Help:IPA for English

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This page is about the pronunciation of words in English. For sounds not found in English, see Help:IPA. For a basic introduction to the IPA, see Help:IPA/Introduction.

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.

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


If the words illustrating two symbols sound the same to you (say, if you pronounce cot and caught the same, or do and dew, or marry and merry), you can ignore the difference between those symbols. Footnotes explain some of these mergers. (See also #Dialect variation below.)

bbuy, cab
ddye, cad, do
ðthy, breathe, father
giant, badge, jam
ffan, caff, phi
ɡ (ɡ)[1]guy, bag
hhigh, ahead
j[2]yes, hallelujah
ksky, crack
llie, sly, gal
mmy, smile, cam
nnigh, snide, can
ŋsang, sink, singer
θthigh, math
ppie, spy, cap
rrye, try, very[3]
ssigh, mass
ʃshy, cash, emotion
ttie, sty, cat, atom
china, catch
vvie, have
wwye, swine
zzoo, has
ʒequation, pleasure, vision, beige[5]
Marginal consonants
xugh, loch, Chanukah[6]
ʔuh-oh /ˈʔʌʔoʊ/
IPAFull vowels... followed by R[7]
ɑːPALM, father, braɑrSTART, bard, barn, snarl, star (also /ɑːr/)
ɒLOT, pod, John[8]ɒrmoral, forage
æTRAP, pad, shall, ban [9]ærbarrow, marry[10]
PRICE, ride, file, fine, pie[11]aɪərIreland, hire (/aɪr/)
aɪ.ərhigher, buyer[12]
MOUTH, loud, foul, down, howaʊərflour (/aʊr/)
ɛDRESS, bet, fell, men[13]ɛrerror, merry[13]
FACE, made, fail, vein, payɛərSQUARE, mare, scarce, cairn, Mary (/eɪr/)[14]
ɪKIT, lid, fill, binɪrmirror, Sirius
FLEECE, seed, feel, mean, seaɪərNEAR, beard, fierce, serious (/iːr/)[15]
ɔːTHOUGHT, Maud, dawn, fall, straw[16]ɔrNORTH, born, war, Laura (/ɔːr/)[17][18]
ɔɪCHOICE, void, foil, coin, boyɔɪərloir (/ɔɪr/)
GOAT, code, foal, bone, go[19]ɔərFORCE, more, boar, oral (/oʊr/)[17][18]
ʊFOOT, good, full, womanʊrcourier
GOOSE, food, fool, soon, chew, doʊərboor, moor, tourist (/uːr/)[17][18]
juːcued, cute, mule, tune, queue, you[20]jʊərcure
ʌSTRUT, mud, dull, gun[21]ʌrborough, hurry (UK English)
ɜrNURSE, word, girl, fern, furry, hurry (US English)
Reduced vowels
əRosa’s, a mission, quiet, focusərLETTER, perceive
ɨroses, emission[22] (either ɪ or ə)ənbutton
ɵomission[23] (either or ə)əmrhythm
ʉbeautiful, curriculum ([jʉ])[24] (either ʊ or ə)əlbottle
iHAPPY, serious[25] (either ɪ or )ᵊ, ⁱ(vowel is frequently dropped: nasturtium)
ˈintonation /ˌɪntɵˈneɪʃən/,[26]
battleship /ˈbætəlʃɪp/[27]
.moai /ˈmoʊ.aɪ/, Windhoek /ˈvɪnt.hʊk/
Vancouveria /væn.kuːˈvɪəriə/
Mikey /ˈmaɪki/, Myki /ˈmaɪ.kiː/[28]


Dialect variation

This key represents diaphonemes, abstractions of speech sounds that accommodate General American, Received Pronunciation, Canadian English, South African, Australian, and New Zealand 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. Bath, for example, originally had the /æ/ vowel (as in cat), but for many speakers, it now has the /ɑː/ vowel (as in father). Such words are transcribed twice, once for each pronunciation: /ˈbæθ, ˈbɑːθ/.

The pronunciation of the /æ/ vowel in Scotland, Wales and northern England has always been closer to [a], even amongst educated speakers. BBC English is moving away from the older RP [æ] towards the more open vowel [a], and the Oxford English Dictionary transcribes the "lad", "bad", "cat", "trap" vowel as /a/ in its updated entries.

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

Other transcriptions

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


  1. ^ 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 Rendering issues.
  2. ^ 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's Jägermeister and jarlsberg cheese.
  3. ^ Although the IPA symbol [r] represents a trill, /r/ is widely used instead of /ɹ/ in broad transcriptions of English.
  4. ^ The phoneme /hw/ is not distinguished from /w/ in the many dialects with the wine–whine merger, such as RP and most varieties of GenAm. For more information on this sound, see voiceless labio-velar approximant.
  5. ^ A number of English words, such as genre and garage, are pronounced with either /ʒ/ or /dʒ/.
  6. ^ In most dialects, /x/ is replaced by /k/ in most words, including loch. Where the sound begins a word, such as Chanukah, it is sometimes replaced with /h/. In ugh, however, it is often replaced by /ɡ/ (a spelling pronunciation).
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ /ɒ/ is not distinguished from /ɑː/ in dialects with the father–bother merger such as GenAm.
  9. ^ In some regions, what would normally be [æŋ] is pronounced as [eŋ] or [eɪŋ], so that the "a" in "rang" is closer to the "ai" in "rain" than the "a" in "rag"
  10. ^ Pronounced the same as /ɛr/ in accents with the Mary–marry–merry merger.
  11. ^ 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: [ˈɹʷɾəɹ], [ˈɹʷʌɪɾəɹ]. However, even though the value of /aɪ/ is not predictable in some words, such as spider [ˈspʌɪɾəɹ],[citation needed] dictionaries do not generally record it, so it has not been allocated a separate transcription here.
  12. ^ a b c d Some speakers pronounce higher, flower, lawyer, and mayor with two syllables, and hire, flour, loir, and mare with one. Others pronounce them the same.
  13. ^ a b Transcribed as /e/ by many dictionaries.[1]
  14. ^ Pronounced the same as /ɛr/ in accents with the Mary–marry–merry merger. 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.[2]
  15. ^ Same as /ɪr/ in accents with the mirror–nearer merger.
  16. ^ /ɔː/ is not distinguished from /ɒ/ (except before /r/) in dialects with the cot–caught merger such as some varieties of GenAm.
  17. ^ a b c /ɔər/ is not distinguished from /ɔr/ in dialects with the horse–hoarse merger, which include most dialects of modern English.
  18. ^ a b c /ʊər/ is not distinguished from /ɔr/ in dialects with the pour–poor merger, including many younger speakers.
  19. ^ Commonly transcribed /əʊ/ or /oː/.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ This phoneme is not used in 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 foot–strut split.
  22. ^ Pronounced [ə] in Australian and many US dialects, and [ɪ] in Received Pronunciation. Many speakers freely alternate between a reduced [ɪ̈] and a reduced [ə]. Many phoneticians (vd. Olive & Greenwood 1993:322) and the OED use the pseudo-IPA symbol ɪ [3], and Merriam–Webster uses ə̇.
  23. ^ Pronounced [ə] in many dialects, and [ɵw] or [əw] before another vowel, as in cooperate. Sometimes pronounced as a full /oʊ/, especially in careful speech. (Bolinger 1989) Usually transcribed as /ə(ʊ)/ (or similar ways of showing variation between /oʊ/ and /ə/) in British dictionaries.
  24. ^ Pronounced [ʊ] in many dialects, [ə] in others. Many speakers freely alternate between a reduced [ʊ̈] and a reduced [ə]. The OED uses the pseudo-IPA symbol ʊ [4].
  25. ^ Pronounced [iː] 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.
  26. ^ It is arguable that there is no phonemic distinction in English between primary and secondary stress (vd. Ladefoged 1993), but it is conventional to notate them as here.
  27. ^ 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). Such syllables are not actually stressed.
  28. ^ Syllables are indicated sparingly, where necessary to avoid confusion, for example to break up sequences of vowels (moai) or consonant clusters which an English speaker might misread as a digraph (Vancouveria, Windhoek).
    Several dictionaries, such as the OED, do not indicate stress for words of one syllable. Thus hire /ˈhaɪər/ is transcribed haɪə(r), without a stress mark, contrasting with higher /ˈhaɪ.ər/, which is transcribed ˈhaɪə(r), without a syllable mark.

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