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Close front unrounded vowel

Close front unrounded vowel
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IPA number 301
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Kirshenbaum i
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The close front unrounded vowel, or high front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound that occurs in many 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. Irish orthography reflects both etymology and whether preceding consonants are broad or slender, so such combinations as , ei, and aío all represent /iː/.


IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
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  • 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
Abkhaz ажьырныҳәа [aʑirnuħʷo] 'January' See Abkhaz phonology
Adyghe ти [ti] 'our'
Afrikaans dankie [ˈdaŋki] 'thank you'
Albanian mali [mali] 'the mountain'
Arabic Standard[2] دين [d̪iːn] 'religion' See Arabic phonology
Armenian Eastern[3] իմ [im] 'my'
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic mees [miːs] 'table' Used predominantly in the Urmia and Nochiya dialects. Corresponds to [ɛ] in other varieties.
Azerbaijani dili [dili][stress?] 'tree'
Basque bizar [bis̻ar] 'beard'
Bavarian Amstetten dialect[4] [example needed]
Bengali আমি [ami] 'I' See Bengali phonology
Bulgarian първи [pɤrvi] first
Catalan[5] sis [ˈs̠is̠] 'six' See Catalan phonology
Chickasaw lhinko [ɬiŋko] 'to be fat'
Chinese Cantonese si1 [siː˥] 'poem' See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin 北京 běijīng [peɪ˨˩ tɕiŋ˥] 'Beijing' See Mandarin phonology
Cornish hir [hiːr] 'long'
Czech bílý About this sound [ˈbiːliː]  'white' See Czech phonology
Dahalo [ʡáɬi] 'fat'
Danish Standard[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13] mile [ˈmiːlə] 'dune' See Danish phonology
Dutch[14] biet About this sound [bit]  'beet' See Dutch phonology
English[15] free About this sound [fɹiː]  'free' Depending on dialect, can be pronounced as a diphthong. See English phonology
Estonian tiik [tiːk] 'pond'
Faroese il [iːl] 'sole'
Finnish[16] viisi [ˈviːsi] 'five' See Finnish phonology
French[17] fini [fini] 'finished' See French phonology
Georgian[18] სამ [ˈsɑmi] 'three'
German Standard[19] Ziel About this sound [t͡siːl]  'goal' See German phonology
Greek κήπος kípos [ˈcipos] 'garden' Also represented by ι, υ, ει, οι, and υι. See Modern Greek phonology
Guaraní ha’ukuri [haʔukuˈɾi] 'I just ate'
Hawaiian makani [makani] 'breeze' See Hawaiian phonology
Hebrew דיר [diʁ] 'pen' (enclosure) Hebrew vowels are not shown in the script, see Niqqud and Modern Hebrew phonology
Hindustani की About this sound [kiː]  'of' (feminine suject) See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian[20] ív [iːv] 'arch' See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic[21][22][23] fínt [fin̥t] 'fine' See Icelandic phonology
Indonesian ini [ini] 'this'
Irish sí [ʃiː] 'she' See Irish phonology
Italian[24] bile [ˈbile] 'rage' See Italian phonology
Japanese[25] gin About this sound [ɡʲiɴ]  'silver' See Japanese phonology
Kabardian ди [di] 'our'
Korean 시장 sijang [ɕiˈd͡ʑɐŋ] 'hunger' See Korean phonology
Kurdish zîndu [ziːndu] 'alive'
Latvian šķīvi [ˈʃciːvi] 'plate' (acc.)
Lithuanian įbrolis [ˈîːbroːlʲɪs̪] 'half-brother'
Luxembourgish[26] Kiischt [kʰiːʃt] 'cherry'
Macedonian јазик [ˈjäz̪ik] 'tongue' See Macedonian phonology
Malay biru [biru] 'blue'
Maltese bieb [biːb] 'door'
Navajo biwosh [biɣʷoʃ] 'his cactus' See Navajo phonology
North Frisian Mooring hii [iːl] 'owl'
Norwegian is [iːs] 'ice' See Norwegian phonology
Occitan Northern miralhar [miɾaˈʎa] 'to reflect' See Occitan phonology
Gascon polida [puˈlið̞o̞] 'pretty'
Pashto پانير [pɑˈnir] 'cheese'
Persian کی [kiː] 'who' See Persian phonology
Pirahã baíxi [màíʔì] 'parent'
Polish[27] miś About this sound [ˈmʲiɕ]  'teddy bear' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[28] European dióspiro [diˈɔʃpiɾu] 'persimmon' An allophone of unstressed /ɛ ~ e/ in most Brazilian Portuguese variants (being [e ~ ɪ] instead in São Paulo and the South), and only in hiatuses in Europe (otherwise [ɨ]), too. May be represented by y. See Portuguese phonology
Brazilian menininho [miniˈnĩ j̃u] 'little boy'
Punjabi ਪੰਜਾਬੀ [pənˈd͡ʒäbi] 'Punjabi Language'
Quechua allin [ˈaʎin] 'good'
Romanian insulă [ˈin̪s̪ulə] 'island' See Romanian phonology
Russian[29] лист About this sound [lʲis̪t̪]  'leaf' Only occurs word-initially or after palatalized consonants. See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic chì [xiː] 'shall see' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Serbo-Croatian милина / milina [milina][tone?] 'enjoyment' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Seri cmiique [ˈkw̃ĩːkːɛ] 'person'
Sindhi سنڌي [sɪndʱiː] 'Sindhi'
Sioux Lakota[30][31] ǧí [ʀí] 'it's brown'
Slovak rýchly [ˈriːxli] 'fast' See Slovak phonology
Spanish[32] tipo [ˈt̪ipo̞] 'type' May also be represented by y. See Spanish phonology
Swahili miti [miti] 'trees'
Swedish is About this sound [iːs̪]  'ice' See Swedish phonology
Tagalog silya [ˈsiljɐ] 'chair' See Tagalog phonology
Tajik бинӣ [biˈniː] 'nose'
Thai[33] กริช [krìt] 'dagger'
Turkish ip [ip] 'rope' See Turkish phonology
Ubykh [ɡʲi] 'heart' Allophone of /ə/ after palatalized consonants. See Ubykh phonology
Ukrainian кіт [kʲit̪] 'cat' See Ukrainian phonology
Uyghur yip [jip] 'rope' See Uyghur phonology
Vietnamese ty [ti] 'bureau' See Vietnamese phonology
Võro kirotas [kʲirotas] 'he writes'
Welsh hir [hiːr] 'long'
West Frisian siik [siːk] 'ill'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[34] diza [d̪iza] 'Zapotec'
Zulu umuzi [uˈmuːzi] 'village'