Close vowel

class of vowel sounds including [i] and [u]

A close vowel, also called a high vowel,[1] is a type of vowel. It is used in many spoken languages. When you say a close vowel, your tongue is very close to the top of your mouth. It isn't touching the top, however, because if it were to touch the top of your mouth, it would be called a consonant.

"Close" /ˈkls/ is recommended by the International Phonetic Association. In America, however, they are called high vowels.[2]

List of close vowels


In the International Phonetic Alphabet are six closed vowels:

There also are three close vowels that don't have symbols in the IPA:


  1. "VOWEL QUALITY". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  2. Ottenheimer, Harriet (2011). The Anthropology of Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology Workbook/Reader. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning. p. 44. ISBN 9781111828851.