AskDefine | Define unrounded

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Adjective

  1. Not rounded.

Extensive Definition

In phonetics, vowel roundedness refers to the amount of rounding in the lips during the articulation of a vowel. That is, it is vocalic labialization. When pronouncing a rounded vowel, the lips form a circular opening, while unrounded vowels (also called spread vowels) are pronounced with the lips relaxed. In most languages, front vowels tend to be unrounded, while back vowels tend to be rounded. But some languages, such as French and German, distinguish rounded and unrounded front vowels of the same height, while Vietnamese distinguishes rounded and unrounded back vowels of the same height.
When consonants are rounded, they are called labialized.
In the International Phonetic Alphabet vowel chart, rounded vowels are the ones that occur on the right in each pair of vowels. There are also diacritics, respectively ɔ̹ ɔ̜, to indicate greater or lesser degrees of rounding. The 'more' and 'less rounded' diacritics are sometimes also used with consonants to indicate degrees of labialization. For example, in the Athabaskan language Hupa, voiceless velar fricatives distinguish three degrees of labialization, transcribed either [x x̹ xʷ] or [x x̜ʷ xʷ]. The Extensions to the IPA have two additional symbols for degrees of rounding: spread [ə͍] and open-rounded [ʒœ].

Types of rounding

There are two types of vowel rounding: endolabial, or compressed, and exolabial, or protruded.
In endolabial rounding, the corners of the mouth are drawn slightly together and the lips may be compressed horizontally, but the lips do not protrude and only their outer surface is exposed. In exolabial rounding, the lips protrude like a tube, as when kissing; the inner surface of the lips is exposed. Usually, front rounded vowels are exolabial, while back rounded vowels are endolabial. However, in Japanese, the back high vowel is exolabial. Swedish is unusual in that dialects of it make a phonemic distinction between the two types, having unrounded, endolabial, and exolabial front close-mid vowels. Some varieties of Dutch make the same distinction. There is no dedicated IPA diacritic to represent this contrast, and without disambiguation both the word "rounded" and the symbols for the rounded vowels are understood to refer to exolabial rounding.
The northern Iroquoian languages have no labial consonants. They do have /w/, /gʷ/, and /kʷ/, but these do not involve noticeable rounding (protrusion) of the lips. It may be that they are purely velar [ɰ, gᶭ, kᶭ], but it is also possible that they are compressed. It is not known how this might relate to the labialization distinction in Hupa.
unrounded in Breton: Rontder (yezhoniezh)
unrounded in German: Rundung (Phonetik)
unrounded in French: Arrondissement (phonétique)
unrounded in Hebrew: מעוגלות התנועות
unrounded in Japanese: 円唇母音
unrounded in Portuguese: Vogal arredondada
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