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Throughout Wikipedia, the pronunciation of words is indicated by means of the "International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The following tables list the IPA symbols used for English words and pronunciations. Please note that several of these symbols are used in ways that are specific to Wikipedia and differ from those used by dictionaries.

If the IPA symbols are not displayed properly by your browser, see the links below.

If you are adding a pronunciation using this key, such pronunciations should generally be formatted using the template {{"IPAc-en}}. The template provides tooltips for each symbol in the pronunciation. See the template page for instructions.


If the words given as examples for two different symbols sound the same to you (for example, if you pronounce cot and caught the same, or do and dew, or marry and merry), you can pronounce those symbols the same in explanations of all words. The footnotes explain some of these mergers. (See also Dialect variation below.)

If there is an IPA symbol you are looking for that you do not see here, see "Help:IPA, which is a more complete list. For a table listing all spellings of the sounds on this page, see "English orthography § Sound-to-spelling correspondences. For help converting spelling to pronunciation, see "English orthography § Spelling-to-sound correspondences.

IPA Examples
b buy, cab
d dye, cad, ladder[1]
dj dew[2]
[3] giant, badge, jam
ð thy, breathe, father
f fan, caff, phi
ɡ (ɡ)[4] guy, bag
h high, ahead
hw why[5]
j[6] yes, hallelujah
k sky, crack
l lie, sly, gal[7]
lj lute[2]
m my, smile, cam
n nigh, snide, can
nj new[2]
ŋ sang, sink, singer
p pie, spy, cap
r[8] rye, try, very
s sigh, mass
sj consume[2]
ʃ shy, cash, emotion
t tie, sty, cat, latter[1]
tj tune[2]
[3] China, catch
θ thigh, math
θj enthuse[2]
v vie, have
w wye, swine
z zoo, has
zj Zeus[2]
ʒ pleasure, vision, beige[9]
"Marginal segments
IPA Examples
x ugh, loch, Chanukah[10]
ʔ uh-oh /ˈʔʌʔoʊ/
ɒ̃ bon vivant[11]
æ̃ fin de siècle[11]
Full vowels ...followed by R[12]
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ɑː PALM, bra ɑːr START, star
ɒ LOT, pod, John, blockade[13] ɒr moral, forage[13]
æ TRAP, pad, tattoo[14] ær barrow, marry[15]
PRICE, ride, pie[16] aɪər Ireland, hire[17]
aɪ.ər higher, buyer[18]
MOUTH, loud, down, how[16] aʊər flour[17]
aʊ.ər flower[18]
ɛ DRESS, bet, prestige[19] ɛr error, merry[19]
FACE, made, fail, vein, pay ɛər SQUARE, mare, scarce, cairn, Mary[20][21]
eɪ.ər player[18]
ɪ KIT, lid, historic ɪr mirror, Sirius
FLEECE, seed, mean, pedigree ɪər NEAR, beard, fierce, serious[22][21]
iːər freer
GOAT, code, go, foal, follower[23][24] oʊ.ər mower
ɔː THOUGHT, Maud, dawn, fall, straw[25] ɔːr NORTH, FORCE, horse, hoarse, oral[26][27]
ɔːər sawer
ɔɪ CHOICE, void, boy ɔɪər coir[17]
ɔɪ.ər employer[18]
ʊ FOOT, good, full, woman ʊr courier
GOOSE, food, tissue ʊər boor, moor, tourist, CURE (/kjʊər/)[27][21]
uːər truer
ʌ STRUT, bud, untidy, justiciable[28][29] ɜːr NURSE, word, girl, fern, furry, Berlin[30]
ʌr hurry, nourish[31]
"Reduced vowels and "syllabic consonants
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ə COMMA, ago, quiet, focus ər LETTER, perceive
əl bottle (either [əl] or [l̩])
ən button (either [ən] or [n̩])
əm rhythm (either [əm] or [m̩])
i HAPPY, mediocre (either [i] or [ɪ])[32] serious, California (either [i.ə], [ɪ.ə], or [jə])[33]
u fruition (either [u] or [ʊ])[24] influence (either [u.ə], [ʊ.ə], or [wə])[34]
"Stress "Syllabification
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ˈ intonation /ˌɪntəˈneɪʃən/,
motorcycle /ˈmoʊtərˌsaɪkəl/
. /ˈhaɪər/ hire, /ˈhaɪ.ər/ higher[35]


Dialect variation[edit]

This key represents "diaphonemes, abstractions of speech sounds that accommodate "General American, "Received Pronunciation (RP) and "New Zealand (and to a large extent also "Australian, "Canadian, "Irish (including "Ulster), "Scottish, "South African and "Welsh, but see below) pronunciations. Therefore, not all of the distinctions shown here are relevant to a particular dialect:

On the other hand, there are some distinctions which you might make but which this key does not encode, as they are seldom reflected in the dictionaries used as sources for Wikipedia articles:

Other words may have different vowels depending on the speaker.

The pronunciation of the /æ/ vowel in most dialects of Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and Wales has always been closer to ["a]. BBC English has moved away from the traditional near-open front realization ["æ] towards almost fully open front realization ["a], and both the Oxford English Dictionary and the 2014 edition of Gimson's Pronunciation of English transcribe the vowel in lad, bad, cat, trap with /a/.[w]

For more extensive information on dialect variations, you may wish to see the "IPA chart for English dialects.

Note that place names are not generally exempted from being transcribed in this abstracted system, so rules such as the above must be applied in order to recover the local pronunciation. Examples include place names in much of England ending ‑ford, which although locally pronounced [‑fəd] are transcribed /‑fərd/. This is best practice for editors. However, readers should be aware that not all editors may have followed this consistently, so for example if /‑fəd/ is encountered for such a place name, it should not be interpreted as a claim that the /r/ would be absent even in a "rhotic dialect.

Other transcriptions[edit]

If you feel it is necessary to add a pronunciation respelling using another convention, then please use the conventions of "Wikipedia's pronunciation respelling key.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b In varieties with "flapping, /t/ and /d/ between a vowel and an unstressed or word-initial vowel may be pronounced with a voiced tap ["ɾ], making the words latter and ladder homophonous. Some dictionaries transcribe /t/ subject to this process as ⟨d⟩, ⟨D⟩, or ⟨⟩, but they are not distinguished in this notation system. In those varieties, the sequence /nt/ in the same environment may also be realized as "nasalized tap [ɾ̃], which may sound similar or identical to /n/. This is also not distinguished in this system.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g In dialects with "yod dropping, /j/ in /juː/ or /jʊər/ is not pronounced after "coronal consonants (/t/, /d/, /s/, /z/, /n/, /θ/, and /l/) in the same syllable, so that dew /djuː/ is pronounced the same as do /duː/. In dialects with "yod coalescence, /tj/ and /dj/ mostly merge with /tʃ/ and /dʒ/, so that the first syllable in Tuesday is pronounced the same as choose. In some dialects /sj/ and /zj/ are also affected and frequently merge with /ʃ/ and /ʒ/.
  3. ^ a b The "affricates /tʃ, dʒ/ are more correctly written with "ligature ties: /t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ/. Ties are usually not included in transcriptions on Wikipedia because they do not display correctly in all browsers.
  4. ^ If the two characters ⟨ɡ⟩ and ⟨""Opentail g.svg⟩ do not match and if the first looks like a ⟨γ⟩, then you have an issue with your default font. See "Help:IPA § Rendering issues.
  5. ^ The phoneme /hw/ is not distinguished from /w/ in the many dialects with the "winewhine merger, such as RP and most varieties of General American. For more information on this sound, see "voiceless labialized velar approximant.
  6. ^ The IPA value of the letter ⟨j⟩ is counter-intuitive to many English speakers. However, it does occur with this sound in a few English words: Besides "hallelujah, there are "fjord, "Jägermeister and "Jarlsberg cheese.
  7. ^ /l/ in the "syllable coda, as in the words all, cold, or bottle, is pronounced as ["o], ["u], ["w] or a similar sound in many dialects through "L-vocalization.
  8. ^ In most varieties of English, /r/ is pronounced as an approximant [ɹ]. Although the IPA symbol [r] represents a "trill, /r/ is widely used instead of /ɹ/ in broad transcriptions of English.
  9. ^ A number of English words, such as genre and garage, may be pronounced with either /ʒ/ or /dʒ/.
  10. ^ In most dialects, /x/ is replaced by /k/ in most words, including loch. It is also replaced with /h/ in some words, such as Chanukah.
  11. ^ a b /ɒ̃, æ̃/ are only found in French loanwords and often replaced by another vowel and a nasal consonant: bon vivant /ˌbɒn viːˈvɑːnt/, ensemble /ɑːnˈsɑːmbəl/, croissant /ˈkwæsɑːŋ/, meringue /məˈræŋ/.[a]
  12. ^ In "non-rhotic accents like RP, /r/ is not pronounced unless followed by a vowel. In some Wikipedia articles, /ɪər/ etc. may not be distinguished from /ɪr/ etc. These should be fixed to correspond with the chart here.
  13. ^ a b In dialects with the "fatherbother merger such as General American, /ɒ/ is not distinguished from /ɑː/ except before /r/. Before /r/, it merges with /ɔː/ except for a handful of words such as borrow, tomorrow and sorry. Such words should have separate General American transcriptions, as is the case with CLOTH words.
  14. ^ In North America, /æ/ is often pronounced like a diphthong [eə~ɛə], especially before nasal consonants. See "/æ/ raising.
  15. ^ /ær/ is pronounced the same as /ɛr/ (as in merry) in accents with the "Marymarrymerry merger.
  16. ^ a b Many speakers, for example in most of Canada and much of the United States, have a different vowel in price and ride, and a different vowel in "mouth" and "loud". Generally, an [aɪ] or [aʊ] is used at the ends of words and before voiced sounds, as in ride, pie, loud, how, while an [ʌɪ] or [ʌʊ] is used before voiceless sounds, as in price and mouth. Because /t/ and /d/ are often conflated in the middle of words in these dialects, derivatives of these words, such as rider and writer, may be distinguished only by their vowel: [ˈɹɾɚ], [ˈɹʌɪɾɚ]. However, even though the value of /aɪ/ or /aʊ/ is not predictable in some words, such as spider [ˈspʌɪɾɚ],[b] dictionaries do not generally record it, so it has not been allocated a separate transcription here.
  17. ^ a b c In some dialects, especially in the UK, the second segment in a diphthong followed by /ə/ is often omitted. This process or lack thereof may help choose between /aɪər, aʊər, ɔɪər/ in some words (diary, admirer) and /aɪr, aʊr, ɔɪr/ in others (pirate, siren), a distinction not always clear.
  18. ^ a b c d Some speakers pronounce higher, flower, mayor and coyer ("more coy") with two syllables, and hire, flour, mare and coir with one. Others pronounce them the same.
  19. ^ a b /ɛ/ is transcribed as /e/ by many dictionaries.[c]
  20. ^ /ɛər/ is pronounced the same as /ɛr/ (as in merry) in accents with the "Marymarrymerry merger. It is often transcribed as /eə/ by British dictionaries and as /er/ by American ones. The OED uses /ɛː/ for BrE and /ɛ(ə)r/ for AmE,[d] but the Oxford Online Dictionaries apparently always use /er/ for AmE despite having /e(ə)r/ in their key to US pronunciations.[e][f]
  21. ^ a b c /ɛə/, /ɪə/, or /ʊə/ may be separated from /r/ only when a stress follows it. The "IPAc-en template supports /ɛəˈr/, /ɪəˈr/, /ʊəˈr/, /ɛəˌr/, /ɪəˌr/, and /ʊəˌr/ as distinct diaphonemes for such occasions.
  22. ^ /ɪər/ is pronounced the same as /ɪr/ in accents with the "mirrornearer merger.
  23. ^ /oʊ/ is transcribed as /əʊ/ in Received Pronunciation.
  24. ^ a b /oʊ/ and /u/ in unstressed, prevocalic positions are transcribed as /əw/ by Merriam-Webster, but no other dictionary uniformly follows this practice.[g] Hence a difference between /əw/ in Merriam-Webster and /oʊ/ or /u/ in another source is most likely one in notation, not in pronunciation, so /əw/ in such cases may be better replaced with /oʊ/ or /u/ accordingly, to minimize confusion: /ˌsɪtʃəˈweɪʃən//ˌsɪtʃuˈeɪʃən/, /ˈfɒləwər//ˈfɒloʊ.ər/.
  25. ^ /ɔː/ is not distinguished from /ɒ/ (except before /r/) in dialects with the "cotcaught merger such as many varieties of General American.
  26. ^ Some conservative dialects make a distinction between the vowels in horse and hoarse, but the number of speakers who make this distinction any longer is very small and many dictionaries do not differentiate between them ("horse–hoarse merger). The vowel in hoarse was formerly represented as /ɔər/ on Wikipedia, but is now represented as /ɔːr/, identical to horse.
  27. ^ a b /ʊər/ is not distinguished from /ɔːr/ in dialects with the "cureforce merger, including many younger speakers. In England, the merger may not be fully consistent and may only apply to more common words. In conservative RP and Northern England English /ʊər/ is much more commonly preserved than in modern RP and Southern England English. In Australia and New Zealand, /ʊər/ does not exist as a separate phoneme and is replaced either by the sequence /uːər/ (/uːr/ before vowels within the same word, save for some compounds) or the monophthong /ɔːr/.
  28. ^ Some, particularly American, dictionaries notate /ʌ/ with the same symbol as /ə/, which is found only in unstressed syllables, and distinguish it from /ə/ only by a stress mark preceding it. Also note that although ⟨ʌ⟩, the IPA symbol for the "open-mid back vowel, is used, the typical modern pronunciation is rather close to the "near-open central vowel [ɐ] in both Received Pronunciation and General American.
  29. ^ /ʌ/ is not used in the dialects of the northern half of England, some bordering parts of Wales, and some broad eastern Ireland accents. These words would take the /ʊ/ vowel: there is no "footstrut split.
  30. ^ In Received Pronunciation, /ɜːr/ is pronounced as a lengthened schwa, [əː]. In General American, it is phonetically identical to /ər/. Some dictionaries therefore use ⟨əː, ər⟩ instead of the conventional notations ⟨ɜː, ɜr⟩. When ⟨ər⟩ is used for /ɜːr/, it is distinguished from /ər/ by a stress mark preceding it.
  31. ^ /ʌr/ is not distinguished from /ɜːr/ in dialects with the "hurryfurry merger such as some varieties of General American.
  32. ^ /i/ is pronounced [i] in dialects with the "happy tensing and [ɪ] in others. British convention used to transcribe it with ⟨ɪ⟩, but the OED and other influential dictionaries recently converted to ⟨i⟩.
  33. ^ While /iə/ is phonemically a sequence of two reduced vowels /i/ and /ə/, it is phonetically varisyllabic, so that California, for example, can be pronounced [ˌkæl.ɪˈfɔːr.ni.ə] or [ˌkæl.ɪˈfɔːr.nɪ.ə] (with five syllables) or [ˌkæl.ɪˈfɔːr.njə] (with four syllables). This [jə] can be regarded as a phonetic diphthong [i̯ə], and it may be similar to the NEAR vowel (/ɪər/) in some non-rhotic accents (e.g. conservative RP). It must be transcribed as /iə/, not /i.ə/, because the latter would falsely suggest that the disyllabic pronunciation is the only possibility. Disyllabic pronunciation is mandatory across word boundaries, as in happy again.[h]
  34. ^ While /uə/ is phonemically a sequence of two reduced vowels /u/ and /ə/, it is phonetically varisyllabic, so that influence, for example, can be pronounced [ˈɪn.flu.əns] or [ˈɪn.flʊ.əns] (with three syllables) or [ˈɪn.flwəns] (with two syllables). This [wə] can be regarded as a phonetic diphthong [u̯ə], and it may be similar to the CURE vowel (/ʊər/) in some non-rhotic accents (e.g. conservative RP and some South African accents). It must be transcribed as /uə/, not /u.ə/, because the latter would falsely suggest that the disyllabic pronunciation is the only possibility).[h]
  35. ^ Syllable divisions are not usually marked, but the IPA dot '.' may be used when it is wished to make explicit where a division between syllables is (or may be) made.


  1. ^ Jones (2011).
  2. ^ Vance (1987), p. 201.
  3. ^ Wells, John (18 March 2009). "e and ɛ". John Wells's phonetic blog. Blogspot. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Key to pronunciation". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "square" in Oxford Online Dictionaries
  6. ^ Key to US pronunciations in Oxford Online Dictionaries
  7. ^ "Windsor Lewis, Jack (10 April 2009). "The Elephant in the Room". PhonetiBlog. 
  8. ^ a b Wells (2008), p. 173.
  9. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 473–476, 493, 499.
  10. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 361, 372.
  11. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 605–607.
  12. ^ Bauer et al. (2007), pp. 98–99.
  13. ^ Bauer et al. (2007), p. 98.
  14. ^ Stuart-Smith (2004), p. 58.
  15. ^ Corrigan (2010), pp. 33–35.
  16. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 351–353, 363–364.
  17. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 380–381.
  18. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 612–613.
  19. ^ a b Stuart-Smith (2004), p. 56
  20. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 304, 310–311.
  21. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 304, 312–313.
  22. ^ Stuart-Smith (2004), p. 57.
  23. ^ Cruttenden (2014), pp. 119–120.


External links[edit]

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