|Close front rounded vowel|
Legend: unrounded • rounded
The close front rounded vowel, or high front 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 /y/, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is
y. Across many languages, it is most commonly represented orthographically as ⟨ü⟩ (in German, Turkish, Estonian and Hungarian) or ⟨y⟩ (in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Albanian) but also as ⟨u⟩ (in French and Dutch and the Kernewek Kemmyn standard of Cornish); ⟨iu⟩/⟨yu⟩ (in the romanization of various Asian languages); ⟨уь⟩ (in Cyrillic-based writing systems such as that for Chechen); or ⟨ү⟩ (in Cyrillic-based writing systems such as that for Tatar).
Short /y/ and long /yː/ occurred in pre-Modern Greek. In the Attic and Ionic dialects of Ancient Greek, front [y yː] developed by fronting from back /u uː/ around the 6th to 7th century BC. A little later, the diphthong /yi/ when not before another vowel monophthongized and merged with long /yː/. In Koine Greek, the diphthong /oi/ changed to [yː], likely through the intermediate stages [øi] and [øː]. Through vowel shortening in Koine Greek, long /yː/ merged with short /y/. Later, /y/ unrounded to [i], yielding the pronunciation of Modern Greek. For more information, see the articles on Ancient Greek and Koine Greek phonology.
The close front rounded vowel is the vocalic equivalent of the labialized palatal approximant [ɥ]. [y] alternates with [ɥ] in certain languages, such as French, and in the diphthongs of some languages, ⟨y̑⟩ with the non-syllabic diacritic and ⟨ɥ⟩ are used in different transcription systems to represent the same sound.
In most languages, this rounded vowel is pronounced with compressed lips ('exolabial'). However, in a few cases the lips are protruded ('endolabial').
The close front compressed vowel is typically transcribed in IPA simply as ⟨y⟩, and that is the convention used in this article. There is no dedicated diacritic for compression in the IPA. However, the compression of the lips can be shown with the letter ⟨β̞⟩ as ⟨i͡β̞⟩ (simultaneous [i] and labial compression) or ⟨iᵝ⟩ ([i] modified with labial compression). The spread-lip diacritic ⟨ ͍ ⟩ may also be used with a rounded vowel letter ⟨y͍⟩ as an ad hoc symbol, though technically 'spread' means unrounded.
Because front rounded vowels are assumed to have compression, and few descriptions cover the distinction, some of the following may actually have protrusion.
|Albanian||Standard||ylber||[ylbɛɾ]||'rainbow'||Merges with /i/ in many dialects. See Albanian phonology|
|Afrikaans||Standard||u||[y]||'you' (formal)||Merges with /i/ on younger speakers. See Afrikaans phonology|
|Bavarian||Amstetten dialect||[example needed]||Contrasts close [y], near-close [ø̝], close-mid [ø] and open-mid [œ] front rounded vowels in addition to the open central unrounded [ä].|
|Catalan||Northern||but||[ˈbyt]||'aim'||Found in Occitan and French loanwords. See Catalan phonology|
|Chechen||уьйтӏе / üythe||[yːtʼje]||'yard'|
|Chinese||Mandarin||女 / nǚ||[ny˨˩˦]||'woman'||See Standard Chinese phonology and Cantonese phonology|
|Cantonese||書 / syū||[syː˥]||'book'|
|Danish||Standard||synlig||[ˈsyːnli]||'visible'||See Danish phonology|
|Dutch||Standard||nu||[ny]||'now'||Also described as near-close [y˕]. The Standard Northern realization has also been described as close central [ʉ]. See Dutch phonology|
|English||General South African||few||[fjyː]||'few'||Some younger speakers, especially females. Others pronounce a more central vowel [ʉː]. See South African English phonology|
|Multicultural London||May be back [uː] instead.|
|Scouse||May be central [ʉː] instead.|
|Ulster||Long allophone of /u/; occurs only after /j/. See English phonology|
|Estonian||üks||[ˈyks]||'one'||See Estonian phonology|
|Faroese||mytisk||[ˈmyːtɪsk]||'mythological'||Appears only in loanwords. See Faroese phonology|
|Finnish||yksi||[ˈyksi]||'one'||See Finnish phonology|
|French||tu||[t̪y]||'you'||The Parisian realization has been also described as near-close [y˕]. See French phonology|
|German||Standard||über||[ˈyːbɐ]||'over'||See Standard German phonology|
|Many speakers||schützen||[ˈʃyt͡sn̩]||'protect'||The usual realization of /ʏ/ in Switzerland, Austria and partially also in Western and Southwestern Germany (Palatinate, Swabia). See Standard German phonology|
|Greek||Tyrnavos||σάλιο / salio||[ˈsäly]||'saliva'||Corresponds to /jo/ in Standard Modern Greek.|
|Hungarian||tű||[t̪yː]||'pin'||See Hungarian phonology|
|Korean||뒤 / dwi||[ty(ː)]||'back'||Now usually a diphthong [ɥi], especially in Seoul and surrounding dialects. See Korean phonology|
|Kurdish||Kurmanji (Northern)||kü||[kʰyːɥ]||'mountain'||Equal to Palewani (Southern) [ʉː]. See Kurdish phonology|
|Limburgish||zuut||[zyːt]||'sees'||Central [ʉː] in Maastricht. The example word is from the Weert dialect.|
|Low German||für / fuur||[fyːɐ̯]||'fire'|
|Luxembourgish||Hüll||[hyl]||'envelope'||Occurs only in loanwords. See Luxembourgish phonology|
|Mongolian||Inner Mongolia||түймэр / tüimer||[tʰyːmɘɾɘ̆]||'prairie fire'||Diphthong [uj] in Khalkha.|
|Occitan||Besalú||[besalyː]||'Town of Besalú'||See Occitan phonology|
|Norwegian||syd||[syːd]||'south'||The example word is from Urban East Norwegian, in which the vowel varies in rounding between compressed [yː] and protruded [y̫ː]. It can be diphthongized to [yə̯]. See Norwegian phonology.|
|Plautdietsch||Canadian Old Colony||buut||[byːt]||'builds'||Corresponds to back [u] in other varieties.|
|Portuguese||Azorean||figura||[fiˈɣyɾə]||'figure'||Stressed vowel, fronting of original /u/ in some dialects. See Portuguese phonology|
|Brazilian||déjà vu||[d̪e̞ʒɐ ˈvy]||'déjà vu'||Found in French and German loanwords. Speakers may instead use [u] or [i]. See Portuguese phonology|
|Saterland Frisian||wüül||[vyːl]||'wanted' (v.)|
|Scottish Gaelic||Some dialects||cù||[kʰyː]||'dog'||Found particularly in Lewis, but also in Wester Ross and the Loch Alsh area. See Scottish Gaelic phonology|
|Swedish||Central Standard||ut||[yːt̪]||'out'||Often realized as a sequence [yβ̞] or [yβ]. The height has been variously described as close [yː] and near-close [ʏː]. Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨ʉː⟩; it is central [ʉː] in other dialects. See Swedish phonology|
|Turkish||güneş||[ɟyˈn̪e̞ʃ]||'sun'||See Turkish phonology|
|West Frisian||út||[yt]||'out'||See West Frisian phonology|
|Close front protruded vowel|
Catford notes[full citation needed] that most languages with rounded front and back vowels use distinct types of labialization, protruded back vowels and compressed front vowels. However, a few languages, such as Scandinavian ones, have protruded front vowels. One of these, Swedish, even contrasts the two types of rounding in front vowels (see near-close near-front rounded vowel, with Swedish examples of both types of rounding).
As there are no diacritics in the IPA to distinguish protruded and compressed rounding, an old diacritic for labialization, ⟨ ̫⟩, will be used here as an ad hoc symbol for protruded front vowels. Another possible transcription is ⟨yʷ⟩ or ⟨iʷ⟩ (a close front vowel modified by endolabialization), but this could be misread as a diphthong.
Acoustically, this sound is "between" the more typical compressed close front vowel [y] and the unrounded close front vowel [i].
|Kurdish||Palewani (Southern)||کۊ||[kʰy̫ːɥ]||'mountain'||Allophone of [ʉː] in regional dialects. See Kurdish phonology|
|Norwegian||syd||[sy̫ːd]||'south'||The example word is from Urban East Norwegian, in which the vowel varies in rounding between protruded [y̫ː] and compressed [yː]. It can be diphthongized to [y̫ə̯]. See Norwegian phonology.|
|Swedish||Central Standard||yla||[²y̫ːlä]||'howl'||Often realized as a sequence [y̫ɥ̫] or [y̫ɥ̫˔] (hear the word: [²y̫ɥ̫lä]); it may also be fricated [y̫ᶻː] or, in some regions, fricated and centralized ([ʉᶻː]). See Swedish phonology|