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Open front unrounded vowel
The open central unrounded vowel is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is a, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is a.
- Its vowel height is open, which means the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth.
- 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. There are no central open vowels because the tongue does not have as much flexibility in positioning as it does for the close vowels; as such the difference between an open front vowel and an open back vowel is equal to the difference between a close front vowel or a close back vowel and a close mid vowel.
- Its vowel roundedness is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.
All languages have some form of an unrounded open vowel. For languages that only have a single low vowel, the symbol for this vowel (a) is usually used because it is the only low vowel whose symbol is part of the basic Latin alphabet.
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