< Help:IPA

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.

If you are adding a pronunciation using this key, such pronunciations should generally be formatted using the template

  1. REDIRECT Template:Template link

. The template provides tooltips for each symbol in the pronunciation. See the template page for instructions.


If the words given as examples for two different symbols sound the same to you (for example, if you pronounce cot and caught the same, or do and dew, or marry and merry), you can pronounce those symbols the same in explanations of all words. The footnotes explain some of these mergers. (See also Dialect variation below.)

If there is an IPA symbol you are looking for that you do not see here, see Help:IPA, which is a more complete list. For a table listing all spellings of the sounds on this page, see English orthography § Sound-to-spelling correspondences. For help converting spelling to pronunciation, see English orthography § Spelling-to-sound correspondences.

IPA Examples
b buy, cab
d dye, cad, adage[1]
[2] giant, badge, jam
ð thy, breathe, father
f fan, caff, phi
ɡ (ɡ)[3] guy, bag
h high, ahead
hw why[4]
j[5] yes, hallelujah
k sky, crack
l lie, sly, gal[6]
m my, smile, cam
n nigh, snide, can
ŋ sang, sink, singer
p pie, spy, cap
r[7] rye, try, very
s sigh, mass
ʃ shy, cash, emotion
t tie, sty, cat, atom[1]
[2] China, catch
θ thigh, math
v vie, have
w wye, swine
z zoo, has
ʒ pleasure, vision, beige[8]
Marginal segments
IPA Examples
x ugh, loch, Chanukah[9]
ʔ uh-oh /ˈʔʌʔoː/
ɔ̃ bon vivant[10]
ɛ̃ fin de siècle[10]
Full vowels ...followed by R[11]
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ɑː PALM, bra, fall ɑːr START, star
ɒ LOT, pod, John, blockade[12] ɒr moral, forage
æ TRAP, pad, tattoo[13][14] ær barrow, marry[15]
PRICE, ride, pie[16] aɪər Ireland, hire
aɪ.ər higher, buyer[17]
MOUTH, loud, down, how, colour[16] aʊər flour
aʊ.ər flower[17]
ɛ DRESS, bet, prestige[18] ɛr error, merry[18]
FACE, made, fail, vein, pay ɛər SQUARE, mare, scarce, cairn, Mary[19]
eː.ər player[17]
ɪ KIT, lid, historic ɪr mirror, Sirius
FLEECE, seed, mean, sea ɪər NEAR, beard, fierce, serious[20]
iː.ər freer
GOAT, code, go, foal[21] oː.ər mower
ɔː THOUGHT, Maud, dawn, fall, straw[22] ɔːr NORTH, FORCE, horse, hoarse, oral[23][24]
ɔː.ər sawer
ɔɪ CHOICE, void, boy ɔɪər coir
ɔɪɘr joyer
ɔɪ.ər employer[17]
ʊ FOOT, good, full, woman ʊr courier
GOOSE, food, do ʊər boor, moor, tourist[24]
uː.ər truer
juː cute, mule, puny, beauty, huge, tune[25] jʊər CURE
juː.ər fewer
ʌ STRUT, bud, untidy, justiciable[26][27] ɜːr NURSE, word, girl, fern, furry, Berlin[28]
ʌr hurry, nourish[29]
Reduced vowels and syllabic consonants
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ə COMMA, ago, quiet, focus ər LETTER, perceive
uər Ligature
əl bottle (either [əl] or [l̩])
ən button (either [ən] or [n̩])
əm rhythm (either [əm] or [m̩])
i HAPPY, serious (either /iː/ or /ɪ/)[30] u influence (either /ʊ/ or /uː/)
Stress Syllabification
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ˈ intonation /ˌɪntəˈneːʃən/,[31]
battleship /ˈbætəlʃɪp/[32]
. /haɪər/ hire, /ˈhaɪ.ər/ higher[33]


Dialect variation

This key represents diaphonemes, abstractions of speech sounds that accommodate General American, Received Pronunciation (RP) and New Zealand (and to a large extent also Australian, Canadian, Irish (including Ulster), Scottish, South African and Welsh, but see below) pronunciations. Therefore, not all of the distinctions shown here are relevant to a particular dialect:

  • Many speakers of American and Canadian English pronounce cot /kɒt/ and caught /kɔːt/ the same. 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.
  • Some speakers from Northern England do not distinguish the vowel of square /ˈskwɛər/ and nurse /nɜːrs/. If you speak such a dialect, ignore the difference between the symbols /ɛər/ and /ɜːr/.
  • In New Zealand English, the vowels of kit /kɪt/ and focus /ˈfoʊkəs/ have the same schwa-like quality. If you are from New Zealand, ignore the difference between the symbols /ɪ/ and /ə/.
  • In New Zealand English and some other dialects, the vowels of near /nɪər/ and square /ˈskwɛər/ are not distinguished. If you speak such a dialect, ignore the difference between the symbols /ɪər/ and /ɛər/.
  • In Scottish English and Ulster English, the vowels of foot /fʊt/ and goose /ɡuːs/ are not distinguished. If you speak either of those dialects, ignore the difference between the symbols /ʊ/ and /uː/.
  • In Northern England English, the vowels of foot /fʊt/ and strut /strʌt/ are not distinguished. If you are from Northern England, ignore the difference between the symbols /ʊ/ and /ʌ/.
  • In Welsh English and some other dialects, the vowels of strut /strʌt/ and focus /ˈfoʊkəs/ are not distinguished. If you speak such a dialect, ignore the difference between the symbols /ʌ/ and /ə/.
  • 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 /kɑːrt/.
  • 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 ˈjɔːrk/. For most people from England and for some New Yorkers, the /r/ in /jɔːrk/ 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. (See yod-dropping.)

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 vowels of kit and bit, distinguished in South Africa. Both of them are transcribed as /ɪ/ in stressed syllables and as /ɪ/ or /ə/ in unstressed syllables.
  • The difference between the vowels of fir, fur and fern, maintained in Scottish and Irish English but lost elsewhere. All of them are transcribed as /ɜːr/.
  • The vowels of north and force, distinguished in Scottish English, Irish English and by a minority of American speakers. Both of them are transcribed as /ɔːr/.
  • The vowels of pause and paws, distinguished in Cockney and by some Estuary English speakers. Both of them are transcribed as /ɔː/ or /ɔːr/, depending on the word.
  • The vowels of bad and had, distinguished in many parts of Australia and the Eastern United States.[source?] Both of them are transcribed as /æ/.
  • The difference between the vowels of pain and pane found in some English, Welsh, and Newfoundland dialects. Both of them are transcribed as /eɪ/.
  • The difference between the vowels of holy and wholly found in Cockney and many Estuary English speakers. Both of them are transcribed as /oʊ/.
  • The vowels of spider and spied her, distinguished in Scotland. Both of them are transcribed as /aɪ/.
  • The vowels of rider and writer, distinguished in many parts of Canada and some parts of the United States. Both of them are transcribed as /aɪ/.
  • The vowels of powder and pouter distinguished in many parts of Canada and some parts of the United States. Both of them are transcribed as /aʊ/.

Other words may have different vowels depending on the speaker.

The pronunciation of the /æ/ vowel in most dialects of Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and Wales has always been closer to [a]. BBC English has moved away from the traditional near-open front realization [æ] towards almost fully open front realization [a], and both the Oxford English Dictionary and the 2014 edition of Gimson's Pronunciation of English transcribe the vowel in lad, bad, cat, trap with /a/.[ref 10]

For more extensive information on dialect variations, you may wish to see the IPA chart for English dialects.

Note that place names are not generally exempted from being transcribed in this abstracted system, so rules such as the above must be applied in order to recover the local pronunciation. Examples include place names in much of England ending ‑ford, which although locally pronounced [‑fəd] are transcribed /‑fərd/. This is best practice for editors. However, readers should be aware that not all editors may have followed this consistently, so for example if /‑fəd/ is encountered for such a place name, it should not be interpreted as a claim that the /r/ would be absent even in a rhotic dialect.

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. 1.0 1.1 In varieties with flapping, /t/ and /d/ between a vowel and an unstressed or word-initial vowel may be pronounced with a tap [ɾ], making the words latter and ladder homophonous. Some dictionaries (such as NOAD) transcribe those instances as ⟨d⟩, ⟨D⟩, or ⟨⟩, but they are not distinguished from /t/ or /d/ in this notation system. In those varieties, the sequence /nt/ in the same environment may also be realized as nasalized tap [ɾ̃], which may sound similar or identical to /n/. This is also not distinguished on Wikipedia.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The affricates /tʃ, dʒ/ are more correctly written with ligature ties: /t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ/. Ties are usually not included in transcriptions on Wikipedia because they do not display correctly in all browsers.
  3. If the two characters ⟨ɡ⟩ and ⟨ ⟩ do not match and if the first looks like a ⟨γ⟩, then you have an issue with your default font. See Help:IPA § Rendering issues.
  4. The phoneme /hw/ is not distinguished from /w/ in the many dialects with the winewhine merger, such as RP and most varieties of General American. For more information on this sound, see voiceless labialized velar approximant.
  5. The IPA value of the letter ⟨j⟩ is counter-intuitive to many English speakers. However, it does occur with this sound in a few English words: Besides hallelujah, there are fjord, Jägermeister and Jarlsberg cheese.
  6. /l/ in the syllable coda, as in the words all, cold, or bottle, is pronounced as [o], [u], [w] or a similar sound in many dialects through L-vocalization.
  7. 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.
  8. A number of English words, such as genre and garage, may be pronounced with either /ʒ/ or /dʒ/.
  9. In most dialects, /x/ is replaced by /k/ in most words, including loch. It is also replaced with /h/ in some words, such as Chanukah.
  10. 10.0 10.1 /ɔ̃, ɛ̃/ are only found in French loanwords and often replaced by another vowel and a nasal consonant: bon vivant /ˌbɔn viːˈvɑːnt/, ensemble /ɑːnˈsɑːmbəl/, croissant /ˈkwæs.ɑːŋ/.[ref 1][ref 2][ref 3]
  11. 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.
  12. /ɒ/ is not distinguished from /ɑː/ in dialects with the fatherbother merger such as General American.
  13. 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.
  14. In some regions, what would normally be [æŋ] or [æɡ] is pronounced as [eŋ] or [eːŋ], [eɡ] or [eːɡ], so that the a in rang and rag is closer to the ai in rain than the a in rat.
  15. /ær/ is pronounced the same as /ɛr/ (as in merry) in accents with the Marymarrymerry merger.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Many speakers, for example in most of Canada and much of the United States, have a different vowel in price and ride, and a different vowel in "mouth" and "loud". Generally, an [aɪ] or [aʊ] is used at the ends of words and before voiced sounds, as in ride, pie, loud, how, while an [ʌɪ] or [ʌʊ] is used before voiceless sounds, as in price and mouth. 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: [ˈɹɾɚ], [ˈɹʌɪɾɚ]. However, even though the value of /aɪ/ or /aʊ/ is not predictable in some words, such as spider [ˈspʌɪɾɚ],[ref 4] dictionaries do not generally record it, so it has not been allocated a separate transcription here.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Some speakers pronounce higher, flower, layer (stratum) and mayor with two syllables, and hire, flour, lair and mare with one. Others pronounce them the same.
  18. 18.0 18.1 /ɛ/ is transcribed as /e/ by many dictionaries.[ref 5]
  19. /ɛər/ is pronounced the same as /ɛr/ (as in merry) in accents with the Marymarrymerry merger. It is often transcribed as /eə/ by British dictionaries and as /er/ by American ones. The OED uses /ɛː/ for BrE and /ɛ(ə)r/ for AmE,[ref 6] but the Oxford Online Dictionaries apparently always use /er/ for AmE despite having /e(ə)r/ in their key to US pronunciations.[ref 7][ref 8]
  20. /ɪər/ is pronounced the same as /ɪr/ in accents with the mirrornearer merger.
  21. /oː/ is transcribed as /əː/ in Received Pronunciation.
  22. /ɔː/ is not distinguished from /ɒ/ (except before /r/) in dialects with the cotcaught merger such as many varieties of General American.
  23. Some conservative dialects make a distinction between the vowels in horse and hoarse, but the number of speakers who make this distinction any longer is very small and many dictionaries do not differentiate between them (horse–hoarse merger). The vowel in hoarse was formerly represented as /ɔər/ on Wikipedia, but is now represented as /ɔːr/, identical to horse.
  24. 24.0 24.1 /ʊər/ is not distinguished from /ɔːr/ in dialects with the cureforce merger, including many younger speakers. In England, the merger may not be fully consistent and may only apply to more common words. In conservative RP and Northern England English /ʊər/ is much more commonly preserved than in modern RP and Southern England English. In Australia and New Zealand, /ʊər/ does not exist as a separate phoneme and is replaced either by the sequence /uː.ər/ (/uːr/ before vowels within the same word, save for some compounds) or the monophthong /ɔːr/.
  25. 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/ and /dj/ mostly merge with /tʃ/ and /dʒ/, so that the first syllable in Tuesday is pronounced the same as choose. In some dialects /sj/ and /zj/ are also affected and they merge with /ʃ/ and /ʒ/.
  26. Some, particularly American, dictionaries notate /ʌ/ with the same symbol as /ə/, which is found only in unstressed syllables, and distinguish it from /ə/ only by a stress mark preceding it. Also note that although ⟨ʌ⟩, the IPA symbol for the open-mid back vowel, is used, the typical modern pronunciation is rather close to the near-open central vowel [ɐ] in both Received Pronunciation and General American.
  27. /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 footstrut split.
  28. In Received Pronunciation, /ɜːr/ is pronounced as a lengthened schwa, [əː]. In General American, it is phonetically identical to /ər/. Some dictionaries therefore use ⟨əː, ər⟩ instead of the conventional notations ⟨ɜː, ɜr⟩. When ⟨ər⟩ is used for /ɜːr/, it is distinguished from /ər/ by a stress mark preceding it.
  29. /ʌr/ is not distinguished from /ɜːr/ in dialects with the hurryfurry merger such as some varieties of General American.
  30. /i/ is pronounced [i] in dialects with the happy tensing and [ɪ] in others. British convention used to transcribe it with ⟨ɪ⟩, but the OED and other influential dictionaries recently converted to ⟨i⟩.
  31. It is arguable that there is no phonemic distinction in English between primary and secondary stress,[ref 9] but it is conventional to notate them as here.
  32. 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).
  33. Syllable divisions are not usually marked, but the IPA dot '.' may be used when it is wished to make explicit where a division between syllables is (or may be) made.


  1. "bon vivant". English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.).
  2. "ensemble". English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.).
  3. "French words and phrases". English Pronouncing Dictionary (17th ed.). p. 202.
  4. Vance, Timothy J. (1987). "'Canadian Raising' in Some Dialects of the Northern United States" (PDF). American Speech. 62 (3): 201. ISSN 1527-2133. JSTOR 454805.
  5. Wells, John (18 March 2009). "e and ɛ". John Wells's phonetic blog. Blogspot. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  6. "Key to pronunciation". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  7. "square" in Oxford Online Dictionaries
  8. Key to US pronunciations in Oxford Online Dictionaries
  9. Ladefoged, Peter (1993), A Course in Phonetics (3rd ed.), Orlando: Harcourt Brace, ISBN 0-15-507319-2
  10. Gimson, Alfred Charles (2014), Cruttenden, Alan (ed.), Gimson's Pronunciation of English (8th ed.), Routledge, pp. 119–120, ISBN 9781444183092

External links