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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.

Key[edit]

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.

"Consonants
IPA Examples
b buy, cab
d dye, cad, adage[1]
giant, badge, jam
ð thy, breathe, father
f fan, caff, phi
ɡ (ɡ)[2] guy, bag
h high, ahead
hw why[3]
j[4] yes, hallelujah
k sky, crack
l lie, sly, gal[5]
m my, smile, cam
n nigh, snide, can
ŋ sang, sink, singer
p pie, spy, cap
r[6] rye, try, very
s sigh, mass
ʃ shy, cash, emotion
t tie, sty, cat, atom[1]
China, catch
θ thigh, math
v vie, have
w wye, swine
z zoo, has
ʒ pleasure, vision, beige[7]
 
"Marginal segments
IPA Examples
"x ugh, loch, Chanukah[8]
"ʔ uh-oh /ˈʔʌʔoʊ/
"ɒ̃ bon vivant[9]
"æ̃ fin de siècle[9]
"Vowels
Full vowels ...followed by R[10]
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ɑː PALM, father, bra ɑːr START, bard, barn, snarl, star
ɒ LOT, pod, John[11] ɒr moral, forage
æ TRAP, pad, ban[12][13] ær barrow, marry[14]
PRICE, ride, file, fine, pie[15] aɪər Ireland, hire (= /aɪr/)
aɪ.ər higher, buyer[16]
MOUTH, loud, foul, down, how aʊər flour (= /aʊr/)
aʊ.ər flower[16]
ɛ DRESS, bet, fell, men[17] ɛr error, merry[17]
FACE, made, fail, vein, pay ɛər SQUARE, mare, scarce, cairn, Mary (= /eɪr/)[18]
eɪ.ər layer (one who lays)[16]
ɪ KIT, lid, fill, bin ɪr mirror, Sirius
FLEECE, seed, feel, mean, sea ɪər NEAR, beard, fierce, serious (= /iːr/)[19]
iː.ər freer
ɔː THOUGHT, Maud, dawn, fall, straw[20] ɔːr NORTH, born, war, Laura[21][22]
ɔː.ər sawer
ɔɪ CHOICE, void, foil, coin, boy ɔɪər coir (= /ɔɪr/)
ɔɪ.ər employer[16]
GOAT, code, foal, bone, go[23] ɔər FORCE, more, boar, oral (= /oʊr/)[21][22]
oʊ.ər mower
ʊ FOOT, good, full, woman ʊr courier
GOOSE, food, fool, soon, do ʊər boor, moor, tourist (= /uːr/)[21][22]
uː.ər truer
juː cute, mule, puny, beauty, huge, tune[24] jʊər cure (= /juːr/)
juː.ər fewer
ʌ STRUT, bud, dull, gun[25] ɜːr NURSE, word, girl, fern, furry, Berlin
ʌr hurry, nourish (in the UK)
"Reduced vowels and "syllabic consonants
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ə COMMA, Rosa's, 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, serious[26] (either /ɪ/ or /iː/) u superfluous (either /ʊ/ or /uː/)
[27] roses, enough[28] (either /ɪ/ or /ə/) ᵿ[27] beautiful (either /ʊ/ or /ə/)[29]
jᵿ[27] curriculum (either /jʊ/ or /jə/)[29]
 
"Stress "Syllabification
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ˈ intonation /ˌɪntəˈneɪʃən/,[30]
battleship /ˈbætəlʃɪp/[31]
. /haɪər/ hire, /haɪ.ər/ higher[32]
ˌ

Notes

Dialect variation[edit]

This key represents "diaphonemes, abstractions of speech sounds that accommodate "General American (GenAm), "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/.[ref 9]

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]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b In varieties with "flapping, /t/ and /d/ between a vowel and an unstressed vowel may be pronounced with a tap ["ɾ], making the words latter and ladder homophonous. Some dictionaries (such as "NOAD) transcribe those instances as /d/ or /D/, but they are not distinguished from /t/ or /d/ 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 on Wikipedia.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ The phoneme /hw/ is not distinguished from /w/ in the many dialects with the "winewhine merger, such as RP and most varieties of GenAm. For more information on this sound, see "voiceless labialized velar approximant.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ /l/ in the "syllable coda is pronounced as ["o], ["u], ["w] or a similar sound through "L-vocalization in many dialects.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ A number of English words, such as genre and garage, may be pronounced with either /ʒ/ or /dʒ/.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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 /ˈkwæs.ɑːŋ/.[ref 1][ref 2][ref 3]
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ /ɒ/ is not distinguished from /ɑː/ in dialects with the "fatherbother merger such as GenAm.
  12. ^ Some regions, such as New York City and Philadelphia, separate this into two phonemes, /æ/ and /eǝ/, so that the vowel in crash may be closer to that in mail than that in cat. In other dialects, such as "General American, the two sounds are allophones. See "/æ/ tensing.
  13. ^ In some regions, what would normally be [æŋ] or [æɡ] is pronounced as [eŋ] or [eɪŋ], [eɡ] or [eɪɡ], so that the a in rang and rag is closer to the ai in rain than the a in rat.
  14. ^ /ær/ is pronounced the same as /ɛr/ in accents with the "Marymarrymerry merger.
  15. ^ Many speakers, for example in most of Canada and much of the United States, have a different vowel in price and ride. Generally, an [aɪ] is used at the ends of words and before voiced sounds, as in ride, file, fine, pie, while an [ʌɪ] is used before voiceless sounds, as in price and write. 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: [ˈɹʷɾɚ], [ˈɹʷʌɪɾɚ]. However, even though the value of /aɪ/ is not predictable in some words, such as spider [ˈspʌɪɾɚ],["citation needed] dictionaries do not generally record it, so it has not been allocated a separate transcription here.
  16. ^ a b c d Some speakers pronounce higher, flower, layer (stratum) and mayor with two syllables, and hire, flour, lair and mare with one. Others pronounce them the same.
  17. ^ a b /ɛ/ is transcribed as /e/ by many dictionaries.[ref 4]
  18. ^ /ɛər/ is pronounced the same as /ɛr/ 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,[ref 5] but the Oxford Online Dictionaries apparently always use /er/ for AmE despite having /e(ə)r/ in their key to US pronunciations.[ref 6][ref 7]
  19. ^ /ɪər/ is pronounced the same as /ɪr/ in accents with the "mirrornearer merger.
  20. ^ /ɔː/ is not distinguished from /ɒ/ (except before /r/) in dialects with the "cotcaught merger such as some varieties of GenAm.
  21. ^ a b c /ɔər/ is not distinguished from /ɔːr/ in dialects with the "horsehoarse merger, which include most dialects of modern English. Many dictionaries do not differentiate between them.
  22. ^ a b c /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 /uː.ər/ (/uːr/ before vowels within the same word, save for some compounds) or the monophthong /ɔːr/.
  23. ^ /oʊ/ is commonly transcribed /əʊ/ or /oː/.
  24. ^ In dialects with "yod dropping, /juː/ is pronounced the same as /uː/ 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/, /dj/, /sj/ and /zj/ are pronounced /tʃ/, /dʒ/, /ʃ/ and /ʒ/, so that the first syllable in Tuesday is pronounced the same as choose.
  25. ^ /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.
  26. ^ /i/ is pronounced [i] in dialects with the "happy tensing, [ɪ] in other dialects. British convention used to transcribe it with ⟨ɪ⟩, but the OED and other influential dictionaries recently converted to ⟨i⟩.
  27. ^ a b c ⟨ᵻ⟩ and ⟨ᵿ⟩ are non-"IPA symbols. The way they are used on Wikipedia is based on the "OED use.
  28. ^ /ᵻ/ is pronounced as /ə/ in Australian and many US dialects and as /ɪ/ in others such as Received Pronunciation. Many speakers freely alternate between ["ɪ̈] and [ə]. While the symbol ⟨ᵻ⟩ is sometimes used to represent [ɪ̈] as an unofficial extension to the IPA, /ᵻ/ here does not specifically represent [ɪ̈].
  29. ^ a b /ᵿ/ is pronounced as /ʊ/ in some dialects and as /ə/ in others. Many speakers freely alternate between ["ʊ̈] and [ə]. While the symbol ⟨ᵿ⟩ is sometimes used to represent [ʊ̈] as an unofficial extension to the IPA, /ᵿ/ here does not specifically represent [ʊ̈].
  30. ^ It is arguable that there is no phonemic distinction in English between primary and secondary stress,[ref 8] but it is conventional to notate them as here.
  31. ^ Full vowels following a stressed syllable, such as the ship in battleship, are marked with secondary stress in some dictionaries (Merriam-Webster), but not in others (the OED).
  32. ^ 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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "bon vivant". "English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.). 
  2. ^ "ensemble". "English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.). 
  3. ^ "French words and phrases". "English Pronouncing Dictionary (17th ed.). p. 202. 
  4. ^ Wells, John (18 March 2009). "e and ɛ". John Wells's phonetic blog. Blogspot. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Key to pronunciation". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "square" in Oxford Online Dictionaries
  7. ^ Key to US pronunciations in Oxford Online Dictionaries
  8. ^ Ladefoged, Peter (1993), A Course in Phonetics (3rd ed.), Orlando: Harcourt Brace, "ISBN "0-15-507319-2 
  9. ^ Gimson, Alfred Charles (2014), Cruttenden, Alan, ed., Gimson's Pronunciation of English (8th ed.), Routledge, pp. 119–120, "ISBN "9781444183092 

External links[edit]

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