Open-mid back unrounded vowel
IPA Number314
Entity (decimal)ʌ
Unicode (hex)U+028C
Audio sample

The open-mid back unrounded vowel or low-mid back unrounded vowel,[1] is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʌ⟩, graphically a rotated lowercase "v" (called a turned V but created as a small-capital ⟨ᴀ⟩ without the crossbar). Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as a "wedge", "caret" or "hat". In transcriptions for English, this symbol is commonly used for the near-open central unrounded vowel and in transcriptions for Danish, it is used for the (somewhat mid-centralized) open back rounded vowel.



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Catalan Solsonès[2] tarda [ˈtaɾð̞ʌ̃ː] 'afternoon' Realization of final unstressed /ə/
Emilian-Romagnol[3] most Emilian dialects Bulåggna [buˈlʌɲːɐ] 'Bologna' It corresponds to a sound between /ɔ/ a /ä/; written ò in some spellings
English Cape Town[4] lot [lʌt] 'lot' It corresponds to a weakly rounded [ɒ̈] in all other South African dialects. See South African English phonology
Cardiff[5] thought [θʌːt] 'thought' For some speakers it may be rounded and closer. See English phonology
General South African[6] no [nʌː] 'no' May be a diphthong [ʌʊ̯] instead.[7] See South African English phonology
General American[8] gut About this sound[ɡʌt]  'gut' In some dialects, fronted to [ɜ], or fronted and lowered to [ɐ]. See English phonology and Northern Cities Vowel Shift
Inland Northern American[9]
Multicultural London[10]
Northern East Anglian[12]
Some Estuary English speakers[15]
French Picardy[16] alors [aˈlʌʀ̥] 'so' Corresponding to /ɔ/ in standard French.
German Chemnitz dialect[17] machen [ˈmʌχɴ̩] 'to do' Allophone of /ʌ, ʌː/ (which phonetically are central [ɜ, ɜː])[18] before and after /ŋ, kʰ, k, χ, ʁ/. Exact backness varies; it is most posterior before /χ, ʁ/.[19]
Haida[20] ḵwaáay [qʷʰʌʔáːj] 'the rock' Allophone of /a/ (sometimes also /aː/) after uvular and epiglottal consonants.[21]
Irish Ulster dialect[22] ola [ʌl̪ˠə] 'oil' See Irish phonology
Kaingang[23] [ˈɾʌ] 'mark' Varies between back [ʌ] and central [ɜ].[24]
Kensiu[25] [hʌʎ] 'stream'
Korean[26] / neo [nʌ] 'you' See Korean phonology
Lillooet [example needed] Retracted counterpart of /ə/.
Mah Meri[27] [example needed] Allophone of /ə/; can be mid central [ə] or close-mid back [ɤ] instead.[27]
Nepali असल/asal [ʌsʌl] 'good' See Nepali phonology
Oʼodham Pima corresponds to [ɨ] in Papago.
Russian Standard Saint Petersburg[28] голова/golová [ɡəɫ̪ʌˈvä] 'head' Corresponds to [ɐ] in standard Moscow pronunciation;[28] occurs mostly immediately before stressed syllables. See Russian phonology
Tamil[29] [example needed] Nasalized. Phonetic realization of the sequence /am/, may be [õ] or [ã] instead.[29] See Tamil phonology

Before World War II, the /ʌ/ of Received Pronunciation was phonetically close to a back vowel [ʌ], which has since shifted forward towards [ɐ] (a near-open central unrounded vowel). Daniel Jones reported his speech (southern British) as having an advanced back vowel [ʌ̟] between his central /ə/ and back /ɔ/; however, he also reported that other southern speakers had a lower and even more advanced vowel that approached cardinal [a].[30] In American English varieties, such as in the West, the Midwest, and the urban South, the typical phonetic realization of the phoneme /ʌ/ is an open-mid central [ɜ].[31][32] Truly backed variants of /ʌ/ that are phonetically [ʌ] can occur in Inland Northern American English, Newfoundland English, Philadelphia English, some of African-American English, and (old-fashioned) white Southern English in coastal plain and Piedmont areas.[33][34] However, the letter ⟨ʌ⟩ is still commonly used to indicate this phoneme, even in the more common varieties with central variants [ɐ] or [ɜ]. That may be because of both tradition and some other dialects retaining the older pronunciation.[35]


  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ "Anàlisi dialectològica d'uns parlars del Solsonès". Retrieved 2019-11-29.
  3. ^ "Scrîver al bulgnaiṡ cum và". (in Emilian).
  4. ^ a b Lass (2002), p. 115.
  5. ^ Collins & Mees (1990), p. 95.
  6. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 614, 621.
  7. ^ Wells (1982), p. 614.
  8. ^ Wells (1982), p. 485.
  9. ^ W. Labov, S. Ash and C. Boberg (1997), A national map of the regional dialects of American English, Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania, retrieved May 27, 2013
  10. ^ Gimson (2014), p. 91.
  11. ^ Thomas (2001), pp. 27–28, 61–63.
  12. ^ Trudgill (2004), p. 167.
  13. ^ Thomas (2001), pp. 27–28, 73–74.
  14. ^ Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006), p. 7.
  15. ^ Altendorf & Watt (2004), p. 188.
  16. ^ "Picardie : phonétique". Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  17. ^ Khan & Weise (2013), pp. 235, 238.
  18. ^ Khan & Weise (2013), p. 236.
  19. ^ Khan & Weise (2013), p. 238.
  20. ^ Lawrence (1977), pp. 32–33.
  21. ^ Lawrence (1977), pp. 32–33, 36.
  22. ^ Ní Chasaide (1999), pp. 114–115.
  23. ^ Jolkesky (2009), pp. 676–677, 682.
  24. ^ Jolkesky (2009), pp. 676, 682.
  25. ^ Bishop (1996), p. 230.
  26. ^ Lee (1999).
  27. ^ a b Kruspe & Hajek (2009), p. 245.
  28. ^ a b Yanushevskaya & Bunčić (2015), p. 225.
  29. ^ a b Keane (2004), p. 114.
  30. ^ Jones (1972), pp. 86–88.
  31. ^ Gordon (2004b), p. 340.
  32. ^ Tillery & Bailey (2004), p. 333.
  33. ^ Thomas (2001), pp. 27–28, 112–115, 121, 134, 174.
  34. ^ Gordon (2004a), pp. 294–296.
  35. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999), p. 135.


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  • Bishop, Nancy (1996), "A preliminary description of Kensiu (Maniq) phonology" (PDF), Mon–Khmer Studies Journal, 25
  • Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (1990), "The Phonetics of Cardiff English", in Coupland, Nikolas; Thomas, Alan Richard (eds.), English in Wales: Diversity, Conflict, and Change, Multilingual Matters Ltd., pp. 87–103, ISBN 1-85359-032-0
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  • Gordon, Matthew (2004b), "The West and Midwest: phonology", in Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W. (eds.), A Handbook of Varieties of English: Volume 1: Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, p. 340, ISBN 3-11-017532-0
  • Jolkesky, Marcelo Pinho de Valhery (2009), "Fonologia e prosódia do Kaingáng falado em Cacique Doble", Anais do SETA, Campinas: Editora do IEL-UNICAMP, 3: 675–685
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  • 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
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