The International Phonetic Alphabet, or IPA, is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin alphabet. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association as a standardized representation of the sounds of spoken language.[1]

The following tables present pulmonic and non-pulmonic consonants. In the IPA, a pulmonic consonant is a consonant made by obstructing the glottis (the space between the vocal cords) or oral cavity (the mouth) and either simultaneously or subsequently letting out air from the lungs. Pulmonic consonants make up the majority of consonants in the IPA, as well as in human language. All consonants in the English language fall into this category.[2]

In the audio samples below, the consonants are pronounced with [ä] for demonstration.

Pulmonic consonants

Non-pulmonic consonants

The following are the non-pulmonic consonants. They are sounds whose airflow is not dependent on the lungs. These include clicks (found in the Khoisan languages and some neighboring Bantu languages of Africa), implosives (found in languages such as Sindhi, Hausa, Swahili and Vietnamese), and ejectives (found in many Amerindian and Caucasian languages). Ejectives occur in about 20% of the world's languages, implosives in roughly 13%, and clicks in very few.[3]

See also


  1. ^ International Phonetic Association. (1999). Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ Fromkin, Victoria; Rodman, Robert (1998) [1974]. An Introduction to Language (6th ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College Publishers. ISBN 0-03-018682-X.
  3. ^ Ladefoged, Peter (2001). Vowels and consonants : an introduction to the sounds of languages. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-21411-9. OCLC 43434745.