Help:IPA

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The latest official IPA chart, revised to 2020

Here is a basic key to the symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Several rare IPA symbols are not included. These IPA symbols are found in the main IPA article.

 

Main symbols[change | change source]

Symbol Examples Description
A
[a] (About this soundlisten) German Mann, French gare For many English speakers, the first part of the ow sound in cow. Found in some dialects of English in cat or father.
[ä] (About this soundlisten) Mandarin 他 tā, American English father, Spanish casa, French patte
[ɐ] (About this soundlisten) RP cut, German Kaiserslautern (In transcriptions of English, [ɐ] is usually written ⟨ʌ⟩.)
[ɑ] (About this soundlisten) RP father, French pâte, Dutch bad
[ɑ̃] (About this soundlisten) French Caen, sans, temps Nasalized [ɑ].
[ɒ] (About this soundlisten) RP cot Like [ɑ], but with the lips slightly rounded.
[ʌ] (About this soundlisten) American English cut Like [ɔ], but without the lips being rounded. (When ⟨ʌ⟩ is used for English, it may really be [ɐ] or [ɜ].)
[æ] (About this soundlisten) RP cat
B
[b] (About this soundlisten) English babble
[ɓ] (About this soundlisten) Swahili bwana Like a [b] said with a gulp. See implosive consonants.
[β] (About this soundlisten) Spanish la Bamba, Kinyarwanda abana "children", Korean 무궁화 [muɡuŋβwa̠] mugunghwa Like [b], but with the lips not quite closed.
[ʙ] (About this soundlisten) Nias simbi [siʙi] "lower jaw" Sputtering.
C
[c] (About this soundlisten) Turkish kebap "kebab", Czech stín "shadow", Greek και "and" Between English tune (RP) and cute. Sometimes used instead for [tʃ] in languages like Hindi.
[ç] (About this soundlisten) German Ich More of a y-coloration (more palatal) than [x]. Some English speakers have a similar sound in huge. To produce this sound, try whispering loudly the word "ye" as in "Hear ye!".
[ɕ] (About this soundlisten) Mandarin 西安 Xi'an, Polish ściana More y-like than [ʃ]; something like English she.
[ɔ] (About this soundlisten) see under O
D
[d] (About this soundlisten) English dad
[ɗ] (About this soundlisten) Swahili Dodoma Like [d] said with a gulp.
[ɖ] (About this soundlisten) American English harder Like [d] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ð] (About this soundlisten) English the, bathe
[dz] (About this soundlisten) English adds, Italian zero
[] (About this soundlisten) English judge
[] (About this soundlisten) Polish niewiedź "bear" Like [dʒ], but with more of a y-sound.
[] (About this soundlisten) Polish em "jam" Like [dʒ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
E
[e] (About this soundlisten) Spanish fe; French clé, German Klee Similar to English hey, before the y sets in.
[ɘ] (About this soundlisten) Australian English bird
[ə] (About this soundlisten) English above, Hindi ठग [ʈʰəɡ] (thug) "thief" (Only occurs in English when not stressed.)
[ɚ] (About this soundlisten) American English runner
[ɛ] (About this soundlisten) English bet
[ɛ̃] (About this soundlisten) French Saint-Étienne, vin, main Nasalized [ɛ].
[ɜ] (About this soundlisten) RP bird (long)
[ɝ] (About this soundlisten) American English bird
F
[f] (About this soundlisten) English fun
[ɟ] (About this soundlisten) see under J
[ʄ] (About this soundlisten) see under J
G
[ɡ] (About this soundlisten) English gag (Should look like Opentail g.svg. No different from a Latin "g")
[ɠ] (About this soundlisten) Swahili Uganda Like [ɡ] said with a gulp.
[ɢ] (About this soundlisten) Like [ɡ], but further back, in the throat. Found in Persian and some Arabic dialects for /q/, as in Muammar Gaddafi.
[ʒ] (About this soundlisten) see under Z English beige.
H
[h] (About this soundlisten) American English house
[ɦ] (About this soundlisten) English ahead, when said quickly.
[ʰ] The extra puff of air in English top [tʰɒp] compared to stop [stɒp], or to French or Spanish [t].
[ħ] (About this soundlisten) Arabic ‏مُحَمَّدMuhammad Far down in the throat, like [h], but stronger.
[ɥ] (About this soundlisten) see under Y
[ɮ] (About this soundlisten) see under L
I
[i] (About this soundlisten) English sea, French ville, Spanish Valladolid
[ɪ] (About this soundlisten) English sit
[ɨ] (About this soundlisten) Russian ты "you" Often used for unstressed English roses.
J
[j] (About this soundlisten) English yes, hallelujah, German Junge
[ʲ] In Russian Ленин [ˈlʲenʲɪn] Indicates a sound is more y-like.
[ʝ] (About this soundlisten) Spanish cayo (some dialects) Like [j], but stronger.
[ɟ] (About this soundlisten) Turkish gör "see", Czech díra "hole" Between English dew (RP) and argue. Sometimes used instead for [dʒ] in languages like Hindi.
[ʄ] (About this soundlisten) Swahili jambo Like [ɟ] said with a gulp.
K
[k] (About this soundlisten) English kick, skip
L
[l] (About this soundlisten) English leaf
[ɫ] (About this soundlisten) English wool
Russian малый [ˈmɑɫɨj] "small"
"Dark" el.
[ɬ] (About this soundlisten) Welsh llwyd [ɬʊɪd] "grey"
Zulu hlala [ɬaːla] "sit"
By touching roof of mouth with tongue and giving a quick breath out. Found in Welsh placenames like Llangollen and Llanelli and Nelson Mandela's Xhosa name Rolihlahla.
[ɭ] (About this soundlisten) Like [l] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ɺ] A flapped [l], like [l] and [ɾ] said together.
[ɮ] (About this soundlisten) Zulu dla "eat" Rather like [l] and [ʒ], or [l] and [ð], said together.
[ʟ] (About this soundlisten)
M
[m] (About this soundlisten) English mime
[ɱ] (About this soundlisten) English symphony Like [m], but lips touch teeth as they do in [f].
[ɯ] (About this soundlisten) see under W
[ʍ] (About this soundlisten) see under W
N
[n] (About this soundlisten) English nun
[ŋ] (About this soundlisten) English sing, Māori nga
[ɲ] (About this soundlisten) Spanish Peña, French champagne Rather like English canyon (/nj/ said quickly).
[ɳ] (About this soundlisten) Hindi वरुण [ʋəruɳ] Varuna Like [n] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ɴ] (About this soundlisten) Castilian Spanish Don Juan [doɴˈχwan] Like [ŋ], but further back, in the throat.
O
[o] (About this soundlisten) Spanish no, French eau, German Boden Somewhat reminiscent of American English no.
[ɔ] (About this soundlisten) German Oldenburg, French Garonne
[ɔ̃] (About this soundlisten) French Lyon, son Nasalized [ɔ].
[ø] (About this soundlisten) French feu, bœufs, German Goethe Like [e], but with the lips rounded like [o].
[ɵ] (About this soundlisten) Dutch hut, French je, Swedish dum Halfway between [o] and [ø]. Similar to [ʊ] but with the tongue slightly more down and front. The Dutch vowel is often transcribed with ⟨ʏ⟩ or ⟨œ⟩, whereas the French vowel is typically transcribed with ⟨ə⟩.
[œ] (About this soundlisten) French bœuf, seul, German Göttingen Like [ɛ], but with the lips rounded like [ɔ].
[œ̃] (About this soundlisten) French brun, parfum Nasalized [œ].
[ɶ] (About this soundlisten)
[θ] (About this soundlisten) see under Others
[ɸ] (About this soundlisten) see under Others
P
[p] (About this soundlisten) English pip
Q
[q] (About this soundlisten) Arabic ‏قُرْآنQur’ān Like [k], but further back, in the throat.
R
[r] (About this soundlisten) Spanish perro, Scots borrow "Rolled R". (Often used for other rhotics, such as English [ɹ], when there's no ambiguity.)
[ɾ] (About this soundlisten) Spanish pero, Tagalog daliri, Malay kabar, American English kitty/kiddie "Flapped R".
[ʀ] (About this soundlisten) Dutch rood and German rot (some speakers) A trill in the back of the throat. Found for /r/ in some conservative registers of French.
[ɽ] (About this soundlisten) Hindi साड़ी [sɑːɽiː] "sari" Like flapped [ɾ], but with the tongue curled back.
[ɹ] (About this soundlisten) RP borrow
[ɻ] (About this soundlisten) Mandarin 人民日报 Rénmín Rìbào "People's Daily", American English borrow, butter Like [ɹ], but with the tongue curled or pulled back, as pronounced by many English speakers.
[ʁ] (About this soundlisten) French Paris, German Riemann (some dialects) Said back in the throat, but not trilled.
S
[s] (About this soundlisten) English sass
[ʃ] (About this soundlisten) English shoe
[ʂ] (About this soundlisten) Mandarin 少林 (Shàolín), Russian Пушкин (Pushkin) Acoustically similar to [ʃ], but with the tongue curled or pulled back.
T
[t] (About this soundlisten) English tot, stop
[ʈ] (About this soundlisten) Hindi ठग [ʈʰəɡ] (thug) "thief" Like [t], but with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ts] (About this soundlisten) English cats, Russian царь tsar
[] (About this soundlisten) English church
[] (About this soundlisten) Mandarin 北京 Běijīng (About this soundlisten), Polish ciebie "you" Like [tʃ], but with more of a y-sound.
[] (About this soundlisten) Mandarin 真正 zhēnzhèng, Polish czas Like [tʃ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
U
[u] (About this soundlisten) American English food, French vous "you", German Schumacher
[ʊ] (About this soundlisten) English foot, German Bundesrepublik
[ʉ] (About this soundlisten) Australian English food (long) Like [ɨ], but with the lips rounded as for [u].
[ɥ] (About this soundlisten) see under Y
[ɯ] (About this soundlisten) see under W
V
[v] (About this soundlisten) English verve
[ʋ] (About this soundlisten) Hindi वरुण [ʋəruɳə] "Varuna" Between [v] and [w]. Used by some Germans and Russians for v/w, and by some speakers of British English for r.
[ɤ] (About this soundlisten) see under Y
[ɣ] (About this soundlisten) see under Y
[ʌ] (About this soundlisten) see under A
W
[w] (About this soundlisten) English wow
[ʷ] Indicates a sound has lip rounding, as in English rain
[ʍ] (About this soundlisten) what (some dialects) like [h] and [w] said together
[ɯ] (About this soundlisten) Turkish kayık "caïque", Scottish Gaelic gaol Like [u], but with the lips flat; something like [ʊ].
[ɰ] (About this soundlisten) Spanish agua Like [w], but with the lips flat.
X
[x] (About this soundlisten) Scottish English loch, German Bach, Russian хороший [xɐˈroʂɨj] "good", Spanish joven between [k] and [h]
[χ] (About this soundlisten) northern Standard Dutch Scheveningen, Castilian Spanish Don Juan [doɴˈχwan] Like [x], but further back, in the throat. Some German and Arabic speakers have [χ] for [x].
Y
[y] (About this soundlisten) French rue, German Bülow Like [i], but with the lips rounded as for [u].
[ʏ] (About this soundlisten) German Düsseldorf Like [ɪ], but with the lips rounded as for [ʊ].
[ɣ] (About this soundlisten) Arabic ‏غَالِيghālī and Swahili ghali "expensive", Spanish suegro Sounds rather like French [ʁ] or between [ɡ] and [h].
[ɤ] (About this soundlisten) Mandarin 河南 Hénán, Scottish Gaelic taigh Like [o] but without the lips rounded, something like a cross of [ʊ] and [ʌ].
[ʎ] (About this soundlisten) Italian tagliatelle Like [l], but more y-like. Rather like English volume.
[ɥ] (About this soundlisten) French lui Like [j] and [w] said together.
Z
[z] (About this soundlisten) English zoo
[ʒ] (About this soundlisten) English vision, French journal
[ʑ] (About this soundlisten) old-styled Russian позже [ˈpoʑːe] "later", Polish źle More y-like than [ʒ], something like beigey.
[ʐ] (About this soundlisten) Russian жир "fat" Like [ʒ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ɮ] (About this soundlisten) see under L
Others
[θ] (About this soundlisten) English thigh, bath
[ɸ] (About this soundlisten) Japanese 富士 [ɸɯdʑi] Fuji, Māori [ˌɸaːɾeːˈnuiː] wharenui Like [p], but with the lips not quite touching
[ʔ] (About this soundlisten) English uh-oh, Hawaii, German die Angst The 'glottal stop', a catch in the breath. For some people, found in button [ˈbʌʔn̩], or between vowels across words: Deus ex machina [ˌdeɪəsˌʔɛksˈmɑːkɪnə]; in some nonstandard dialects, in a apple [əˈʔæpl̩].
[ʕ] (About this soundlisten) Arabic ‏عَرَبِيّʻarabī "Arabic" A light, voiced sound deep in the throat, articulated with the root of the tongue against the pharynx (back of the throat).
[ǀ] (About this soundlisten) English tsk-tsk! or tut-tut!, Zulu icici "earring" (The English click used for disapproval.) Several distinct sounds, written as digraphs, including [kǀ], [ɡǀ], [ŋǀ]. The Zimbabwean MP Ncube has this click in his name, as did Cetshwayo.
[ǁ] (About this soundlisten) English tchick! tchick!, Zulu ixoxo "frog" (The English click used to urge on a horse.) Several distinct sounds, written as digraphs, including [kǁ], [ɡǁ], [ŋǁ]. Found in the name of the Xhosa.
[ǃ] (About this soundlisten) Zulu iqaqa "polecat" (The English click used to imitate the trotting of a horse.) A hollow popping sound, like a cork pulled from a bottle. Several distinct sounds, written as digraphs, including [kǃ], [ɡǃ], [ŋǃ].
[ʘ] (About this soundlisten) ǂ’Amkoe ʘoa "two" Like a kissing sound.
[ǂ] (About this soundlisten) Khoekhoe ǂgā-amǃnâ [ǂàʔám̀ᵑǃã̀] "to put in the mouth" Like an imitation of a chewing sound.

Marks added to letters[change | change source]

Several marks can be added above, below, before or after letters. The complete list is shown at International Phonetic Alphabet § Diacritics and prosodic notation.

Symbol Example
Signs above a letter
[ã] French vin blanc [vɛ̃ blɑ̃] "white wine"
[ä] Portuguese vá [vä] "go"
Signs below a letter
[a̯] English cow [kʰaʊ̯], koi [kʰɔɪ̯]
[n̥] English boy [b̥ɔɪ̯], doe [d̥oʊ̯]

(see also)

[n̩] English button
[d̪] Spanish dos, French deux
Signs next to a letter
[kʰ] English come
[k’] Zulu ukuza "come"
[aː] English shh! [ʃː]
[aˑ] RP caught [ˈkʰɔˑt]
[ˈa] pronunciation

[pɹ̥əʊ̯ˌnɐnsiˈeɪʃn̩]
[ˌa]
[.] English courtship [ˈkʰɔrt.ʃɪp]

Computer input using on-screen keyboard[change | change source]

Online IPA keyboard utilities are available.


For iOS there are free IPA keyboard layouts, e.g. IPA Phonetic Keyboard.

Related pages[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]