Close front unrounded vowel

Close front unrounded vowel
Close front unrounded vowel
IPA number 301
Entity (decimal) i
Unicode (hex) U+0069
Kirshenbaum i

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The close front unrounded vowel, or high front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is i.

The IPA prefers terms "close" and "open" for vowels, and the name of the article follows this. However, a large number of linguists, perhaps a majority, prefer the terms "high" and "low", and these are the only terms found in introductory textbooks on phonetics such as those by Peter Ladefoged.

Languages that use the Latin alphabet commonly use ⟨i⟩ to represent this sound, though there are some notable exceptions: in English orthography this letter is more commonly associated with /aɪ/ (as in bite) or /ɪ/ (as in bit) and /iː/ is represented with ⟨e⟩, ⟨ea⟩, ⟨ee⟩, and even ⟨ei⟩. Irish orthography is similar in that its spelling system is both etymological and used to indicate whether preceding consonants are broad or slender so that such combinations as ⟨aí⟩, ⟨ei⟩, and ⟨aío⟩ all represent /iː/.



IPA vowel chart
Front Near-​front Central Near-​back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
Paired vowels are: unrounded • rounded
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IPA help • IPA key • chart • Loudspeaker.svg chart with audio • view
  • 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.
  • Its vowel roundedness is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Abkhaz ажьырныҳәа [aʑirnuħʷo] 'January' See Abkhaz phonology
Afrikaans dankie [daŋki] 'thank you'
Albanian mali [mali] 'the mountain'
Arabic Standard[1] دين [d̪iːn] 'religion' See Arabic phonology
Armenian իմ [im] 'my'
Azerbaijani dili [dili] 'tree'
Basque bizar [bis̻ar] 'beard'
Bengali আমি [ami] 'I' See Bengali phonology
Catalan[2] sis [ˈsis] 'six' See Catalan phonology
Chickasaw lhinko [ɬinko] 'to be fat'
Chinese Cantonese /si1 [siː˥] 'poem' See Cantonese phonology
Mandarin 北京/Běijīng [peɪ˨˩ tɕiŋ˥] 'Beijing' See Mandarin phonology
Croatian vino [viːno̞] 'wine' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Czech bílý [ˈbʲiːliː] 'white' See Czech phonology
Dahalo [ʡáɬi] 'fat'
Danish bilist [b̥iˈlisd] 'car driver' See Danish phonology
Dutch[3] biet [bit] 'beet' See Dutch phonology
English[4] free [fɹiː] 'free' See English phonology
Estonian tiik [tiːk] 'pond'
Faroese il [iːl] 'sole'
Finnish[5] viisi [viːsi] 'five' See Finnish phonology
French[6] fini [fini] 'finished' See French phonology
Georgian[7] სამ [ˈsɑmi] 'three'
German Ziel [tsiːl] 'goal' See German phonology
Greek κήπος/kipos [ˈcipos] 'garden' Also represented by <οι> and <υι>. See Modern Greek phonology
Guaraní ha’ukuri [haʔukuri] 'Guaraní'
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
Hindi तीन [t̪iːn] 'three' See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Hungarian[8] ív [iːv] 'arch' See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic líka [liːka] 'also' See Icelandic phonology
Indonesian ini [ini] 'this'
Irish sí [ʃiː] 'she' See Irish phonology
Italian[9] bile [ˈbile] 'rage' See Italian phonology
Japanese[10] /gin About this sound [ɡiɴ] 'silver' See Japanese phonology
Korean 시장/sijang [ɕiˈd͡ʑaŋ] 'hunger' See Korean phonology
Kurdish zîndu [ziːndu] 'alive'
Latvian šķīvi [ʃkʲiːʋi] 'plate'
Lithuanian įbrolis [ˈiːbrolʲɪs] 'half-brother'
Macedonian јазик [jazik] '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 and Southern miralhar [miraˈʎa] 'to reflect'
Gascon polida [?] 'pretty'
Pashto پانير [pɑˈnir] 'cheese'
Persian کی [kiː] 'who' See Persian phonology
Pirahã baíxi [màíʔì] 'parent'
Polish[11] miś About this sound [ˈmʲiɕ] 'teddy bear' See Polish phonology
Portuguese[12] li [liː] 'I read' See Portuguese phonology
Quechua allin [ˈaʎin] 'good'
Romanian insulă [ˈinsulə] 'island' See Romanian phonology
Russian[13] лист [lʲist] 'leaf' Only occurs word-initially or after palatalized consonants. See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic chì [xiː] 'shall see' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Serbian милина/milina [milina] 'enjoyment' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Seri cmiique [ˈkw̃ĩːkːɛ] 'person'
Sindhi سنڌي [sɪndʱiː] 'Sindhi'
Sioux Lakota[14][15] ǧí [ʀí] 'it's brown'
Slovak chlapi [xlapʲi] 'men'
Spanish[16] tipo [ˈt̪ipo̞] 'type' May also be represented by <y>. See Spanish phonology
Swahili miti [miti] 'trees'
Swedish is About this sound [iːs] 'ice' See Swedish phonology
Tagalog silya [ˈsiljɐ] 'chair' See Tagalog phonology
Tajik бинӣ [biˈniː] 'nose'
Thai[17] กริช [krìt] 'dagger'
Turkish ip [ip] 'rope' See Turkish phonology
Ubykh [ɡʲi] 'heart' Allophone of /ə/ after palatalized consonants. See Ubykh phonology
Ukrainian кіт [kit] 'cat' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese ty [ti] 'bureau' See Vietnamese phonology
Võro kirotas [kʲirotas] 'he writes'
Welsh hir [hiːr] 'long'
West Frisian siik [siːk] 'ill'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[18] diza [d̪iza] 'Zapotec'
Zulu umuzi [uˈmuːzi] 'village'



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