Help:IPA for English

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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.

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

Template:Compact ToC


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.)

IPA Examples
b buy, cab
d dye, cad, do
ð thy, breathe, father
giant, badge, jam
f fan, caff, phi
ɡ (ɡ)[1] guy, bag
h high, ahead
j[2] yes, hallelujah
k sky, crack
l Template:Not a typo
m my, smile, cam
n nigh, snide, can
ŋ sang, sink, singer
θ thigh, math
p Template:Not a typo
r rye, try, very[3]
s sigh, mass
ʃ shy, cash, emotion
t Template:Not a typo
china, catch
v Template:Not a typo
w wye, swine
hw why[4]
z zoo, has
ʒ equation, pleasure, vision, beige[5]
Marginal consonants
Template:IPAlink ugh, loch, Chanukah[6]
[[Международный фонетический алфавит|ʔ]] uh-oh /ˈʔʌʔoʊ/
IPA Full vowels IPA ... followed by R[7]
ɑː palm, father, bra ɑr start, bard, barn, snarl, star (also /ɑːr/)
ɒ lot, pod, John[8] ɒr moral, forage
æ trap, pad, shall, ban [9] ær barrow, marry[10]
price, ride, file, fine, pie[11] aɪər Ireland, hire (/aɪr/)
aɪ.ər higher, buyer[12]
mouth, loud, foul, down, how aʊər flour (/aʊr/)
aʊ.ər flower[12]
ɛ dress, bet, fell, men[13] ɛr error, merry[13]
face, made, fail, vein, pay ɛər square, mare, scarce, cairn, Mary (/eɪr/)[14]
eɪ.ər layer (of eggs)[12]
ɪ kit, lid, fill, bin ɪr mirror, Sirius
fleece, seed, feel, mean, sea ɪər near, beard, fierce, serious (/iːr/)[15]
iː.ər freer
ɔː thought, Maud, dawn, fall, straw[16] ɔr north, born, war, Laura (/ɔːr/)[17][18]
ɔː.ər sawer
ɔɪ choice, void, foil, coin, boy ɔɪər loir (/ɔɪr/)
ɔɪ.ər employer[12]
goat, code, foal, bone, go[19] ɔər force, more, boar, oral [17][18]
oʊ.ər mower
ʊ foot, good, full, woman ʊr courier
goose, food, fool, soon, chew, do ʊər boor, moor, tourist (/uːr/)[17][18]
uː.ər truer
juː cued, cute, mule, tune, queue, you[20] jʊər cure
juː.ər fewer
ʌ strut, bud, dull, gun[21] ɜr nurse, word, girl, fern, furry
ʌr borough, hurry (not a GenAm distinction)
Reduced vowels
ə Rosa’s, a mission, quiet, focus ər letter, perceive
ɨ roses, emission[22] (either ɪ or ə) ən button
ɵ omission[23] (either or ə) əm rhythm
ʉ beautiful, curriculum ([jʉ])[24] (either ʊ or ə) əl bottle
i happy, serious[25] (either ɪ or ) ᵊ, ⁱ (vowel is frequently dropped: nasturtium)
Stress Syllabification
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ˈ intonation /ˌɪntɵˈneɪʃən/,[26]
battleship /ˈbætəlʃɪp/[27]
. moai /ˈmoʊ.aɪ/, Windhoek /ˈvɪnt.hʊk/
Vancouveria /væn.kuːˈvɪəriə/
Mikey /ˈmaɪki/, Myki /ˈmaɪ.kiː/[28]


Dialect variation[edit]

This key represents diaphonemes, abstractions of speech sounds that accommodate General American (GenAm), Received Pronunciation (RP), Canadian English, South African, Australian, and New Zealand pronunciations. Therefore, not all of the distinctions shown here are relevant to a particular dialect:

  • If, for example, you pronounce cot /ˈkɒt/ and caught /ˈkɔːt/ the same, then you may simply ignore the difference between the symbols /ɒ/ and /ɔː/, just as you ignore the distinction between the written vowels o and au when pronouncing them.
  • In many dialects, /r/ occurs only before a vowel; if you speak such a dialect, simply ignore /r/ in the pronunciation guides where you would not pronounce it, as in cart /ˈkɑrt/.
  • In other dialects, /j/ (yes) cannot occur after /t, d, n/, etc., within the same syllable; if you speak such a dialect, then ignore the /j/ in transcriptions such as new /njuː/. For example, New York is transcribed /njuː ˈjɔrk/. For most people from England and for some New Yorkers, the /r/ in /ˈjɔrk/ is not pronounced; for most people from the United States, including some New Yorkers, the /j/ in /njuː/ is not pronounced and may be ignored.

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:

  • The difference between the vowels of fir, fur and fern, maintained in Scottish and Irish English but lost elsewhere.
  • The difference between the vowels of "pain" and "pane" found in some English, Welsh, and Newfoundland dialects.
  • The vowels of bad and had, distinguished in many parts of Australia and the Eastern United States.
  • The vowels of spider and spied her, distinguished in Scotland and some parts of and North America.

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 Template:IPAblink, even amongst educated speakers. BBC English is moving away from the older RP Template:IPAblink towards the more open vowel Template:IPAblink, 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[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.

  • To compare the following IPA symbols with non-IPA American dictionary conventions that may be more familiar, see pronunciation respelling for English, which lists the pronunciation guides of fourteen English dictionaries published in the United States.
  • To compare the following IPA symbols with other IPA conventions that may be more familiar, see Help:IPA conventions for English, which lists the conventions of eight English dictionaries published in Britain, Australia, and the United States.

See also[edit]


  1. If the two characters Template:Angle bracket and Template:Angle bracket do not match and if the first looks like a Template:Angle bracket, then you have an issue with your default font. See Rendering issues.
  2. The IPA value of the letter Template:Angle bracket 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. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 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. 13.0 13.1 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. 17.0 17.1 17.2 /ɔər/ is not distinguished from /ɔr/ in dialects with the horse–hoarse merger, which include most dialects of modern English.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 /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 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 foot–strut split.
  22. Pronounced [ə] in Australian and many US dialects, [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 Template:Angle bracket [3], and Merriam–Webster uses Template:Angle bracket.
  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 Template:Angle bracket [4].
  25. Pronounced [iː] in dialects with the happy tensing, [ɪ] in other dialects. British convention used to transcribe it with Template:Angle bracket, but the OED and other influential dictionaries recently converted to Template:Angle bracket.
  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 Template:Angbr, without a stress mark, contrasting with higher /ˈhaɪ.ər/, which is transcribed Template:Angbr, without a syllable mark.

External links[edit]

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