Mid vowel

Mid vowel

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{{unreferenced|date=April 2008}} {{IPA chart vowels}} A '''mid vowel''' is a [[vowel]] sound used in some spoken [[language]]s. The defining characteristic of a mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned mid-way between an [[open vowel]] and a [[close vowel]]. The only mid vowel with a dedicated symbol in the [[International Phonetic Alphabet]] is the [[mid central vowel]] {{IPA|[ə]}}, a symbol which is also used for the vowel [[schwa]]. The IPA divides the vowel space into thirds, with the [[close-mid vowel]]s such as {{IPA|[e]}} or {{IPA|[o]}} and the [[open-mid vowel]]s such as {{IPA|[ɛ]}} or {{IPA|[ɔ]}} equidistant in [[formant]] space between open {{IPA|[a]}} and close {{IPA|[i]}} or {{IPA|[u]}}. Thus a true mid front vowel could be transcribed as either a lowered {{IPA|[e̞]}} or a raised {{IPA|[ɛ̝]}}. Few languages contrast all three heights of mid vowel, since it is rare for a language to distinguish more than four heights of true front or back vowels. One, the [[Amstetten, Lower Austria|Amstetten]] dialect of [[Austro-Bavarian]] German, contrasts four heights of front unrounded, front rounded, and back vowels in addition to having an open central vowel. These have been transcribed with the available IPA symbols {{IPA|/i e ɛ æ/}}, {{IPA|/y ø œ ɶ/}}, {{IPA|/u o ɔ ɑ/}}, and {{IPA|/a/}}. {| class=wikitable | ||colspan=3|'''Amstetten Bavarian
(transcription)''' |- |'''Close'''||{{IPA|i}}||{{IPA|y}}||{{IPA|u}} |- |'''Close-mid'''||{{IPA|e}}||{{IPA|ø}}||{{IPA|o}} |- |'''Open-mid'''||{{IPA|ɛ}}||{{IPA|œ}}||{{IPA|ɔ}} |- |'''Near open'''||{{IPA|æ}}||{{IPA|ɶ̝}}||{{IPA|ɑ̝}} |- |'''Open'''|| ||{{IPA|a}}|| |} However, the vowels transcribed {{IPA|/æ ɶ ɑ/}} are one-third the distance between open {{IPA|/a/}} and close {{IPA|/i y u/}}, precisely the IPA definition of open-mid vowels {{IPA|[ɛ œ ɔ]}}. Thus Amstetten Bavarian may be an example of a language that contrasts mid vowels with both open-mid and close-mid vowels. {| class=wikitable | ||colspan=3|'''Amstetten Bavarian
(formant space)''' |- |'''Close'''||{{IPA|i}}||{{IPA|y}}||{{IPA|u}} |- |'''Close-mid'''||{{IPA|e}}||{{IPA|ø}}||{{IPA|o}} |- |'''Mid'''||{{IPA|e̞}}||{{IPA|ø̞}}||{{IPA|o̞}} |- |'''Open-mid'''||{{IPA|ɛ}}||{{IPA|œ}}||{{IPA|ɔ}} |- |'''Open'''|| ||{{IPA|a}}|| |}