Central vowel

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A central vowel is any in a class of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a central vowel is that the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel. (In practice, unrounded central vowels tend to be further forward and rounded central vowels further back.)


The central vowels that have dedicated symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet are:

There also are central vowels that don't have dedicated symbols in the IPA:


  • International Phonetic Association (1999), Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-65236-7 
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