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Help:IPA for English

Template:this Lua error in Module:Effective_protection_level at line 49: attempt to index field 'TitleBlacklist' (a nil value). Script error: No such module "Shortcut". 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.

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.)

For a table listing all spellings of these sounds, see Template:section link. For help converting spelling to pronunciation, see Template:section link.

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
hw why[2]
j[3] yes, hallelujah
k sky, crack
l lie, sly, gal
m my, smile, cam
n nigh, snide, can
ŋ sang, sink, singer
θ thigh, math
p pie, spy, cap
r[4] rye, try, very
s sigh, mass
ʃ shy, cash, emotion
t tie, sty, cat, atom
china, catch
v vie, have
w wye, swine
z zoo, has
ʒ equation, pleasure, vision, beige[5]
Marginal consonants
Template:IPAlink ugh, loch, Chanukah[6]
ʔ uh-oh /ˈʔʌʔoʊ/
Optional sounds
IPA Examples
ʃⁱ nasturtium (/i/ is frequently dropped)
IPA Full vowels IPA ... followed by R[7]
ɑː Template:sc, father, bra ɑr Template:sc, bard, barn, snarl, star (= /ɑːr/)
ɒ Template:sc, pod, John[8] ɒr moral, forage
æ Template:sc, pad, ban[9][10] ær barrow, marry[11]
Template:sc, ride, file, fine, pie[12] aɪər Ireland, hire (= /aɪr/)
aɪ.ər higher, buyer[13]
Template:sc, loud, foul, down, how aʊər flour (= /aʊr/)
aʊ.ər flower[13]
ɛ Template:sc, bet, fell, menTemplate:refn ɛr error, merry[14]
Template:sc, made, fail, vein, pay ɛər Template:sc, mare, scarce, cairn, Mary (= /eɪr/)Template:refn
eɪ.ər layer (one who lays)[13]
ɪ Template:sc, lid, fill, bin ɪr mirror, Sirius
Template:sc, seed, feel, mean, sea ɪər Template:sc, beard, fierce, serious (= /iːr/)[15]
iː.ər freer
ɔː Template:sc, Maud, dawn, fall, straw[16] ɔr Template:sc, born, war, Laura (= /ɔːr/)[17][18]
ɔː.ər sawer
ɔɪ Template:sc, void, foil, coin, boy ɔɪər loir (= /ɔɪr/)
ɔɪ.ər employer[13]
Template:sc, code, foal, bone, go[19] ɔər Template:sc, more, boar, oral (= /oʊr/)[17][18]
oʊ.ər mower
ʊ Template:sc, good, full, woman ʊr courier
Template:sc, food, fool, soon, chew, do ʊər boor, moor, tourist (= /uːr/)[17][18]
uː.ər truer
juː cute, mule, puny, beauty, huge, you, tune[20] jʊər cure (= /juːr/)
juː.ər fewer
ʌ Template:sc, bud, dull, gun[21] ɜr Template:sc, word, girl, fern, furry
ʌr hurry, nourish
Variable vowels
Template:sc, dance, laugh (either ɑː or æ) ɒː Template:sc, office, wrong (either ɒ or ɔː)
i Template:sc, serious[22] (either ɪ or i) u bedroom, roof, situation (either ʊ or )
reduced vowels
ə Rosa’s, a mission, quiet, focus ər Template:sc, perceive
ɨ roses, emissionTemplate:refn (either ɪ or ə) ʉ beautiful, curriculum ([jʉ])Template:refn (either ʊ or ə)
ɵ omissionTemplate:refn (either or ə) əl bottle (either əl or )
ən button (either ən or ) əm rhythm (either əm or )
Stress Syllabification
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ˈ intonation /ˌɪntɵˈneɪʃən/,Template:refn
battleship /ˈbætəlʃɪp/[23]
. moai /ˈmoʊ.aɪ/
Windhoek /ˈvɪnt.hʊk/
Vancouveria /væn.kuːˈvɪəriə/
Mikey /ˈmaɪki/, Myki /ˈmaɪ.kiː/[24]


Dialect variation

Script error: No such module "main". 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 North America.

Other words may have different vowels depending on the speaker.

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

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


  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 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  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, 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. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. /ær/ is pronounced the same as /ɛr/ in accents with the Mary–marry–merry merger.
  12. 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.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Some speakers pronounce higher, flower, lawyer, layer (stratum) and mayor with two syllables, and hire, flour, loir, lair and mare with one. Others pronounce them the same.
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named E
  15. /ɪər/ is pronounced the 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. /oʊ/ is 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. /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 foot–strut split.
  22. /i/ is pronounced [i] 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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

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