Phonetic reference

The following is a table with all the phonetic symbols used in Antimoon PerfectPronunciation software. (Look at the ASCII column.) Below it, you will also find explanations of certain phonetic issues.

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].


  • The ASCII column gives the symbol in the Antimoon ASCII Phonetic Alphabet used in PerfectPronunciation.
  • The IPA column gives the symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet (as used in most English dictionaries for learners).

The apostrophe (word stress)

When a word has many syllables, one of them is always pronounced more strongly. This is called word stress, and we say that the syllable is stressed. For example, in the word become, the stressed syllable is come. If the stressed syllable was be, become would be pronounced like this.

The transcriptions in PerfectPronunciation tell you which syllable is stressed by putting an apostrophe (') before it. For example, the transcription for become is [bi 'k^m].

If a word has only one syllable (for example: pen, house), the syllable is always stressed. Therefore, we don’t need to write an apostrophe before it. So we don’t write ['pen] — we simply write [pen].

Reduced i and u

In unstressed syllables, the vowels i and u are often “reduced”. This means that they are often pronounced like an .. sound. This change into .. makes the word easier to pronounce. When i or u can be reduced into an .., we use the symbols (i) and (u).

The reduced i appears in words like possible ['po s(i) b.l] and private ['prai v(i)t]. The reduced u is used e.g. in education [e dZ(u) 'kei S.n].

Flap t

In American English, a t is often pronounced as a “flap t”. The flap t sounds more like d than like t.

The recordings in PerfectPronunciation all contain the flap t where it is normally used by American speakers. However, flap t was not used in words like wanted and center (in which the t follows an n), because flap t is less frequent in those words as in other types of words.

Whenever an exercise in PerfectPronunciation contains a word which is pronounced with a flap t in American English, there is a special note at the bottom of the page.

More information about the flap t

Silent (unreleased) t and p

In American English, when t is at the end of a phrase, for example in set, minute and What is it?, it is usually not pronounced fully. Normally, when you pronounce t (not a flap t), you stop the flow of air suddenly, and then you release some air from behind your tongue. With the silent (unreleased) t, you just stop the flow of air suddenly; there is no release afterwards.

This happens most frequently when the t at the end of a phrase comes after a vowel. In such cases, PerfectPronunciation contains two recordings. The first recording has a normal t. The second recording contains the silent kind.

The silent t is sometimes used in words which end in -nt or -lt, for example want, moment, result. For such words, PerfectPronunciation does not give two recordings, but there is a note saying that the final t may be silent.

The unreleased t is occasionally heard in words ending in -st, -kt, or -pt, such as just, act, accept.

The consonant p is also sometimes unreleased at the end of a phrase, as in up and help. In PerfectPronunciation, this is indicated with a note.

Differences between American and British English

The vowel o is pronounced in very different ways in American English and British English. Because this difference is not shown by the phonetic symbol, there is a note next to all the words in PerfectPronunciation which have the o sound. The note says that the recording has the American version of the o sound and that the British version is different.

The same is true of the o: sound when it is not followed by (r).