Phonetic transcription

All the words in PerfectPronunciation have phonetic transcriptions. Phonetic transcription is a system for writing the pronunciation of words. It is used in most English dictionaries.

Although it is possible to use PerfectPronunciation without reading the phonetic transcriptions, the system is very useful, because for every word it clearly shows you every sound it contains.

Here are the benefits of phonetic transcription:

  • Phonetic transcription shows you the differences between words. Sometimes, it is difficult to tell if two words have the same sound or different sounds just by listening to recordings. For people from non-English-speaking countries, two quite different English sounds may sound the same! The written pronunciation shows you the truth — if two words are transcribed with the same symbol (e.g. @ or Ou), you know they are pronounced with the same sound.
  • Phonetic transcription helps you correct your mistakes. Often, you pronounce an English word the wrong way, but you don’t notice it. You may hear the correct pronunciation in recordings, but you may not even realize it is different from your pronunciation. When you read what sounds there are in the word, you can realize you’ve been pronouncing the word incorrectly.

PerfectPronunciation uses the ASCII Phonetic Alphabet in all phonetic transcriptions. The ASCII Phonetic Alphabet is similar to the International Phonetic Alphabet, which is used in many English dictionaries. For a table with all the symbols of the ASCII Phonetic Alphabet, see the phonetic alphabet reference included with PerfectPronunciation.

PerfectPronunciation gives both American and British transcriptions of English words. We recommend that you learn both, because you will need to understand both American and British English, and because you need to know the differences between them if you want to speak pure American or British English. (More about this topic on our website)