This list contains the main sounds of standard British English (the one that’s associated with southern England, also often called Received Pronunciation). The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols appear on my Web pages; the text equivalents are for my weekly e-mail newsletters. See the bottom of the page for some important notes.
The following letters have their usual values in English:
b, d, f, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, z.
|ɡ||g||get, go, guard||tʃ||tS||chip, chin, nature|
|dʒ||dZ||judge, soldier||x||x||Scots loch|
|ŋ||N||sing, ring, finger||θ||T||thin, thick, strength|
|ð||D||then, bathe, lather||ʃ||S||she, sugar, machine|
|ʒ||Z||pleasure, vision||j||j||yet, use, beauty|
|æ||a||cat, bad, trap||ɛ||e||bed, net, dress|
|ə||@||about, comma||ɪ||I||kit, bid, hymn|
|i||i||happy, glorious||ɒ||Q||hot, odd, wash|
|ʌ||V||dug, run, strut||ʊ||U||book, put, foot|
|ɑː||A:||cart, arm, father||iː||i:||meet, see, fleece|
|ɜː||3:||her, nurse, learn||uː||u:||boot, too, group|
|ɔː||O:||port, saw, thaw|
|aɪ||aI||bite, my, price||aʊ||aU||brow, how, mouth|
|eɪ||eI||fate, day, break||əʊ||@U||goat, show, no|
|ɪə||I@||pier, near, weary||ɔɪ||OI||boil, choice, boy|
|ʊə||U@||tour, cure, jury||eə||e@||hair, dare, various|
|aʊə||aU@||sour, cower, flour||aɪə||aI@||fire, buyer, liar|
|ˈ||’||Precedes the syllable which has the primary stress|
|ˌ||,||Precedes a syllable which has a secondary stress|
|( )||( )||Surround an optional sound|
|œ||9||oeuf, soeur||y||y||sucre, tu|
|ɑ̃||a~||banque, sans||ɛ̃||e~||cinq, saint|
|ɔ̃||o~||bonbons, son||œ̃||9~||un, lundi, brun|
With minor changes, the IPA scheme is that of the Oxford English Dictionary, Collins Dictionaries and the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, while the text symbols are those of the European SAMPA scheme, with minor changes to aid comprehension by non-linguists.
To view IPA you must have a font on your computer that includes the IPA extensions, such as Lucida Sans Unicode, Doulos SIL or Arial Unicode MS. If the symbols are visible in the IPA column above, then you already have such a font installed. The site preference is for Lucida Sans Unicode, a font which is widely installed on Windows systems. See your system help files for how to install fonts.
Some links that may be useful:
Last updated 17 Dec. 2013
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