The following tables show the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and the English pronunciation (enPR) or American Heritage Dictionary (AHD) symbols which are used to represent the various sounds of the English language. The sounds of Received Pronunciation (RP, UK), General American pronunciation (GenAm, US), Canadian English (CanE), Australian English (AuE), and New Zealand English (NZE) are shown.
For vowels in other dialects, see Wikipedia's IPA chart for English.
For a fuller list of dialects, see International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects.
This table is divided into two groups: non-rhotic dialects (RP, Australia, New Zealand) and rhotic dialects (General American and Canadian). Non-rhotic dialects do not pronounce what was historically a syllable-final r; instead they have a schwa (ə or, in NZ, ɘ), centering diphthong (ending in ə̯), or a long vowel (ending in ː). In addition to pronouncing syllable-final r, the rhotic dialects do not have a vowel length distinction, so none of their vowels end in the length symbol ː.
|IPA||enPR / AHD||examples|
|ɑː||ɑ||ɒ, ɑ||ɐː||ä||father, palm|
|ɑː||ɑɹ||ɐː||är||arm, bard, starry|
|æ, a||æ||ɛ||ă||bad, cat, ran|
|æɹ, aɹ||ɛɹ, æɹ||ɛɹ||æɹ||ɛɹ||ăr||carry, marry, paragraph|
|eɪ, ɛi||eɪ||æe, ae||ā||day, pain, hey, weight|
|(ɛə) ɛː||ɛɹ, eɹ||ɛɹ||eː||iə, eə||âr||hair, there, fairy, vary Mary|
|ɛ||e, ɛ||ɪ, e||ĕ||bed, egg, meadow|
|ɛɹ||eɹ||ĕr||very, error, merry|
|iː||i||iː, ɪi||iː, ɘi||ē||ease, see, siege, ceiling|
|(ɪə) ɪː||ɪɹ||iɹ||ɪə, ɪː||iə, iː||îr||near, here, serious|
|ɪ||i||(ē)||city, everyday, mania, geography|
|ɪ||ɪ, i||ɘ||ĭ||sit, city, bit, will|
|ɪ̈, ɨ||ə||ɘ||(ĭ)||roses, spotted, secure|
|aɪ, ɑi||aɪ||aɪ (ʌɪ)||ɑe, ɒe||ī||my, rice, pie, hi, Mayan|
|ɒ, ɔ||ɑ, ɔ||ɒ, ɑ||ɔ, ɒ||ŏ||not, wasp, boss, moth|
|ɒɹ||ɑɹ, ɒɹ||ɔɹ||ɔɹ, ɒɹ||ŏr||borrow, sorry, sorrow, tomorrow, (morrow)|
|ɔɹ||horror, forest, orange, quarrel, warrior|
|əʊ||oʊ||əʉ, ɐʉ||ɐʉ||ō||no, go, hope, know, toe|
|(ɔə) ɔː, oː||oɹ, ɔɹ||ɔɹ||oː||ōr||hoarse, force|
|ɔː, oː||ɔ||ɒ||oː||ô||law, caught|
|(ɔə) ɔː, oː||ɔɹ||oː||ôr||horse, north|
|ɔɪ, oi||ɔɪ||oe||oi||boy, noise|
|ʊ||o͝o, ŏŏ||put, foot, wolf|
|(ʊə) ɵː||ʊɹ||ʊə||ʉə||o͝or, ŏŏr||tour, tourism, stoor, jury|
|uː, ʉː||u||ʉː||o͞o, ōō||lose, soon, through|
|aʊ||aʊ (ʌʊ)||æo||ou||house, now, tower|
|ʌ||ɐ||ŭ||run, enough, up, other|
|ɜː||ɝ||ɜː||ɵː||ûr||fur, blurry, bird, swerve|
|ə||ɘ||ə||Rosa's, about, oppose|
|ə||ɚ||ə||ɘ||ər||winner, enter, error, doctor|
In order to allow Module:syllables to count syllables, the disyllabic sequence /iə/ must be transcribed with a period to mark the syllable break – /i.ə/ – so that it will not be confused with the New Zealand diphthong /iə/.
/ɹ/ in the vowel plus /ɹ/ sequences is sometimes replaced with /ɚ/: /ðɛɚ/ instead of /ðɛɹ/. In order to keep Module:syllables from counting /ɚ/ as a syllable, add the non-syllabic diacritic: /ðɛɚ̯/.
|IPA||enPR / AHD||examples|
|b||b||but, web, rubble|
|t͡ʃ||ch||chat, teach, nature|
|d||d||dot, idea, nod|
|f||f||fan, left, enough, photo|
|d͡ʒ||j||joy, agile, age|
|x||ᴋʜ||loch (in Scottish English)|
|m||m||man, animal, him|
|m̩ (əm)||m||spasm, prism|
|n||n||note, ant, pan|
|p||p||pen, spin, top, apple|
|s||s||set, list, ice|
|ʃ||sh||ash, sure, ration|
|θ||th||thin, nothing, moth|
|ð||th||this, father, clothe|
|z||z||zoo, quiz, rose|
The so-called voiceless and voiced obstruents are more properly fortis and lenis. Each member of a fortis–lenis pair is distinguished from the other by various articulatory and auditory features, but not consistently by voicing or lack of it.
In most dialects of English, the fortis (voiceless) stops and affricate /p t tʃ k/ are always voiceless, and are aspirated ([pʰ tʰ tʃʰ kʰ]) at the beginning of a word and at the beginning of a stressed syllable: for example, RP today [tʰəˈdeɪ], chain [tʃʰeɪn] and account [əˈkʰaʊnt]. Vowels and sonorants immediately preceding syllable final fortis obstruents are usually pronounced shorter than before lenis obstruents, as in bet vs. bed and bent vs. bend. This phenomenon is known as pre-fortis clipping.
The lenis (voiced) stops and affricate /b d dʒ ɡ/ are always unaspirated. Lenis obstruents /b v ð d z dʒ ʒ ɡ/ are often devoiced at the beginning or end of words, but are fully voiced between voiced vowels and sonorants.
The fortis–lenis distinction is neutralized in a few cases.
Initial consonant clusters consisting of /s/ and a stop (as in spill, still, skill) are typically analyzed as having a fortis stop, which agrees with the spelling, but may equally well be analyzed as having a lenis stop (i.e., *sbill, *sdill, *sgill). The stop is both voiceless and unaspirated, and there is no additional phonetic feature that establishes it as either fortis or lenis.
In addition, American English has a sound change known as intervocalic alveolar flapping, in which /t d/ are both pronounced as an alveolar flap [ɾ] between vowels or liquids and when not at the beginning of a stressed syllable, and /nt/ between vowels may be pronounced as a nasalized alveolar flap, [ɾ̃]. The fortis stop /t/ loses its distinctive voicelessness, and essentially becomes lenis. Flapping causes latter and ladder to both be pronounced as [ˈɫæɾɚ], and causes winter to be pronounced as [ˈwɪ̃ɾ̃ɚ], similar to winner [ˈwɪ̃nɚ].
A stress mark is placed before the syllable that is stressed in IPA and after it in enPR / AHD.
|ˈ (ˈa)||ʹ (aʹ)||primary stress, as in rapping /ˈɹæpɪŋ/|
|ˌ (ˌa)||' (a')||secondary stress (or sometimes tertiary stress) before the primary stress,|
tertiary stress after the primary stress as in battlefield /ˈbætəlˌfiːld/
|a.a||a-a||division between syllables|
|̩||syllabic consonant, as in ridden [ˈɹɪdn̩]|
|ʔ||glottal stop, as in uh-oh /ˈʌʔoʊ/, [ˈʌ̆ʔ˦oʊ˨]|
|̃ (ã)||nasalization, as in croissant /ˈkɹwæsɒ̃/|
Note: The EnPR and print AHD marks are formatted slightly differently. Online, AHD writes both ', though they do not always represent the same phoneme.