Near-open Front Unrounded Vowel
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Near-open Front Unrounded Vowel
Near-open front unrounded vowel
IPA Number325
Entity (decimal)æ
Unicode (hex)U+00E6
Braille? (braille pattern dots-146)
Audio sample

The near-open front unrounded vowel, or near-low front 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 ⟨æ⟩, a lowercase of the ⟨Æligature. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as "ash".

The rounded counterpart of [æ], the near-open front rounded vowel (for which the IPA provides no separate symbol) has been reported to occur allophonically in Danish;[2][3] see open front rounded vowel for more information.

In practice, ⟨æ⟩ is sometimes used to represent the open front unrounded vowel; see the introduction to that page for more information.

In IPA transcriptions of Hungarian and Valencian, this vowel is typically written with ⟨?⟩.


  • Its vowel height is near-open, also known as near-low, which means the tongue is positioned similarly to an open vowel, but is slightly more constricted - that is, the tongue is positioned similarly to a low vowel, but slightly higher.
  • Its vowel backness is front, which means the tongue is positioned forward in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.
  • It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Standard[4] perd [pæ:rt] 'horse' Allophone of /?/, in some dialects, before /k ? l r/. See Afrikaans phonology
Arabic Standard[5] ?‎ / kit?b [ki'tæ:b] 'book' Allophone of /a/ in the environment of plain labial and coronal consonants as well as /j/ (depending on the speaker's accent). See Arabic phonology
Bashkir[6] ??? / yäy 'summer'
Bengali[7] ??/ek [æk] 'one' Allophone of /?/ or /e/. See Bengali phonology
Catalan Majorcan[8] tesi ['t?æzi] 'thesis' Main realization of /?/. See Catalan phonology
Danish Standard[2][9] dansk ['tænsk] 'Danish' Most often transcribed in IPA with ⟨a⟩ - the way it is realized by certain older or upper-class speakers.[10] See Danish phonology
Dutch[11] pen [pæn] 'pen' Allophone of /?/ before /n/ and the velarized or pharyngealized allophone of /l/. In non-standard accents this allophone is generalized to other positions, where is used in Standard Dutch.[12] See Dutch phonology
English Cultivated New Zealand[13] cat 'cat' Higher in other New Zealand varieties. See New Zealand English phonology
General American[14] See English phonology
Conservative Received Pronunciation[15] Fully open in contemporary RP.[15] See English phonology
Estonian[16] väle ['væ?le] 'agile' Near-front.[16] See Estonian phonology
Finnish[17] mäki ['mæki] 'hill' See Finnish phonology
French Parisian[18] bain [bæ?] 'bath' Nasalized; typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩. See French phonology
Quebec[19] ver [væ:?] 'worm' Allophone of /?/ before /?/ or in open syllables, and of /a/ in closed syllables.[19] See Quebec French phonology
German Standard Austrian[20] erlauben [æ'lbn?] 'allow' Variant of pretonic .[20] See Standard German phonology
West Central German accents[21] oder ['o:dæ] 'or' Used instead of .[21] See Standard German phonology
Northern accents[22] alles ['a?l?s] 'everything' Lower and often also more back in other accents.[22] See Standard German phonology
Western Swiss accents[23] spät [?pæ:t] 'late' Open-mid or close-mid in other accents; contrasts with the open-mid .[24] See Standard German phonology
Greek Macedonia[25] ????/gáta ['?ætæ] 'cat' See Modern Greek phonology
Pontic[26] /kaláthia [ka'la?æ] 'baskets'
Hungarian[27] nem [næm] 'no' Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨?⟩. See Hungarian phonology
Kazakh ?/äiel [æ?'je?l] 'woman' Varies between near-open and open-mid.
Kurdish Sorani (Central) / gältyä [gä:?t?æ] 'joke' Equal to Palewani (Southern) front . See Kurdish phonology
Lakon[28] rävräv [ræ?ræ?] 'evening'
Limburgish[29][30][31] twelf ['tæ?l?f] 'twelve' Front[30][31] or near-front,[29] depending on the dialect. The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect, in which the vowel is near-front.
Lithuanian jacht? ['jæ:xt?a:] 'yacht' (accusative) See Lithuanian phonology
Luxembourgish[32] Käpp [k?æp?] 'heads' See Luxembourgish phonology
Norwegian Urban East[33][34] lær [læ:?] 'leather' See Norwegian phonology
Persian[35][36] /ha?t [hæ?t] 'eight'
Portuguese Some dialects[37] pedra ['pæd] 'stone' Stressed vowel. In other dialects closer . See Portuguese phonology
Some European speakers[38] também [t?'mæ?] 'also' Stressed vowel, allophone of nasal vowel //.
Romanian Bukovinian dialect[39] piele ['pæle] 'skin' Corresponds to [je] in standard Romanian. Also identified in some Central Transylvanian sub-dialects.[39] See Romanian phonology
Russian[40][41] ?? / pjat? 'five' Allophone of /a/ between palatalized consonants. See Russian phonology
Serbo-Croatian Zeta-Ra?ka dialect[42] ???/dan [d?æn?] 'day' Regional reflex of Proto-Slavic *? and *?. Sometimes nasalised.[42]
Sinhala[43] /æya [æj?] 'she'
Swedish Central Standard[44][45][46] ära 'hono(u)r' Allophone of /?:, ?/ before /r/. See Swedish phonology
Stockholm[46] läsa [²læ:sä] 'to read' Realization of /?:, ?/ for younger speakers. Higher [?:, ~ ?] for other speakers
Turkish[47] sen [s?æn?] 'you' Allophone of /e/ before syllable-final /m, n, l, r/. In a limited number of words (but not before /r/), it is in free variation with .[47] See Turkish phonology

See also


  1. ^ While the International Phonetic Association prefers the terms "close" and "open" for vowel height, many linguists use "high" and "low".
  2. ^ a b Grønnum (1998:100)
  3. ^ Basbøll (2005:46)
  4. ^ Donaldson (1993:3)
  5. ^ Holes (2004:60)
  6. ^ Berta (1998:183)
  7. ^ "Bengali romanization table" (PDF). Bahai Studies. Bahai Studies. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ a b Rafel (1999:14)
  9. ^ Basbøll (2005:45)
  10. ^ Basbøll (2005:32)
  11. ^ Collins & Mees (2003:92, 129)
  12. ^ Collins & Mees (2003:92, 128-129, 131)
  13. ^ Gordon & Maclagan (2004:609)
  14. ^ Wells (1982:486)
  15. ^ a b Gimson (2014:119-120)
  16. ^ a b Asu & Teras (2009:368)
  17. ^ Suomi, Toivanen & Ylitalo (2008:21)
  18. ^ Collins & Mees (2013:226)
  19. ^ a b Walker (1984:75)
  20. ^ a b Moosmüller, Schmid & Brandstätter (2015:342)
  21. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015:40)
  22. ^ a b Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015:64)
  23. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015:65)
  24. ^ Dudenredaktion, Kleiner & Knöbl (2015:34, 64-65)
  25. ^ a b c Newton (1972:11)
  26. ^ Revithiadou & Spyropoulos (2009:41)
  27. ^ Szende (1994:92)
  28. ^ François (2005:466)
  29. ^ a b Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:159)
  30. ^ a b Peters (2006:119)
  31. ^ a b Verhoeven (2007:221)
  32. ^ Gilles & Trouvain (2013:70)
  33. ^ Vanvik (1979:13)
  34. ^ Popperwell (2010:16, 21-22)
  35. ^ Majidi & Ternes (1991)
  36. ^ Campbell (1995)
  37. ^ Portuguese: A Linguistic Introduction - by Milton M. Azevedo Page 186.
  38. ^ Lista das marcas dialetais e ouros fenómenos de variação (fonética e fonológica) identificados nas amostras do Arquivo Dialetal do CLUP (in Portuguese)
  39. ^ a b Pop (1938), p. 29.
  40. ^ Jones & Ward (1969:50)
  41. ^ Yanushevskaya & Bun?i? (2015:224-225)
  42. ^ a b Okuka 2008, p. 171.
  43. ^ Perera & Jones (1919:5)
  44. ^ Eliasson (1986:273)
  45. ^ Thorén & Petterson (1992:15)
  46. ^ a b Riad (2014:38)
  47. ^ a b Göksel & Kerslake (2005:10)


External links

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