||This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)
The open front rounded vowel, or low front rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, not confirmed to be phonemic in any spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɶ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is &. The letter ⟨ɶ⟩ is a small caps rendition of ⟨Œ⟩. Note that ⟨œ⟩, the lowercase version of the ligature, is used for the open-mid front rounded vowel.
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.
- Its vowel height is open, also known as low, which means the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth – that is, as low as possible in 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.
- It's rounded, which means that the lips are rounded rather than spread or relaxed.
[ɶ] is not confirmed to exist as a phoneme in any language. A phoneme generally transcribed by this symbol is reported from the Amstetten dialect of Austro-Bavarian German. It is the rounded equivalent of /æ/, not of open /a/, and so would be more narrowly transcribed as [œ̞] or [ɶ̝]. However, the vowel formants place Amstetten /æ/ and /œ/ one third of the way between /a/ and /i/, matching the IPA definition for open-mid vowels.