Help:IPA

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For help installing IPA-compatible fonts, see Help:Special characters#IPA symbols.
For a basic introduction to using IPA written for English readers, see Help:IPA/Introduction.

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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. For the smaller set of symbols that is sufficient for English, see Help:IPA/English. Several rare IPA symbols are not included; these are found in the main IPA article or on the extensive IPA chart. For the Manual of Style guideline for pronunciation, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation.

For each IPA symbol, an English example is given where possible; here "RP" stands for Received Pronunciation. The foreign languages that are used to illustrate additional sounds are primarily the ones most likely to be familiar to English speakers, French, Standard German, and Spanish. For symbols not covered by those, recourse is taken to the populous languages Standard Chinese, Hindustani, Arabic, and Russian. For sounds still not covered, other smaller but better analyzed languages are used, for example Swahili and Zulu (for the Bantu branch) or Turkish (for Turkic branch) for their respective related languages.

The left-hand column displays the symbols like this: Template:IPAblink. Click on "listen" to hear the sound; click on the symbol itself for a dedicated article with a more complete description and examples from multiple languages. Consonant sounds are spoken once followed by a vowel and once between vowels.

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Main symbols[edit]

The symbols are arranged by similarity to letters of the Latin alphabet. Symbols which do not resemble any Latin letter are placed at the end.

Symbol Examples Description
A
Template:IPAblink 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.
Template:IPAblink Mandarin 他 tā, American English father, Spanish casa, French patte
Template:IPAblink RP cut, German Kaiserslautern (In transcriptions of English, [ɐ] is usually written Template:Angbr IPA.)
Template:IPAblink RP father, French pâte, Dutch bad
Template:IPAblink French Caen, sans, temps Nasalized [ɑ].
Template:IPAblink RP cot Like [ɑ], but with the lips slightly rounded.
Template:IPAblink American English cut Like [ɔ], but without the lips being rounded. (When Template:Angbr IPA is used for English, it may really be [ɐ] or [ɜ].)
Template:IPAblink RP cat
B
Template:IPAblink English babble
Template:IPAblink Swahili bwana Like a [b] said with a gulp. See implosive consonants.
Template:IPAblink Spanish la Bamba, Kinyarwanda abana "children", Korean 무궁화 [muɡuŋβwa̠] mugunghwa Like [b], but with the lips not quite closed.
Template:IPAblink Nias simbi [siʙi] "lower jaw" Sputtering.
C
Template:IPAblink Turkish kebap "kebab", Czech stín "shadow", Greek και "and" Between English tune (RP) and cute. Sometimes used instead for [tʃ] in languages like Hindi.
Template:IPAblink 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!".
Template:IPAblink Mandarin 西安 Xi'an, Polish ściana More y-like than [ʃ]; something like English she.
Template:IPAblink see under O
D
Template:IPAblink English dad
Template:IPAblink Swahili Dodoma Like [d] said with a gulp.
Template:IPAblink American English harder Like [d] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
Template:IPAblink English the, bathe
Template:IPAblink English adds, Italian zero
Template:IPAblink English judge
Template:IPAblink Polish niewiedź "bear" Like [dʒ], but with more of a y-sound.
Template:IPAblink Polish em "jam" Like [dʒ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
E
Template:IPAblink Spanish fe; French clé, German Klee Similar to English hey, before the y sets in.
Template:IPAblink Australian English bird
Template:IPAblink English above, Hindi ठग [ʈʰəɡ] (thug) "thief" (Only occurs in English when not stressed.)
Template:IPAblink American English runner
Template:IPAblink English bet
Template:IPAblink French Saint-Étienne, vin, main Nasalized [ɛ].
Template:IPAblink RP bird (long)
Template:IPAblink American English bird
F
Template:IPAblink English fun
Template:IPAblink see under J
Template:IPAblink see under J
G
Template:IPAblink English gag (Should look like Opentail g.svg. No different from a Latin "g")
Template:IPAblink Swahili Uganda Like [ɡ] said with a gulp.
Template:IPAblink Like [ɡ], but further back, in the throat. Found in Persian and some Arabic dialects for /q/, as in Muammar Gaddafi.
Template:IPAblink see under Z English beige.
H
Template:IPAblink American English house
Template:IPAblink English ahead, when said quickly.
Template:IPAblink The extra puff of air in English top [tʰɒp] compared to stop [stɒp], or to French or Spanish [t].
Template:IPAblink Arabic Template:Wikt-lang Muhammad Far down in the throat, like [h], but stronger.
Template:IPAblink see under Y
Template:IPAblink see under L
I
Template:IPAblink English sea, French ville, Spanish Valladolid
Template:IPAblink English sit
Template:IPAblink Russian ты "you" Often used for unstressed English roses.
J
Template:IPAblink English yes, hallelujah, German Junge
Template:IPAblink In Russian Ленин [ˈlʲenʲɪn] Indicates a sound is more y-like.
Template:IPAblink Spanish cayo (some dialects) Like [j], but stronger.
Template:IPAblink Turkish gör "see", Czech díra "hole" Between English dew (RP) and argue. Sometimes used instead for [dʒ] in languages like Hindi.
Template:IPAblink Swahili jambo Like [ɟ] said with a gulp.
K
Template:IPAblink English kick, skip
L
Template:IPAblink English leaf
Template:IPAblink English wool
Russian малый [ˈmɑɫɨj] "small"
"Dark" el.
Template:IPAblink 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.
Template:IPAblink Like [l] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
Template:IPAblink A flapped [l], like [l] and [ɾ] said together.
Template:IPAblink Zulu dla "eat" Rather like [l] and [ʒ], or [l] and [ð], said together.
Template:IPAblink
M
Template:IPAblink English mime
Template:IPAblink English symphony Like [m], but lips touch teeth as they do in [f].
Template:IPAblink see under W
Template:IPAblink see under W
N
Template:IPAblink English nun
Template:IPAblink English sing, Māori nga
Template:IPAblink Spanish Peña, French champagne Rather like English canyon (/nj/ said quickly).
Template:IPAblink Hindi वरुण [ʋəruɳ] Varuna Like [n] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
Template:IPAblink Castilian Spanish Don Juan [doɴˈχwan] Like [ŋ], but further back, in the throat.
O
Template:IPAblink Spanish no, French eau, German Boden Somewhat reminiscent of American English no.
Template:IPAblink German Oldenburg, French Garonne
Template:IPAblink French Lyon, son Nasalized [ɔ].
Template:IPAblink French feu, bœufs, German Goethe Like [e], but with the lips rounded like [o].
Template:IPAblink 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 Template:Angbr IPA or Template:Angbr IPA, whereas the French vowel is typically transcribed with Template:Angbr IPA.
Template:IPAblink French bœuf, seul, German Göttingen Like [ɛ], but with the lips rounded like [ɔ].
Template:IPAblink French brun, parfum Nasalized [œ].
Template:IPAblink
Template:IPAblink see under Others
Template:IPAblink see under Others
P
Template:IPAblink English pip
Q
Template:IPAblink Arabic Template:Wikt-lang Qur’ān Like [k], but further back, in the throat.
R
Template:IPAblink Spanish perro, Scots borrow "Rolled R". (Often used for other rhotics, such as English [ɹ], when there's no ambiguity.)
Template:IPAblink Spanish pero, Tagalog daliri, Malay kabar, American English kitty/kiddie "Flapped R".
Template:IPAblink Dutch rood and German rot (some speakers) A trill in the back of the throat. Found for /r/ in some conservative registers of French.
Template:IPAblink Hindi साड़ी [sɑːɽiː] "sari" Like flapped [ɾ], but with the tongue curled back.
Template:IPAblink RP borrow
Template:IPAblink 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.
Template:IPAblink French Paris, German Riemann (some dialects) Said back in the throat, but not trilled.
S
Template:IPAblink English sass
Template:IPAblink English shoe
Template:IPAblink Mandarin 少林 (Shàolín), Russian Пушкин (Pushkin) Acoustically similar to [ʃ], but with the tongue curled or pulled back.
T
Template:IPAblink English tot, stop
Template:IPAblink Hindi ठग [ʈʰəɡ] (thug) "thief" Like [t], but with the tongue curled or pulled back.
Template:IPAblink English cats, Russian царь tsar
Template:IPAblink English church
Template:IPAblink Mandarin 北京 Běijīng (listen (help·info)

), Polish ciebie "you"

Like [tʃ], but with more of a y-sound.
Template:IPAblink Mandarin 真正 zhēnzhèng, Polish czas Like [tʃ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
U
Template:IPAblink American English food, French vous "you", German Schumacher
Template:IPAblink English foot, German Bundesrepublik
Template:IPAblink Australian English food (long) Like [ɨ], but with the lips rounded as for [u].
Template:IPAblink see under Y
Template:IPAblink see under W
V
Template:IPAblink English verve
Template:IPAblink 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.
Template:IPAblink see under Y
Template:IPAblink see under Y
Template:IPAblink see under A
W
Template:IPAblink English wow
Template:IPAblink Indicates a sound has lip rounding, as in English rain
Template:IPAblink what (some dialects) like [h] and [w] said together
Template:IPAblink Turkish kayık "caïque", Scottish Gaelic gaol Like [u], but with the lips flat; something like [ʊ].
Template:IPAblink Spanish agua Like [w], but with the lips flat.
X
Template:IPAblink Scottish English loch, German Bach, Russian хороший [xɐˈroʂɨj] "good", Spanish joven between [k] and [h]
Template:IPAblink 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
Template:IPAblink French rue, German Bülow Like [i], but with the lips rounded as for [u].
Template:IPAblink German Düsseldorf Like [ɪ], but with the lips rounded as for [ʊ].
Template:IPAblink Arabic Template:Wikt-lang Template:Transl and Swahili ghali "expensive", Spanish suegro Sounds rather like French [ʁ] or between [ɡ] and [h].
Template:IPAblink Mandarin 河南 Hénán, Scottish Gaelic taigh Like [o] but without the lips rounded, something like a cross of [ʊ] and [ʌ].
Template:IPAblink Italian tagliatelle Like [l], but more y-like. Rather like English volume.
Template:IPAblink French lui Like [j] and [w] said together.
Z
Template:IPAblink English zoo
Template:IPAblink English vision, French journal
Template:IPAblink old-styled Russian позже [ˈpoʑːe] "later", Polish źle More y-like than [ʒ], something like beigey.
Template:IPAblink Russian жир "fat" Like [ʒ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
Template:IPAblink see under L
Others
Template:IPAblink English thigh, bath
Template:IPAblink Japanese 富士 [ɸɯdʑi] Fuji, Māori [ˌɸaːɾeːˈnuiː] wharenui Like [p], but with the lips not quite touching
Template:IPAblink 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].
Template:IPAblink Arabic Template:Wikt-lang Template:Transl "Arabic" A light sound deep in the throat.
Template:IPAblink 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.
Template:IPAblink 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.
Template:IPAblink 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].
Template:IPAblink ǂ’Amkoe ʘoa "two" Like a kissing sound.
Template:IPAblink Khoekhoe ǂgā-amǃnâ [ǂàʔám̀ᵑǃã̀] "to put in the mouth" Like an imitation of a chewing sound.

Marks added to letters[edit]

Several marks can be added above, below, before or after letters. These are here shown on a carrier letter such as the vowel a. A more complete list is given at Template:Section link.

Symbol Example Description
Signs above a letter
[ã] French vin blanc [vɛ̃ blɑ̃] "white wine" A nasal vowel, as with a Texas twang.
[ä] Portuguese vá [vä] "go" A central vowel pronounced with the tongue position in the middle of the mouth; neither forward nor back.
Signs below a letter
[a̯] English cow [kʰaʊ̯], koi [kʰɔɪ̯] This vowel does not form a syllable of its own, but runs into the vowel next to it. (In English, the diacritic is generally left off: [kaʊ].)
[n̥] English boy [b̥ɔɪ̯], doe [d̥oʊ̯]

(see also)

Sounds like a loud whisper; [n̥] is like a whispered breath through the nose. [l̥] is found in Tibetan Lhasa.
[n̩] English button A consonant without a vowel. (English [n̩] is often transcribed /ən/.)
[d̪] Spanish dos, French deux The tongue touches the teeth more than it does in English.
Signs next to a letter
[kʰ] English come Aspirated consonant, pronounced with a puff of air. Similarly [tʰ pʰ tsʰ tʃʰ tɕʰ].
[k’] Zulu ukuza "come" Ejective. Like a popped [k], pushed from the throat. Similarly [tʼ pʼ qʼ tʃʼ tsʼ tɬʼ].
[aː] English shh! [ʃː] Long. Often used with English vowels or diphthongs: Mayo /ˈmeːoː/ for [ˈmeɪ̯ɜʊ̯], etc.
[aˑ] RP caught [ˈkʰɔˑt] Semi-long. (Although the vowel is different, this is also longer than cot [ˈkʰɒt].)
[ˈa] pronunciation
[pɹ̥əʊ̯ˌnɐnsiˈeɪʃn̩]
Main stress. The mark denotes the stress of the following syllable.
[ˌa] Weaker stress. The mark denotes the stress of the following syllable.
[.] English courtship [ˈkʰɔrt.ʃɪp] Syllable break. (this is often redundant and therefore left off)

Brackets[edit]

Two types of brackets are commonly used to enclose transcriptions in the IPA:

  • /Slashes/ indicate sounds that are distinguished as the basic units of words in a language by native speakers; these are called phonemes. Changing the symbols between these slashes would either change the identity of the word or produce nonsense. For example, since there is no meaningful difference to a native speaker between the two sounds written with the letter L in the word lulls, they are considered the same phoneme, and so, using slashes, they are given the same symbol in IPA: /ˈlʌlz/. Similarly, Spanish la bamba is transcribed phonemically with two instances of the same b sound, /la ˈbamba/, despite the fact that they sound different to a speaker of English. Thus a reader who is not familiar with the language in question might not know how to interpret these transcriptions more narrowly.
  • [Square brackets] indicate the narrower or more detailed phonetic qualities of a pronunciation, not taking into account the norms of the language to which it belongs; therefore, such transcriptions do not regard whether subtly different sounds in the pronunciation are actually noticeable or distinguishable to a native speaker of the language. Within square brackets is what a foreigner who does not know the structure of a language might hear as discrete units of sound. For instance, the English word lulls may be pronounced in a particular dialect more specifically as [ˈlɐɫz], with different letter L sounds at the beginning and end. This may be obvious to speakers of languages that differentiate between the sounds [l] and [ɫ]. Likewise, Spanish la bamba (pronounced without a pause) has two different b-sounds to the ears of foreigners or linguists—[la ˈβamba]—though a native Spanish speaker might not be able to hear it. Omitting or adding such detail does not make a difference to the identity of the word, but helps to give a more precise pronunciation.

A third kind of bracket is occasionally seen:

  • Either //double slashes// or |pipes| (or occasionally other conventions) show that the enclosed sounds are theoretical constructs that are not actually heard. (This is part of morphophonology.) For instance, most phonologists argue that the -s at the ends of verbs, which surfaces as either /s/ in talks /tɔːks/ or as /z/ in lulls /lʌlz/, has a single underlying form. If they decide this form is an s, they would write it //s// (or |s|) to claim that phonemic /tɔːks/ and /lʌlz/ are essentially //tɔːks// and //lʌls// underneath. If they were to decide it was essentially the latter, //z//, they would transcribe these words //tɔːkz// and //lʌlz//.

Lastly,

Rendering issues[edit]

IPA typeface support is increasing, and is now included in several typefaces such as the Times New Roman versions that come with various recent computer operating systems. Diacritics are not always properly rendered, however. IPA typefaces that are freely available online include Gentium, several from the SIL (such as Charis SIL, and Doulos SIL), Dehuti, DejaVu Sans, and TITUS Cyberbit, which are all freely available; as well as commercial typefaces such as Brill, available from Brill Publishers, and Lucida Sans Unicode and Arial Unicode MS, shipping with various Microsoft products. These all include several ranges of characters in addition to the IPA. Modern Web browsers generally do not need any configuration to display these symbols, provided that a typeface capable of doing so is available to the operating system.

Particularly, the following symbols may be shown improperly depending on your font:

Computer input using on-screen keyboard[edit]

Online IPA keyboard utilities are available and they cover a range of IPA symbols and diacritics:


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

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Template:IPA keys Template:IPA navigation