Phonetics of Russian, Cambridge University Press 
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  • Laufer, Asher (1999), "Hebrew", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, pp. 96–99 
  • Lee, Hyun Bok (1999), "Korean", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 120–122, ISBN 0-521-63751-1 
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373 
  • Okada, Hideo (1991), "Japanese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 21 (2): 94–96, doi:10.1017/S002510030000445X 
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  • Szende, Tamás (1994), "Hungarian", Journal of the International Phonetic Alphabet 24 (2): 91–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005090 
  • Vanvik, Arne (1979), Norsk fonetik, Oslo: Universitetet i Oslo, ISBN 82-990584-0-6 
  • Verhoeven, Jo (2005), "Belgian Standard Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35 (2): 243–247, doi:10.1017/S0025100305002173 
  • Zimmer, Karl; Orgun, Orhan (1999), "Turkish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 154–158, ISBN 0-521-65236-7 

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