This is a phonetic symbol I have seen before, but did not understand…until this semester. This is the vowel found in the standard RP British pronunciation of bird /bɜd/ (U.K.) or /br̩d/ in U.S. English.
image of backwards open e - it resembles a 3 or a backwards epsilon
Many accents in English, including UK English, have generally lost the /r/ after a vowel while standard American has maintained this /r/. What’s interesting is that even though the /r/ is theoretically gone, there are still subtle changes in pronunciation where the /r/ used to be…which is why English speakers can still “hear” an /r/ even though it may not really be there any more.

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