Close central rounded vowel

Close central rounded vowel
IPA number 318
Entity (decimal) ʉ
Unicode (hex) U+0289
Kirshenbaum u"
Braille ⠴ (braille pattern dots-356)⠥ (braille pattern dots-136)
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The close central rounded vowel, or high central rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ʉ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is }. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as "barred u".

The close central rounded vowel is the vocalic equivalent of the rare labialized post-palatal approximant [ẅ].[1]

The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, and the name of the article follows this. However, a large number of linguists, perhaps a majority, prefer the terms "high" and "low".

In most languages this rounded vowel is pronounced with protruded lips (endolabial). However, in a few cases the lips are compressed (exolabial).

There is also a near-close central rounded vowel in some languages.

Close central protruded vowel

The close central protruded vowel is typically transcribed in IPA simply as ʉ, and that is the convention used in this article. As there is no dedicated diacritic for protrusion in the IPA, symbol for the close central rounded vowel with an old diacritic for labialization,   ̫, can be used as an ad hoc symbol ʉ̫ for the close central protruded vowel. Another possible transcription is ʉʷ or ɨʷ (a close central vowel modified by endolabialization), but this could be misread as a diphthong.


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
i  y
ɨ  ʉ
ɯ  u
ɪ  ʏ
ɪ̈  ʊ̈
ɯ̽  ʊ
e  ø
ɘ  ɵ
ɤ  o
ə  ɵ̞
ɛ  œ
ɜ  ɞ
ʌ  ɔ
ɐ  ɞ̞
a  ɶ
ä  ɒ̈
ɑ  ɒ
Paired vowels are: unrounded  rounded
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IPA help  IPA key  chart   chart with audio  view


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
ArmenianSome Eastern dialects[2]յուղ [jʉʁ] 'oil' Allophone of /u/ after /j/
BerberAyt Seghrouchen[3] ? [lːæjˈɡːʉɾ] 'he goes' Allophone of /u/ after velar consonants.
English Australian[4] choose [t͡ʃʉːz] 'choose' In Australian English it's fronted [ʉ̟ː]. In Cockney and Estuary English it's often a diphthong [ʊʉ̯~əʉ̯]. In Scotland and the Scouse accent it can be more front, while in Geordie it can be more back. The exact length also varies between dialects. See Australian English phonology and English phonology
Central Eastern American[5]
Modern RP speakers[8]
New Zealand[9]
Some speakers of Geordie[13]
South African[14]
Southern American[15]
Ulster[16] Long allophone of /u/.[16] See English phonology
German Basel dialect Muus [mʉːs] 'mouse' Corresponds to [] in other Swiss German dialects.
Dialect of Markgräflerland
Chemnitz dialect[17] Buden [ˈpʉːtn̩] 'booths' See Chemnitz dialect phonology
Hausa[18] Allophone of /u/.[18]
Ibibio Dialect of the Uruan area and Uyo[19] [fʉ́ʉk] 'cover many things/times' Allophone of /u/ between consonants.[19]
Some dialects[19] Phonemic; contrasts with /u/.[19]
Irish Munster[20] ciúin [cʉ̠ːnʲ] 'quiet' Somewhat retracted;[20] allophone of /u/ between slender consonants.[20] See Irish phonology
Ulster[21] úllaí [ʉ̜ɫ̪i] 'apples' Often only weakly rounded;[21] may be transcribed in IPA with u.
Lüsu[22] [lʉ5553] 'Lüsu'
Russian[23] кюрий [ˈkʲʉrʲɪj] 'curium' Allophone of /u/ between palatalized consonants. See Russian phonology
Tamil[24] ஆனால் [äːnäːlʉ] 'but' Epenthetic vowel inserted in colloquial speech after word-final liquids; can be unrounded [ɨ] instead.[24] See Tamil phonology

Close central compressed vowel

Close central compressed vowel

As there is no official diacritic for compression in the IPA, the centering diacritic is used with the front rounded vowel [y], which is normally compressed. Another possibility is ɏ, a centralized [y] by analogy with the other close central vowels. Other possible transcriptions are ɨ͡β̞ (simultaneous [ɨ] and labial compression) and ɨᵝ ([ɨ] modified with labial compression[25]).



This vowel is typically transcribed with ʉ. It occurs in some dialects of Swedish, but see also close front compressed vowel. The close back vowels of Norwegian and Swedish are also compressed. See close back compressed vowel. Medumba has a compressed central vowel [ɨᵝ] where the corners of the mouth are not drawn together.[26]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Japanese Some younger speakers[27] 空気/kūki [kÿːki] 'air' Near-back [] for other speakers.[27] See Japanese phonology
Norwegian Standard Eastern[28] hus [hÿːs] 'house' Typically transcribed in IPA as ʉː. See Norwegian phonology
Swedish Some dialects ful [fÿːl] 'ugly' More front in Central Standard Swedish; typically transcribed in IPA as ʉː. See Swedish phonology

See also



  • Abdel-Massih, Ernest T. (1971), A Reference Grammar of Tamazight, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan 
  • Chirkova, Katia; Chen, Yiya (2013), "Lizu" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (1): 75–86, doi:10.1017/S0025100312000242 
  • Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company 
  • Harrington, J.; Cox, F.; Evans, Z. (1997), "An acoustic phonetic study of broad, general, and cultivated Australian English vowels" (PDF), Australian Journal of Linguistics, 17: 155–184, doi:10.1080/07268609708599550 
  • Jones, Daniel; Ward, Dennis (1969), The Phonetics of Russian, Cambridge University Press 
  • Keane, Elinor (2004), "Tamil", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 111–116, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001549 
  • Khan, Sameer ud Dowla; Weise, Constanze (2013), "Upper Saxon (Chemnitz dialect)" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (2): 231–241, doi:10.1017/S0025100313000145 
  • Kristoffersen, Gjert (2000), The Phonology of Norwegian, Oxford: Oxford University Press 
  • Lass, Roger (2002), "South African English", in Mesthrie, Rajend, Language in South Africa, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521791052 
  • Lodge, Ken (2009), A Critical Introduction to Phonetics, Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-8264-8873-2 
  • Mannell, R.; Cox, F.; Harrington, J. (2009), An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology, Macquarie University 
  • Matthews, William (1938), Cockney, Past and Present: a Short History of the Dialect of London, Detroit: Gale Research Company 
  • Ní Chasaide, Ailbhe (1999), "Irish", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 111–16, ISBN 0-521-63751-1 
  • Okada, Hideo (1991), "Japanese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 21 (2): 94–96, doi:10.1017/S002510030000445X 
  • Ó Sé, Diarmuid (2000), Gaeilge Chorca Dhuibhne (in Irish), Dublin: Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann, ISBN 0-946452-97-0 
  • Przedlacka, Joanna (2001), "Estuary English and RP: Some Recent Findings", Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, 36: 35–50 
  • Scobbie, James M; Gordeeva, Olga B.; Matthews, Benjamin (2006). "Acquisition of Scottish English Phonology: an overview". Edinburgh: QMU Speech Science Research Centre Working Papers. 
  • Schuh, Russell G.; Yalwa, Lawan D. (1999), "Hausa", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 90–95, ISBN 0-521-63751-1 
  • Urua, Eno-Abasi E. (2004), "Ibibio", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 105–109, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001550 
  • Watson, Kevin (2007), "Liverpool English" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 37 (3): 351–360, doi:10.1017/s0025100307003180 
  • Watt, Dominic; Allen, William (2003), "Tyneside English", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 33 (2): 267–271, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001397 
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