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Phonetic symbols table

This table shows the symbols used in phonetic transcription. With the phonetic symbols, you can read and write the sounds of the English language.

The IPA column of the table gives phonetic symbols in the IPA alphabet. The ASCII column gives symbols in the ASCII phonetic alphabet. The examples column gives words which use the phonetic sound. The sound is heard where the underline is. The AM link lets you listen to the words in American English. If a sound is pronounced differently in British English, there is also a BR link.

IPA ASCII examples listen
ʌ ^ cup, luck AM
ɑ: a: arm, father AM BR
æ @ cat, black AM
e e met, bed AM
ə .. away, cinema AM
ɜ:ʳ e:(r) turn, learn AM BR
ɪ i hit, sitting AM
i: i: see, heat AM
ɒ o hot, rock AM BR
ɔ: o: call, four AM BR
ʊ u put, could AM
u: u: blue, food AM
ai five, eye AM
au now, out AM
ei say, eight AM
Ou go, home AM
ɔɪ oi boy, join AM
eəʳ e..(r) where, air AM BR
ɪəʳ i..(r) near, here AM BR
ʊəʳ u..(r) pure, tourist AM BR
IPA ASCII examples listen
b b bad, lab AM
d d did, lady AM
f f find, if AM
g g give, flag AM
h h how, hello AM
j j yes, yellow AM
k k cat, back AM
l l leg, little AM
m m man, lemon AM
n n no, ten AM
ŋ N sing, finger AM
p p pet, map AM
r r red, try AM
s s sun, miss AM
ʃ S she, crash AM
t t tea, getting AM
tS check, church AM
θ th think, both AM
ð TH this, mother AM
v v voice, five AM
w w wet, window AM
z z zoo, lazy AM
ʒ Z pleasure, vision AM
dZ just, large AM
special symbols
IPA ASCII what it means
ˈ '

' is placed before the stressed syllable in a word. For example, ['kon tr@kt] is pronounced like this, and [k..n 'tr@kt] like that. More about word stress.

ʳ (r) (r) means that r is always pronounced in American English, but not in British English. For example, if we say that far is pronounced [fa:(r)], we mean that it is pronounced [fa:r] in American English, and [fa:] in British English. However, in BrE, r will be heard if (r) is followed by a vowel. For example, far gone is pronounced ['fa: 'gon] in BrE, but far out is pronounced ['fa:r 'aut].
i i(:)

i(:) is simply a shorter version of i: – examples: very ['veri(:)], ability [.. 'biliti(:)], create [kri(:) 'eit], previous ['pri:vi(:)..s].

əl .l

.l represents either a syllabic l or, less commonly, [..l]. Syllabic l is an l which acts as a vowel and forms a syllable, as in little ['lit.l], uncle ['^Nk.l].

ən .n

.n represents either a syllabic n or, less commonly, [..n]. Syllabic n is an n which acts as a vowel and forms a syllable, as in written ['rit.n], listen ['lis.n].