Help:IPA

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For help installing IPA-compatible fonts, see International Phonetic Alphabet#IPA font downloads.
For a basic introduction to using IPA written for English readers, see Help:IPA/Introduction.

Here is a basic key to the symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet. For the smaller set of symbols that is sufficient for English, see Help:IPA for English. Several rare IPA symbols are not included; these are found in the main IPA article. For the Manual of Style guideline for pronunciation, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation).

For each IPA symbol, an English example is given where possible; here "RP" stands for Received Pronunciation. The foreign languages that are used to illustrate additional sounds are primarily the ones most likely to be familiar to English speakers, French, German, and Spanish. For symbols not covered by those, recourse is taken to the populous languages Mandarin Chinese, Hindustani, Arabic, and Russian. For sounds still not covered, other smaller but well-known languages are used, such as Swahili, Turkish, and Zulu.

The left-hand column displays the symbols like this:  (i) listen [ a ]. Click on the speaker icon to hear the sound; click on the symbol itself for a dedicated article with a more complete description and examples from multiple languages. All the sounds are spoken more than once, and the consonant sounds are spoken once followed by a vowel and once between vowels.

Main symbols

The symbols are arranged by similarity to letters of the Latin alphabet. Symbols which do not resemble any Latin letter are placed at the end.

   Symbol    ExamplesDescription
A
 (i) listen [ a ]Mandarin 他 tā, German MannFor many English speakers, the first part of the ow sound in cow. Found in some dialects of English in cat or father.
 (i) listen [ ä ]American English ah, Spanish casa, French patte
 (i) listen [ aː ]German Aachen, French gareLong [a].
 (i) listen [ ɐ ]RP cut, German Kaiserslautern(In transcriptions of English, [ɐ] is usually written ʌ.)
 (i) listen [ ɑ ]Finnish Linna, Dutch bad
 (i) listen [ ɑː ]RP father, French pâteLong [ɑ].
 (i) listen [ ɑ̃ ]French Caen, sans, tempsNasalized [ɑ].
 (i) listen [ ɒ ]RP cotLike [ɑ], but with the lips slightly rounded.
 (i) listen [ ʌ ]American English cutLike [ɔ], but without the lips being rounded. (When ʌ is used for English, it may really be [ɐ] or [ɜ].)
 (i) listen [ æ ]RP cat
B
 (i) listen [ b ]English babble
 (i) listen [ ɓ ]Swahili bwanaLike a [b] said with a gulp. See implosive consonants.
 (i) listen [ ʙ ]Like the brrr sound made when cold.
 (i) listen [ β ]Spanish la Bamba, Kinyarwanda abana "children"Like [b], but with the lips not quite touching.
C
 (i) listen [ c ]Turkish kebap "kebab", Czech stín "shadow", Greek και "and"Between English tune (RP) and cute. Sometimes used instead for [tʃ] in languages like Hindi.
 (i) listen [ ç ]German IchMore of a y-coloration (more palatal) than [x]. Some English speakers have a similar sound in huge. To produce this sound, try whispering loudly the word "ye" as in "Hear ye!".
 (i) listen [ ɕ ]Mandarin Xi'an, Polish ścianaMore y-like than [ʃ]; something like English she.
 (i) listen [ ɔ ]see under O
D
 (i) listen [ d ]English dad
 (i) listen [ ɗ ]Swahili DodomaLike [d] said with a gulp.
 (i) listen [ ɖ ]American English harderLike [d] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
 (i) listen [ ð ]English the, bathe
 (i) listen [ dz ]1English adds, Italian zero
 (i) listen [ dʒ ]1English judge
 (i) listen [ dʑ ]1Polish niewiedź "bear"Like [dʒ], but with more of a y-sound.
 (i) listen [ dʐ ]1Polish em "jam"Like [dʒ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
E
 (i) listen [ e ]Spanish fe; French clé
 (i) listen [ eː ]German KleeLong [e]. Similar to English hey, before the y sets in.
 (i) listen [ ə ]English above, Hindi ठग [ʈʰəɡ] (thug) "thief"(Only occurs in English when not stressed.)
 (i) listen [ ɚ ]American English runner
 (i) listen [ ɛ ]English bet
[ ɛ̃ ]French Agen, vin, main; Polish mięsoNasalized [ɛ].
 (i) listen [ ɜ ]RP bird (long)
[ ɝ ]American English bird
F
 (i) listen [ f ]English fun
 (i) listen [ ɟ ]see under J
 (i) listen [ ʄ ]see under J
G
 (i) listen [ ɡ ]English gag(Should look like Opentail g.svg. No different from a Latin "g")
 (i) listen [ ɠ ]Swahili UgandaLike [ɡ] said with a gulp.
 (i) listen [ ɢ ]Like [ɡ], but further back, in the throat. Found in Persian and some Arabic dialects for /q/, as in Gaddafi.
 (i) listen [ ʒ ]see under ZEnglish beige.
H
 (i) listen [ h ]American English house
 (i) listen [ ɦ ]English ahead, when said quickly.
[ ʰ ]The extra puff of air in English top [tʰɒp] compared to stop [stɒp], or to French or Spanish [t].
 (i) listen [ ħ ]Arabic محمد MuhammadFar down in the throat, like [h], but stronger.
 (i) listen [ ɥ ]see under U
[ ɮ ]see under L
I
 (i) listen [ i ]French ville, Spanish Valladolid
 (i) listen [ iː ]English seaLong [i].
 (i) listen [ ɪ ]English sit
 (i) listen [ ɨ ]Russian ты "you"Often used for unstressed English roses.
J
 (i) listen [ j ]English yes, hallelujah, German Junge
[ ʲ ]Russian Ленин [ˈlʲenʲɪn]Indicates a sound is more y-like.
 (i) listen [ ʝ ]Spanish cayo (some dialects)Like [j], but stronger.
 (i) listen [ ɟ ]Turkish gör "see", Czech díra "hole"Between English dew (RP) and argue. Sometimes used instead for [dʒ] in languages like Hindi.
 (i) listen [ ʄ ]Swahili jamboLike [ɟ] said with a gulp.
K
 (i) listen [ k ]English kick, skip
L
 (i) listen [ l ]English leaf
 (i) listen [ ɫ ]English wool
Russian малый [ˈmɑɫɨj] "small"
"Dark" el.
 (i) listen [ ɬ ]Welsh llwyd [ɬʊɪd] "grey"
Zulu hlala [ɬaːla] "sit"
By touching roof of mouth with tongue and giving a giving a quick breath out. Found in Welsh placenames like Llangollen and Llanelli and Nelson Mandela's Xhosa name Rolihlahla.
 (i) listen [ ɭ ]Like [l] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
 (i) listen [ ɺ ]A flapped [l], like [l] and [ɾ] said together.
 (i) listen [ ɮ ]Zulu dla "eat"Rather like [l] and [ʒ], or [l] and [ð], said together.
M
 (i) listen [ m ]English mime
 (i) listen [ ɱ ]English symphonyLike [m], but lips touch teeth as they do in [f].
[ ɯ ]see under W
 (i) listen [ ʍ ]see under W
N
 (i) listen [ n ]English nun
 (i) listen [ ŋ ]English sing
 (i) listen [ ɲ ]Spanish Peña, French champagneRather like English canyon.
 (i) listen [ ɳ ]Hindi वरुण [ʋəruɳ] VarunaLike [n] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
 (i) listen [ ɴ ]Castilian Spanish Don Juan [doɴˈχwan]Like [ŋ], but further back, in the throat.
O
 (i) listen [ o ]Spanish no, French eau
 (i) listen [ oː ]German Boden, French VosgesLong [o]. Somewhat reminiscent of English no.
 (i) listen [ ɔ ]German Oldenburg, French Garonne
 (i) listen [ ɔː ]RP law, French LimogesLong [ɔ].
 (i) listen [ ɔ̃ ]French Lyon, son; Polish wążNasalized [ɔ].
 (i) listen [ ø ]French feu, bœufsLike [e], but with the lips rounded like [o].
 (i) listen [ øː ]German Goethe, French Dle, neutreLong [ø].
 (i) listen [ ɵ ]Swedish dumHalfway between [o] and [ø]. Similar to [ʊ] but with the tongue slightly more down and front.
 (i) listen [ œ ]French bœuf, seul, German GöttingenLike [ɛ], but with the lips rounded like [ɔ].
 (i) listen [ œː ]French œuvre, heureLong [œ].
 (i) listen [ œ̃ ]French brun, parfumNasalized [œ].
 (i) listen [ θ ]see under other
 (i) listen [ ɸ ]see under other
P
 (i) listen [ p ]English pip
Q
 (i) listen [ q ]Arabic Qur’ānLike [k], but further back, in the throat.
R
 (i) listen [ r ]Spanish perro, Scots borrow"Rolled R". (Generally used for English [ɹ] when there's no need to be precise.)
 (i) listen [ ɾ ]Spanish pero, Tagalog daliri, Malay kabar, American English kitty/kiddie"Flapped R".
 (i) listen [ ʀ ]A trill in the back of the throat. Found for /r/ in some conservative registers of French.
 (i) listen [ ɽ ]Hindi साड़ी [sɑːɽiː] "sari"Like flapped [ɾ], but with the tongue curled back.
 (i) listen [ ɹ ]RP borrow
 (i) listen [ ɻ ]American English borrow, butterLike [ɹ], but with the tongue curled or pulled back, as pronounced by many English speakers.
 (i) listen [ ʁ ]French Paris, German RiemannSaid back in the throat, but not trilled.
S
 (i) listen [ s ]English sass
 (i) listen [ ʃ ]English shoe
 (i) listen [ ɧ ]Swedish sju
 (i) listen [ ʂ ]Mandarin 少林 (Shàolín), Russian Пушкин (Pushkin)Acoustically similar to [ʃ], but with the tongue curled or pulled back.
T
 (i) listen [ t ]English tot, stop
 (i) listen [ ʈ ]Hindi ठग [ʈʰəɡ] (thug) "thief"Like [t], but with the tongue curled or pulled back.
 (i) listen [ ts ]2English cats, Russian царь tsar
 (i) listen [ tʃ ] 2English church
 (i) listen [ tɕ ]2Mandarin 北京  (i) listen Běijīng, Polish ciebie "you"Like [tʃ], but with more of a y-sound.
 (i) listen [ tʂ ]2Mandarin zh, Polish czasLike [tʃ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
U
 (i) listen [ u ]French vous "you"
 (i) listen [ uː ]French Rocquencourt, German Schumacher, close to RP foodLong [u].
 (i) listen [ ʊ ]English foot, German Bundesrepublik
 (i) listen [ ʉ ]Australian English food (long)Like [ɨ], but with the lips rounded as for [u].
 (i) listen [ ɥ ]French luiLike [j] and [w] said together.
 (i) listen [ ɯ ]see under W
V
 (i) listen [ v ]English verve
 (i) listen [ ʋ ]Hindi वरुण [ʋəruɳə] "Varuna"Between [v] and [w]. Used by some Germans and Russians for v/w, and by some speakers of British English for r.
 (i) listen [ ɣ ]Arabic / Swahili ghali "expensive", Spanish suegroSounds rather like French [ʁ] or between [ɡ] and [h].
 (i) listen [ ɤ ]Mandarin HénánLike [o] but without the lips rounded, something like a cross of [ʊ] and [ʌ].
[ ʌ ]see under A
W
 (i) listen [ w ]English wow
[ ʷ ]English rain [ɹʷeɪn]Indicates a sound has lip rounding, quick.
 (i) listen [ ʍ ]what (some dialects)like [h] and [w] said together
 (i) listen [ ɯ ]Turkish kayık "caïque"Like [u], but with the lips flat; something like [ʊ].
 (i) listen [ ɰ ]Spanish agua
X
 (i) listen [ x ]Scottish English loch, German Bach, Russian хороший [xɐˈroʂɨj] "good", Spanish jovenbetween [k] and [h]
 (i) listen [ χ ]northern Standard Dutch Scheveningen, Castilian Spanish Don Juan [doɴˈχwan]Like [x], but further back , in the throat. Some German and Arabic speakers have [χ] for [x].
Y
 (i) listen [ y ]French rueLike [i], but with the lips rounded as for [u].
 (i) listen [ yː ]German Bülow, French sûrLong [y].
 (i) listen [ ʏ ]German EisenhüttenstadtLike [ɪ], but with the lips rounded as for [ʊ].
 (i) listen [ ʎ ]Italian tagliatelleLike [l], but more y-like. Rather like English volume.
 (i) listen [ ɥ ]see under U
 (i) listen [ ɤ ]see under V
[ ɣ ]see under V
Z
 (i) listen [ z ]English zoos
 (i) listen [ ʒ ]English vision, French journal
 (i) listen [ ʑ ]formal Russian жжёшь [ʑːoʂ] "you burn", Polish źleMore y-like than [ʒ], something like beigey.
 (i) listen [ ʐ ]Mandarin 人民日报 Rénmín Rìbào "People's Daily", Russian жир "fat"Like [ʒ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ ɮ ]see under L
Other
 (i) listen [ θ ]English thigh, bath
 (i) listen [ ɸ ]Japanese 富士 [ɸɯdʑi] Fuji, Māori [ˌɸaːɾeːˈnuiː] wharenuiLike [p], but with the lips not quite touching
 (i) listen [ ʔ ]English uh-oh, Hawaii, German die AngstThe 'glottal stop', a catch in the breath. For some people, found in button [ˈbʌʔn̩], or between vowels across words: Deus ex machina [ˌdeɪəsˌʔɛksˈmɑːkɨnə]; in some nonstandard dialects, in a apple [ʌˈʔæpl̩].
 (i) listen [ ʕ ]Arabic عربي carabī "Arabic"A light sound deep in the throat.
 (i) listen [ ǀ ]English tsk-tsk! or tut-tut!, Zulu icici "earring"(The English click used for disapproval.) Several distinct sounds, written as digraphs, including [ kǀ ], [ ɡǀ ], [ ŋǀ ]. The Zimbabwean MP Ncube has this click in his name, as did Cetshwayo.
 (i) listen [ ǁ ]English tchick! tchick!, Zulu ixoxo "frog"(The English click used to urge on a horse.) Several distinct sounds, written as digraphs, including [ kǁ ], [ ɡǁ ], [ ŋǁ ]. Found in the name of the Xhosa.
 (i) listen [ ǃ ]Zulu iqaqa "polecat"(The English click used to imitate the trotting of a horse.) A hollow popping sound, like a cork pulled from a bottle. Several distinct sounds, written as digraphs, including [ kǃ ], [ ɡǃ ], [ ŋǃ ].

Diacritic marks

All diacritics are here shown on a carrier letter such as the vowel a.

SymbolExampleDescription
[ ˈa ]pronunciation
[pɹ̥əʊ̯ˌnɐnsiˈeɪʃn̩]
Main stress. The mark denotes the stress of the following syllable.
[ ˌa ]Weaker stress. The mark denotes the stress of the following syllable.
[ aː ]English shh! [ʃː]Long. Often used with English vowels or diphthongs: Mayo /ˈmeːoː/ for [ˈmeɪ̯ɜʊ̯], etc.
[ aˑ ]RP caught [ˈkʰɔˑt]Semi-long. (Although the vowel is different, this is also longer than cot [ˈkʰɒt].)
[ a̯ ]English cow [kʰaʊ̯], koi [kʰɔɪ̯]This vowel does not form a syllable of its own, but runs into the vowel next to it. (In English, the diacritic is generally left off: [kaʊ].)
[ ã ]French vin blanc [vãblɑ̃] "white wine"A nasal vowel, as with a Texas twang.
[ n̥ ]Sounds like a loud whisper; [n̥] is like a whispered breath through the nose. [l̥] is found in Tibetan Lhasa.
[ n̩ ]English buttonA consonant without a vowel. (English [n̩] is often transcribed /ən/.)
[ d̪ ]Spanish dos, French deuxThe tongue touches the teeth more than it does in English.
[ kʰ ]English comeAspirated consonant, pronounced with a puff of air. Similarly [tʰ pʰ tsʰ tʃʰ tɕʰ].
[ k’ ]Zulu ukuza "come"Like a popped [k], pushed from the throat. Similarly [tʼ pʼ qʼ tʃʼ tsʼ tɬʼ].
[ á ]Mandarin [mámā] "mother"High tone (Pinyin: mā)Careful!
The Pinyin Romanization used for Mandarin has these same diacritics, but with different values.
However, Thai Romanization uses them the way the IPA does.
[ ā ]Mandarin 妈 [mámā] "mother"Mid tone (Pinyin: ma).
[ à ]Mandarin [màdɤ] "horse's"Low tone (Pinyin: mǎ).
[ â ]Mandarin 骂 [mâ] "scold"Falling tone (Pinyin: mà).
[ ǎ ]Mandarin 麻 [mǎ] "hemp"Rising tone (Pinyin: má).
[ . ]English courtship [ˈkɔrt.ʃɪp]Syllable break. (this is often redundant and therefore left off)

Brackets

Two types of brackets are commonly used to enclose transcriptions in the IPA:

A third kind of bracket is occasionally seen:

Lastly,

Rendering issues

Voiced velar plosive

These two characters should look similar:

ɡOpentail g.svg

If in the box to the left you see the symbol ɡMSReferenceSansSerif.png rather than a lower-case open-tail g, you may be experiencing a well-known bug in the font MS Reference Sans Serif; switching to another font may fix it.

On your current font: [ɡ],

and in several other fonts:

Affricates and double articulation

The tie bar is intended to cover both letters of an affricate or doubly articulated consonant. However, if your browser uses Arial Unicode MS to display IPA characters, the following incorrectly formed sequences may look better than the correct order (letter, tie bar, letter) due to a bug in that font:

ts͡, tʃ͡, tɕ͡, dz͡, dʒ͡, dʑ͡, tɬ͡, kp͡, ɡb͡, ŋm͡.

Here is how the proper configuration displays in your default IPA font:

t͡s, d͡z, t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ, t͡ɕ, d͡ʑ, t͡ɬ, k͡p, ɡ͡b, ŋ͡m,

and in several other fonts:

Angle brackets

True angle brackets, ⟨ ⟩, are unsupported by several common fonts. Here is how they display in your default settings:

⟨...⟩ (unformatted)
⟨...⟩ (default IPA font)
⟨...⟩ (default Unicode font),

and in several specific fonts:

See also

Notes

External links