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Close front unrounded vowel

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Title: Close front unrounded vowel  
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Close front unrounded vowel

Close front unrounded vowel
IPA number 301
Entity (decimal) i
Unicode (hex) U+0069
Kirshenbaum i
Braille ⠊ (braille pattern dots-24)

The close front unrounded vowel, or high front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound that occurs in most spoken languages, represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet by the symbol i. It is similar to the vowel sound in the English word meet—and often called long-e in American English[1]—although in English this sound has additional length (usually being represented as /iː/) and is not normally pronounced as a pure vowel (it is a slight diphthong) – a purer [i] sound is heard in many other languages, such as French, in words like chic.

The close front unrounded vowel is the vocalic equivalent of the palatal approximant [j]. The two are almost identical featurally. They alternate with each other in certain languages, such as French, and in the diphthongs of some languages, [i̯] with the non-syllabic diacritic and [j] are used in different transcription systems to represent the same sound.

Languages that use the Latin script commonly use the letter i to represent this sound, though there are some exceptions: in English orthography that letter is usually associated with /aɪ/ (as in bite) or /ɪ/ (as in bit), and /iː/ is more commonly represented by e, ea, ee, ie or ei, as in the words scene, bean, meet, niece, conceive; (see Great Vowel Shift). Irish orthography reflects both etymology and whether preceding consonants are broad or slender, so such combinations as , ei, and aío all represent /iː/.


  • Features 1
  • Occurrence 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
This table contains phonetic symbols, which may not display correctly in some browsers. [Help]

 •  • chart •  chart with audio •
  • Its vowel height is close, also known as high, which means the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.
  • Its vowel backness is front, which means the tongue is positioned as far forward as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Note that rounded front vowels are often centralized, which means that often they are in fact near-front.
  • It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Arabic Standard[2] دين [d̪iːn] 'religion' See Arabic phonology
Armenian Eastern[3] իմ [im] 'my'
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[4]
Catalan[5] sis [ˈs̠is̠] 'six' See Catalan phonology
Danish Standard[6][7][8] mile [ˈmiːlə] 'dune' See Danish phonology
Dutch[9] biet     'beet' See Dutch phonology
English[10] free     'free' Depending on dialect, can be pronounced as a diphthong. See English phonology
Estonian[11] tiik [tiːk] 'pond' See Estonian phonology
Finnish[12][13] viisi [ˈviːsi] 'five' See Finnish phonology
French[14] fini [fini] 'finished' See French phonology
[15] სამ [ˈsɑmi] 'three'
German Standard[16] Ziel     'goal' See German phonology
Hungarian[17] ív [iːv] 'arch' See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic[18][19][20] fínt [fin̥t] 'fine' See Icelandic phonology
Italian[21] bile [ˈbiːle] 'rage' See Italian phonology
Japanese[22] /gin     'silver' See Japanese phonology
Kaingang[23] [ˈndukːi] 'in the belly'
Limburgish[24][25][26][27] bies [bis] 'animal' The example word is from the Maastrichtian dialect.
Luxembourgish[28] Kiischt [kʰiːʃt] 'cherry'
Polish[29] miś     'teddy bear' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[30] fino [ˈfinu] 'thin' Also occurs as an unstressed allophone of other vowels. May be represented by y. See Portuguese phonology
Russian[31] лист     'leaf' Only occurs word-initially or after palatalized consonants. See Russian phonology
Sioux Lakota[33][34] ǧí [ʀí] 'it's brown'
Spanish[35] tipo [ˈt̪ipo̞] 'type' May also be represented by y. See Spanish phonology
Thai[36] กริช [krìt] 'dagger'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[38] diza [d̪iza] 'Zapotec'


  1. ^ Maddox, Maeve. """DailyWritingTips: The Six Spellings of "Long E. Retrieved July 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ Thelwall (1990:38)
  3. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:13)
  4. ^ Traunmüller (1982), cited in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:290)
  5. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992:54)
  6. ^ Grønnum (2005:268)
  7. ^ Basbøll (2005:45)
  8. ^ "John Wells's phonetic blog: Danish". 5 November 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2015.  Wells's impression is that this vowel is slightly centralized [ï].
  9. ^ Gussenhoven (1992:47)
  10. ^ Roach (2004:240)
  11. ^ Asu & Teras (2009:368)
  12. ^ Iivonen & Harnud (2005:60, 66)
  13. ^ Suomi, Toivanen & Ylitalo (2008:21)
  14. ^ Fougeron & Smith (1993:73)
  15. ^ Shosted & Chikovani (2006:261–262)
  16. ^ Kohler (1999:87), Mangold (2005:37)
  17. ^ Szende (1994:92)
  18. ^ Árnason (2011:60)
  19. ^ Einarsson (1945:10), cited in Gussmann (2011:73)
  20. ^ Haugen (1958:65)
  21. ^ Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:119)
  22. ^ Okada (1991:94)
  23. ^ Jolkesky (2009:676–677 and 682)
  24. ^ Gussenhoven & Aarts (1999:159)
  25. ^ Heijmans & Gussenhoven (1998:110)
  26. ^ Peters (2006:119)
  27. ^ Verhoeven (2007:221)
  28. ^ Gilles & Trouvain (2013:70)
  29. ^ Jassem (2003:105)
  30. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:92)
  31. ^ Jones & Ward (1969:30)
  32. ^ Fast Mowitz (1975:2)
  33. ^ Rood & Taylor (1996)
  34. ^ Lakota Language Consortium (2004). ALPHABET alphabet.htm Lakota letters and sounds.
  35. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:256)
  36. ^ Tingsabadh & Abramson (1993:24)
  37. ^ Bamgboṣe (1969:166)
  38. ^ Merrill (2008:109)


  • Árnason, Kristján (2011), The Phonology of Icelandic and Faroese, Oxford University Press,  
  • Asu, Eva Liina; Teras, Pire (2009), "Estonian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 39 (3): 367–372,  
  • Bamgboṣe, Ayọ (1966), A Grammar of Yoruba, [West African Languages Survey / Institute of African Studies], Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 
  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (1–2): 53–56,  
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 25 (2): 90–94,  
  • Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2009), Armenian: Modern Eastern Armenian, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company 
  • Einarsson, Stefán (1945), Icelandic. Grammar texts glossary., Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press,  
  • Fast Mowitz, Gerhard (1975), Sistema fonológico del idioma achual, Lima: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano 
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L (1993), "Illustrations of the IPA:French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (2): 73–76,  
  • Gilles, Peter; Trouvain, Jürgen (2013), "Luxembourgish" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 43 (1): 67–74,  
  • Grønnum, Nina (2005), Fonetik og fonologi, Almen og Dansk (3rd ed.), Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag,  
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (2): 45–47,  
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos; Aarts, Flor (1999), "The dialect of Maastricht" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association (University of Nijmegen, Centre for Language Studies) 29: 155–166,  
  • Gussmann, Edmund (2011). "Getting your head around: the vowel system of Modern Icelandic" (PDF). Folia Scandinavica Posnaniensia 12: 71–90.  
  • Heijmans, Linda; Gussenhoven, Carlos (1998), "The Dutch dialect of Weert" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association 28: 107–112,  
  • Iivonen, Antti; Harnud, Huhe (2005), "Acoustical comparison of the monophthong systems in Finnish, Mongolian and Udmurt", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35 (1): 59–71,  
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (1): 103–107,  
  • 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 
  • Jones, Daniel; Ward, Dennis (1969), The Phonetics of Russian, Cambridge University Press 
  • Kohler, Klaus J. (1999), "German", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 86–89,  
  • Mangold, Max (2005), Das Aussprachewörterbuch, Duden,  
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259,  
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107–114,  
  • Okada, Hideo (1991), "Japanese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 21 (2): 94–96,  
  • Peters, Jörg (2006), "The dialect of Hasselt", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36 (1): 117–124,  
  • Roach, Peter (2004), "British English: Received Pronunciation", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (2): 239–245,  
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 117–121,  
  • Rood, David S; Taylor, Allan R. (1996), "Sketch of Lakhota, a Siouan Language, Part I", Handbook of North American Indians 17: 440–482 
  • Shosted, Ryan K.; Chikovani, Vakhtang (2006), "Standard Georgian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36 (2): 255–264,  
  • Suomi, Kari; Toivanen, Juhani; Ylitalo, Riikka (2008), Finish sound structure,  
  • Szende, Tamás (1994), "Illustrations of the IPA:Hungarian", Journal of the International Phonetic Alphabet 24 (2): 91–94,  
  • Tingsabadh, M.R. Kalaya; Abramson, Arthur S. (1993), "Thai", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (1): 24–26,  
  • Thelwall, Robin (1990), "Illustrations of the IPA: Arabic", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 20 (2): 37–41,  
  • Traunmüller, Hartmut (1982), "Vokalismus in der westniederösterreichischen Mundart.", Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik 2: 289–333,  
  • Verhoeven, Jo (2007), "The Belgian Limburg dialect of Hamont", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 37 (2): 219–225,  
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