Throughout Wikipedia, the pronunciation of words is indicated using 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 ((IPAc-en)). The template provides tooltips for each symbol in the pronunciation. See the template page for instructions.


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.

The words given as examples for two different symbols may sound the same to you. For example, you may pronounce cot and caught the same, do and dew, or marry and merry. This often happens because of dialect variation (see our articles English phonology and International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects). If this is the case, you will pronounce those symbols the same for other words as well.[1] Whether this is true for all words, or just when the sounds occur in the same context, depends on the merger.[2] The footnotes explain some of these cases.

IPA Examples
b buy, cab
d dye, cad, ladder[3]
dj dew[4]
giant, badge
ð thy, breathe, father
f find, leaf
ɡ guy, bag
h high, ahead
hw whine[5]
j[6] yes, hallelujah
k kind, sky, crack
l lie, ply, gal[7]
lj lute[4]
m my, smile, cam
n nigh, snide, can
nj new[4]
ŋ sang, sink, singer
p pie, spy, cap
r[8] rye, try, very
s sigh, mass
sj consume[4]
ʃ shy, cash, emotion
t tie, sty, cat, latter[3]
tj tune[4]
China, catch
θ thigh, path
θj enthuse[4]
v vie, leave
w wine, swine
z zoo, has
zj Zeus, resume[4]
ʒ pleasure, beige[9]
Strong vowels ...followed by R[10]
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ɑː PALM, bra, father ɑːr START
ɒ LOT, blockade, cot, bother[11] ɒr moral[12]
æ[13] TRAP, tattoo, sang[14] ær marry[15]
PRICE, pie[16] aɪər hire[17]
MOUTH, how[16] aʊər flour[17]
ɛ[18] DRESS, prestige, length ɛr merry[15]
FACE ɛər SQUARE, Mary[15][19]
ɪ KIT, historic, sing[20]
rabbit, bizarre, Latin[20][21]
ɪr mirror, Sirius
FLEECE, pedigree, idea[22] ɪər NEAR, serious[19]
[23] GOAT[20]
motto, retroactive, follower[20][24]
ɔːr FORCE, hoarse[25]
ɔː THOUGHT, audacious, caught[26] NORTH, horse[25]
ɔɪ CHOICE ɔɪər coir[17]
ʊ FOOT ʊr courier
GOOSE, cruel[22] ʊər tour, CURE (/ˈkjʊər/)[27][19]
ʌ[28] STRUT, untidy, trustee, sung[29] ɜːr NURSE, blurry, urbane, foreword[30]
ʌr hurry[31]
Weak vowels
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ə COMMA, abbot, bazaar ər LETTER, forward, history[32]
i HAPPY, mediocre[33] California[34]
u fruition[24][33] influence[35]
Syllabic consonants[32]
IPA Examples IPA Examples
əl bottle, doubling ([əl], [l̩], or [l]) ən button, fastener ([ən], [n̩], or [n])
əm rhythm, blossoming ([əm], [m̩], or [m])
Marginal segments
IPA Examples IPA Examples
x loch, Chanukah[36] ʔ uh-oh /ˈʌʔoʊ/
ɒ̃ bon vivant[37] æ̃ fin de siècle[37]
ɜː Möbius (non-rhotic only)[38]
Stress[39] Syllabification
IPA Examples IPA Examples
ˈ intonation /ˌɪntəˈneɪʃən/[40] . /ˈhaɪər/ hire, /ˈhaɪ.ər/ higher[41]
/ˈtæks.peɪər/ taxpayer


Dialect variation

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

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:

Other words may have different vowels depending on the speaker.

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.

See also


  1. ^ This rule is generally employed in the pronunciation guide of our articles, even for local terms such as place names. However, be aware that not all editors may have followed this consistently, so for example if a pronunciation of an English town ending in ‑ford reads /‑fəd/, it doesn't mean that the /r/ would be absent in a rhotic dialect.
  2. ^ For example, if you have the marry–merry merger, you probably only merge /æ/ and /ɛ/ before /r/. You would still distinguish man and men.
  3. ^ a b In varieties with flapping, /t/ and sometimes also /d/ between a vowel and a weak or word-initial vowel may be pronounced with a voiced tap [ɾ], making latter sound similar or identical to ladder. Some dictionaries transcribe /t/ subject to this process as ⟨d⟩ or ⟨⟩, but they are not distinguished in this transcription system. In those varieties, the sequence /nt/ in the same environment may also be realized as a nasalized tap [ɾ̃], making winter sound similar or identical to winner. This is also not distinguished in this system.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g In dialects with yod dropping, /j/ in /juː/, /ju/, or /jʊər/ is not pronounced 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 frequently merge with /ʃ/ and /ʒ/. Where /j/ in /juː/, /ju/, or /jʊər/ following a coronal is still pronounced in yod-dropping accents, place a syllable break before it: menu /ˈmɛn.juː/.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ The IPA value of the letter ⟨j⟩ may be counterintuitive to English speakers, but the spelling is found even in some common English words like hallelujah and fjord. Some dictionaries use ⟨y⟩ instead, although it represents a close front rounded vowel in official IPA.
  7. ^ /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.
  8. ^ In most varieties of English, /r/ is pronounced as an approximant [ɹ]. Although the IPA symbol ⟨r⟩ represents the alveolar trill, ⟨r⟩ is widely used instead of ⟨ɹ⟩ in broad transcriptions of English.
  9. ^ A number of English words, such as genre and garage, may be pronounced with either /ʒ/ or /dʒ/.
  10. ^ In non-rhotic accents like RP, /r/ is not pronounced unless followed by a vowel.
  11. ^ In dialects with the fatherbother merger such as General American, /ɒ/ is not distinguished from /ɑː/.
  12. ^ In most of the United States, /ɒr/ is merged with /ɔːr/, except for a handful of words such as borrow, tomorrow and sorry, which instead have /ɑːr/. In some parts of the Southern and Northeastern US, it is always merged with /ɑːr/. In Canada, it is always merged with /ɔːr/.
  13. ^ Some British sources, such as the Oxford English Dictionary, use ⟨a⟩ instead of /æ/ to transcribe this vowel. This more closely reflects the actual vowel quality in contemporary Received Pronunciation.[a]
  14. ^ In North America, /æ/ is often pronounced like a diphthong [eə~ɛə] before nasal consonants and, in some particular regional dialects, other environments. See /æ/ raising.
  15. ^ a b c Many North American accents have the Marymarrymerry merger and therefore don't distinguish between the corresponding sounds /ɛər/, /ær/, and /ɛr/. Some speakers merge only two of the sounds (most typically /ɛər/ with one of the short vowels), and less than a fifth of speakers of American English make a full three-way distinction like in RP and similar accents.[b]
  16. ^ a b In much of North America, /aɪ/ or /aʊ/ may have a slightly different quality when it precedes a voiceless consonant, as in price or mouth, from that in ride/pie or loud/how, a phenomenon known as Canadian raising. Since this occurs in a predictable fashion, it is not distinguished in this transcription system.
  17. ^ a b c Some speakers pronounce higher, flower and coyer ("more coy") with two syllables, and hire, flour and coir with one. Most pronounce them the same. For the former group of words, make use of syllable breaks, as in /ˈhaɪ.ər/, /ˈflaʊ.ər/, /ˈkɔɪ.ər/, to differentiate from the latter. Before vowels, the distinction between /aɪər, aʊər, ɔɪər/ and /aɪr, aʊr, ɔɪr/ is not always clear; choose the former if the second element may be omitted (as in [ˈdaəri] diary).
  18. ^ /ɛ/ is transcribed with ⟨e⟩ in many dictionaries. However, /eɪ/ is also sometimes transcribed with ⟨e⟩, especially in North American literature, so ⟨ɛ⟩ is chosen here.
  19. ^ a b c /ɛə/, /ɪə/, or /ʊə/ may be separated from /r/ only when a stress follows it. The IPAc-en template supports /ɛəˈr/, /ɪəˈr/, /ʊəˈr/, /ɛəˌr/, /ɪəˌr/, and /ʊəˌr/ as distinct diaphonemes for such occasions.
  20. ^ a b c d ɪ⟩ and ⟨⟩ represent strong vowels in some words and weak vowels in others. It will not always be clear which they are.[c][d]
  21. ^ ɪ⟩ represents a strong vowel in some contexts and a weak vowel in others. In accents with the weak vowel merger such as most Australian and American accents, weak /ɪ/ is not distinguished from schwa /ə/, making rabbit and abbot rhyme and Lenin and Lennon homophonous. (Pairs like roses and Rosa's are kept distinct in American accents because of the difference in morphological structure,[e] but may be homophonous in Australian.[f]) In these accents, weak /ɪl, ɪn, ɪm/ merge with /əl, ən, əm/, so that the second vowel in Latin may be lost and cabinet may be disyllabic (see the previous note).
  22. ^ a b Words like idea, real, and theatre may be pronounced with /ɪə/ and cruel with /ʊə/ in non-rhotic accents such as Received Pronunciation, and some dictionaries transcribe them with /ɪə, ʊə/,[g] but since they are not pronounced with /r/ in rhotic accents, they are transcribed with /iːə, uːə/, not with /ɪə, ʊə/, in this transcription system.
  23. ^ /oʊ/ is often transcribed with ⟨əʊ⟩, particularly in British literature, based on its modern realization in Received Pronunciation. It is also transcribed with ⟨o⟩, particularly in North American literature.
  24. ^ a b /oʊ/ and /u/ in unstressed, prevocalic positions are transcribed as /əw/ by Merriam-Webster, but no other dictionary uniformly follows this practice.[h] Hence the difference between /əw/ in Merriam-Webster and /oʊ/ or /u/ in another source is most likely one in notation, not in pronunciation, so /əw/ in such cases may be better replaced with /oʊ/ or /u/ accordingly, to minimize confusion: /ˌsɪtʃəˈweɪʃən//ˌsɪtʃuˈeɪʃən/, /ˈfɒləwər//ˈfɒloʊər/.
  25. ^ a b Some accents, such as Scottish English, many forms of Irish English and some conservative American accents, make a distinction between the vowels in horse and hoarse (i.e. they lack the horsehoarse merger). Since most modern dictionaries do not differentiate between them, neither does this key.
  26. ^ /ɔː/ is not distinguished from /ɒ/ in dialects with the cotcaught merger such as Scottish English, Canadian English and many varieties of General American. In North America, the two vowels most often fall together with /ɑː/.
  27. ^ /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 /uːər/ (/uːr/ before vowels within the same word, save for some compounds) or the monophthong /ɔːr/.
  28. ^ Some, particularly North American, dictionaries notate /ʌ/ with the same symbol as /ə/, which is found only in unstressed syllables, and distinguish it from /ə/ by marking the syllable as stressed. 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 some dialects, including Received Pronunciation.
  29. ^ /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.
  30. ^ 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 marking the syllable as stressed.
  31. ^ /ʌr/ is not distinguished from /ɜːr/ in dialects with the hurryfurry merger such as General American.
  32. ^ a b In a number of contexts, /ə/ in /ər/, /əl/, /ən/, or /əm/ is often omitted, resulting in a syllable with no vowel. Some dictionaries show /ə/ in those contexts in parentheses, superscript, or italics to indicate this possibility, or simply omit /ə/. When followed by a weak vowel, the syllable may be lost altogether, with the consonant moving to the next syllable, so that doubling /ˈdʌb.əl.ɪŋ/ may alternatively be pronounced as [ˈdʌb.lɪŋ], and Edinburgh /ˈɛd.ɪn.bər.ə/ as [ˈɛd.ɪn.brə].[i] When not followed by a vowel, /ər/ merges with /ə/ in non-rhotic accents.
  33. ^ a b i⟩ represents variation between /iː/ and /ɪ/ in unstressed prevocalic or morpheme-final positions. It is realized with a quality closer to /iː/ in accents with happy tensing, such as Australian English, General American, and modern RP, and to /ɪ/ in others. ⟨u⟩ likewise represents variation between /uː/ and /ʊ/ in unstressed prevocalic positions.
  34. ^ The sequence ⟨⟩ may be pronounced as two syllables, [i.ə] or [ɪ.ə], or as one, [jə] or [ɪə̯]. When pronounced as one syllable in a non-rhotic accent, it may be indistinguishable from, and identified as, the NEAR vowel (/ɪər/).[g] This transcription system uses ⟨⟩, not ⟨i.ə⟩, ⟨ɪə⟩, etc., to cover all these possibilities.
  35. ^ The sequence ⟨⟩ may be pronounced as two syllables, [u.ə] or [ʊ.ə], or as one, [wə] or [ʊə̯]. When pronounced as one syllable in a non-rhotic accent, it may be indistinguishable from, and identified as, the CURE vowel (/ʊər/).[g] This transcription system uses ⟨⟩, not ⟨u.ə⟩, ⟨ʊə⟩, etc., to cover all these possibilities.
  36. ^ In most dialects, /x/ can also be replaced by /k/ in most words, including loch. It is also replaced with /h/ in some words, particularly of Yiddish origin, such as Chanukah.
  37. ^ a b /ɒ̃, æ̃/ are only found in French loanwords and often replaced by another vowel and a nasal consonant: bon vivant /ˌbɒn viːˈvɒnt/, ensemble /ɒnˈsɒmbəl/, etc.[j]
  38. ^ /ɜː/ is only found in loanwords and represents a situation where such an r-less vowel is used only in British or Southern Hemisphere accents, and therefore a transcription that includes it must always be prefaced with a label indicating the variety of English. If r-ful NURSE is used in GA too, even if spelled without ⟨r⟩, as in Goethe and hors d'oeuvre, use /ɜːr/. /ɜː/ is also not the same as ⟨œ⟩ seen in some American dictionaries. ⟨œ⟩ in those dictionaries is merely a notational convention and does not correspond to any vowel in any accent of English, so a transcription containing ⟨œ⟩ cannot be converted to one that uses this key.
  39. ^ The IPA stress marks, ⟨ˈ⟩ and ⟨ˌ⟩, come before the syllable that has the stress, in contrast to stress marking in pronunciation keys of some dictionaries published in the United States.
  40. ^ Scholars disagree on how to analyze degrees of stress in English. A particular unstressed syllable with phonetic prominence or a full (unreduced) vowel is analyzed by some scholars as having secondary stress. For simplicity, we follow British rather than American English conventions, only marking secondary stress when it occurs before, not after, the primary stress.
  41. ^ 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. ^ "British English Pronunciations". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 4 September 2023.
  2. ^ Vaux, Bert; Golder, Scott (2003). "How do you pronounce Mary/merry/marry?". Harvard Dialect Survey. Harvard University Linguistics Department.
  3. ^ Flemming & Johnson (2007), pp. 91–2.
  4. ^ Wells, John (25 March 2011). "strong and weak". John Wells's phonetic blog.
  5. ^ Flemming & Johnson (2007), pp. 94–5.
  6. ^ Wells (1982), p. 601.
  7. ^ a b c Wells (1982), p. 240.
  8. ^ Windsor Lewis, Jack (10 April 2009). "The Elephant in the Room". PhonetiBlog.
  9. ^ Wells (2008), pp. 173, 799.
  10. ^ Jones (2011).
  11. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 473–6, 493, 499.
  12. ^ Stuart-Smith (2004), p. 58.
  13. ^ Corrigan (2010), pp. 33–5.
  14. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 361, 372.
  15. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 605–7.
  16. ^ Bauer et al. (2007), pp. 98–9.
  17. ^ Bauer et al. (2007), p. 98.
  18. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 351–3, 363–4.
  19. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 400, 439.
  20. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 380–1.
  21. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 612–3.
  22. ^ a b Stuart-Smith (2004), p. 56.
  23. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 304, 310–1.
  24. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 304, 312–3.
  25. ^ Stuart-Smith (2004), p. 57.


External links