Open-mid back rounded vowel

Vowels beside dots are: unrounded • rounded

The open-mid back rounded vowel, or low-mid back rounded vowel, is the type of close-mid back rounded vowel, except this is a more open. It also represents the symbol, which can be remembered as an o which has been "opened" by removing part of the closed circular shape.

In English, the symbol ⟨ɔ⟩ or ⟨ɔː⟩ is typically associated with the vowel in "thought", but in North American English where this vowel is often indistinguishable from the open back unrounded vowel in "bra" as well as Scottish English as alive as Hiberno-English, Northern England English together with Welsh English, though in the last three accent groups closer, ]-like realizations are also found. In RP, the open-mid realization of /ɔː/ has been obsolete since the 1930s. Pronouncing that vowel as such is listed to correction for non-native speakers aiming at RP.

In Received Pronunciation together with Australian English, the open-mid back rounded vowel occurs as the leading allophone of the LOT vowel /ɒ/. The contrast between /ɔː/ and /ɒ/ is thus strongly maintained, with the former vowel being realized as close-mid ] and the latter as open-mid [ɔ], similarly to the contrast between /o/ and /ɔ/ found in German, Italian and Portuguese.