:Cardinal vowel:

One of a set of reference vowel qualities devised by Daniel Jones. There are two series: primary cardinal vowels 1-8, where 1-5 are unrounded and 6-8 rounded, and secondary cardinal vowels 9-16, where 9-13 are rounded and 14-16 are rounded. The front vowels are 1,9 close, 2,10 close-mid, 3,11 open-mid, 4,12 open. The back vowels are 8,16 close, 7,15 close-mid, 6,14 open-mid, 5,13 open. Apart from these, two close central vowels, unrounded and rounded (17 and 18) are sometimes added to the system.

For the terms: close, close-mid, open-mid, open see height.
For the terms: front, central, back see location.

Primary cardinal vowels shown in black.
Secondary cardinal vowels shown in red.

Click on the icon to hear Daniel Jones pronouncing these sounds. A YouTube video clip will open in a new page or tab.