A near-front vowel (also called a front-central vowel or a centralized front vowel) is any in a class of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a near-front vowel is that the tongue is positioned as in a front vowel, but slightly further back in the mouth. In practice, what are analyzed phonemically as rounded front vowels are typically near-front in their actual articulation.
The near-front vowels that have dedicated symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet are:
There also are near-front vowels that don't have dedicated symbols in the IPA:
- near-close near-front protruded vowel [ʏʷ] (ʏ̫)
Other near-front vowels can be indicated with diacritics of relative articulation applied to letters for neighboring vowels, such as ⟨i̠⟩, ⟨ɪ̝⟩ or ⟨ɨ̟⟩ for a close near-front unrounded vowel.