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Phonetic transcription help

Definition pages on Antimoon tell you how to say English words. This information is the phonetic transcription or pronunciation. If you read it, you will know how to pronounce a word.

On Antimoon, phonetic transcription (pronunciation) is written in two alphabets: the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and the ASCII Phonetic Alphabet. The IPA is used in most English dictionaries. The ASCII Phonetic Alphabet is not used in dictionaries, but it has symbols which you can type easily on your keyboard.

The transcription of the word computer using IPA symbols looks like this: /kəmˈpju:təʳ/. With ASCII symbols, it looks like this: [k..m 'pju: t..(r)].

Table of phonetic symbols

Here is a table of symbols used in both alphabets. A pretty printable version is also available.

The examples column gives words which use the phonetic sound. The underline shows where the sound is heard. The links Amer and Brit play a sound recording (requires Flash) where the words are pronounced in American and British English. The British version is given only if it is very different from the American version.

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].

Many pronunciations for one word

If a word can be pronounced in many ways, many transcriptions are given. For example, the definition page for ours gives two transcriptions:

['au..(r)z] = /ˈaʊərz/
['a:(r)z] = /ˈɑːʳz/

AmE in front of a transcription means that the pronunciation is used only in American English. BrE means that the pronunciation is used only in British English. For example, the definition page for progress says:

AmE ['pra:g r..s] = /ˈprɑːgrəs/
BrE [ˈprOu gres] = /ˈproʊgres/

Only the most popular pronunciations are given, to keep things simple. In this example, the American pronunciation /ˈprɑːgres/ is not given. For full information, use a good dictionary.