Help:IPA

The latest official IPA chart, revised to 2020

Here is a basic key to the symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Several rare IPA symbols are not included. These IPA symbols are found in the main IPA article.

 

Main symbolsEdit

Symbol Examples Description
A
[a] ( listen) 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.
[ä] ( listen) Mandarin 他 tā, American English father, Spanish casa, French patte
[ɐ] ( listen) RP cut, German Kaiserslautern (In transcriptions of English, [ɐ] is usually written ⟨ʌ⟩.)
[ɑ] ( listen) RP father, French pâte, Dutch bad
[ɑ̃] ( listen) French Caen, sans, temps Nasalized [ɑ].
[ɒ] ( listen) RP cot Like [ɑ], but with the lips slightly rounded.
[ʌ] ( listen) American English cut Like [ɔ], but without the lips being rounded. (When ⟨ʌ⟩ is used for English, it may really be [ɐ] or [ɜ].)
[æ] ( listen) RP cat
B
[b] ( listen) English babble
[ɓ] ( listen) Swahili bwana Like a [b] said with a gulp. See implosive consonants.
[β] ( listen) Spanish la Bamba, Kinyarwanda abana "children", Korean 무궁화 [muɡuŋβwa̠] mugunghwa Like [b], but with the lips not quite closed.
[ʙ] ( listen) Nias simbi [siʙi] "lower jaw" Sputtering.
C
[c] ( listen) Turkish kebap "kebab", Czech stín "shadow", Greek και "and" Between English tune (RP) and cute. Sometimes used instead for [tʃ] in languages like Hindi.
[ç] ( listen) 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!".
[ɕ] ( listen) Mandarin 西安 Xi'an, Polish ściana More y-like than [ʃ]; something like English she.
[ɔ] ( listen) see under O
D
[d] ( listen) English dad
[ɗ] ( listen) Swahili Dodoma Like [d] said with a gulp.
[ɖ] ( listen) American English harder Like [d] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ð] ( listen) English the, bathe
[dz] ( listen) English adds, Italian zero
[] ( listen) English judge
[] ( listen) Polish niewiedź "bear" Like [dʒ], but with more of a y-sound.
[] ( listen) Polish em "jam" Like [dʒ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
E
[e] ( listen) Spanish fe; French clé, German Klee Similar to English hey, before the y sets in.
[ɘ] ( listen) Australian English bird
[ə] ( listen) English above, Hindi ठग [ʈʰəɡ] (thug) "thief" (Only occurs in English when not stressed.)
[ɚ] ( listen) American English runner
[ɛ] ( listen) English bet
[ɛ̃] ( listen) French Saint-Étienne, vin, main Nasalized [ɛ].
[ɜ] ( listen) RP bird (long)
[ɝ] ( listen) American English bird
F
[f] ( listen) English fun
[ɟ] ( listen) see under J
[ʄ] ( listen) see under J
G
[ɡ] ( listen) English gag (Should look like  . No different from a Latin "g")
[ɠ] ( listen) Swahili Uganda Like [ɡ] said with a gulp.
[ɢ] ( listen) Like [ɡ], but further back, in the throat. Found in Persian and some Arabic dialects for /q/, as in Muammar Gaddafi.
[ʒ] ( listen) see under Z English beige.
H
[h] ( listen) American English house
[ɦ] ( listen) English ahead, when said quickly.
[ʰ] The extra puff of air in English top [tʰɒp] compared to stop [stɒp], or to French or Spanish [t].
[ħ] ( listen) Arabic ‏مُحَمَّدMuhammad Far down in the throat, like [h], but stronger.
[ɥ] ( listen) see under Y
[ɮ] ( listen) see under L
I
[i] ( listen) English sea, French ville, Spanish Valladolid
[ɪ] ( listen) English sit
[ɨ] ( listen) Russian ты "you" Often used for unstressed English roses.
J
[j] ( listen) English yes, hallelujah, German Junge
[ʲ] In Russian Ленин [ˈlʲenʲɪn] Indicates a sound is more y-like.
[ʝ] ( listen) Spanish cayo (some dialects) Like [j], but stronger.
[ɟ] ( listen) Turkish gör "see", Czech díra "hole" Between English dew (RP) and argue. Sometimes used instead for [dʒ] in languages like Hindi.
[ʄ] ( listen) Swahili jambo Like [ɟ] said with a gulp.
K
[k] ( listen) English kick, skip
L
[l] ( listen) English leaf
[ɫ] ( listen) English wool
Russian малый [ˈmɑɫɨj] "small"
"Dark" el.
[ɬ] ( listen) 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.
[ɭ] ( listen) Like [l] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ɺ] A flapped [l], like [l] and [ɾ] said together.
[ɮ] ( listen) Zulu dla "eat" Rather like [l] and [ʒ], or [l] and [ð], said together.
[ʟ] ( listen)
M
[m] ( listen) English mime
[ɱ] ( listen) English symphony Like [m], but lips touch teeth as they do in [f].
[ɯ] ( listen) see under W
[ʍ] ( listen) see under W
N
[n] ( listen) English nun
[ŋ] ( listen) English sing, Māori nga
[ɲ] ( listen) Spanish Peña, French champagne Rather like English canyon (/nj/ said quickly).
[ɳ] ( listen) Hindi वरुण [ʋəruɳ] Varuna Like [n] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ɴ] ( listen) Castilian Spanish Don Juan [doɴˈχwan] Like [ŋ], but further back, in the throat.
O
[o] ( listen) Spanish no, French eau, German Boden Somewhat reminiscent of American English no.
[ɔ] ( listen) German Oldenburg, French Garonne
[ɔ̃] ( listen) French Lyon, son Nasalized [ɔ].
[ø] ( listen) French feu, bœufs, German Goethe Like [e], but with the lips rounded like [o].
[ɵ] ( listen) 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 ⟨ʏ⟩ or ⟨œ⟩, whereas the French vowel is typically transcribed with ⟨ə⟩.
[œ] ( listen) French bœuf, seul, German Göttingen Like [ɛ], but with the lips rounded like [ɔ].
[œ̃] ( listen) French brun, parfum Nasalized [œ].
[ɶ] ( listen)
[θ] ( listen) see under Others
[ɸ] ( listen) see under Others
P
[p] ( listen) English pip
Q
[q] ( listen) Arabic ‏قُرْآنQur’ān Like [k], but further back, in the throat.
R
[r] ( listen) Spanish perro, Scots borrow "Rolled R". (Often used for other rhotics, such as English [ɹ], when there's no ambiguity.)
[ɾ] ( listen) Spanish pero, Tagalog daliri, Malay kabar, American English kitty/kiddie "Flapped R".
[ʀ] ( listen) Dutch rood and German rot (some speakers) A trill in the back of the throat. Found for /r/ in some conservative registers of French.
[ɽ] ( listen) Hindi साड़ी [sɑːɽiː] "sari" Like flapped [ɾ], but with the tongue curled back.
[ɹ] ( listen) RP borrow
[ɻ] ( listen) 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.
[ʁ] ( listen) French Paris, German Riemann (some dialects) Said back in the throat, but not trilled.
S
[s] ( listen) English sass
[ʃ] ( listen) English shoe
[ʂ] ( listen) Mandarin 少林 (Shàolín), Russian Пушкин (Pushkin) Acoustically similar to [ʃ], but with the tongue curled or pulled back.
T
[t] ( listen) English tot, stop
[ʈ] ( listen) Hindi ठग [ʈʰəɡ] (thug) "thief" Like [t], but with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ts] ( listen) English cats, Russian царь tsar
[] ( listen) English church
[] ( listen) Mandarin 北京 Běijīng ( listen), Polish ciebie "you" Like [tʃ], but with more of a y-sound.
[] ( listen) Mandarin 真正 zhēnzhèng, Polish czas Like [tʃ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
U
[u] ( listen) American English food, French vous "you", German Schumacher
[ʊ] ( listen) English foot, German Bundesrepublik
[ʉ] ( listen) Australian English food (long) Like [ɨ], but with the lips rounded as for [u].
[ɥ] ( listen) see under Y
[ɯ] ( listen) see under W
V
[v] ( listen) English verve
[ʋ] ( listen) 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.
[ɤ] ( listen) see under Y
[ɣ] ( listen) see under Y
[ʌ] ( listen) see under A
W
[w] ( listen) English wow
[ʷ] Indicates a sound has lip rounding, as in English rain
[ʍ] ( listen) what (some dialects) like [h] and [w] said together
[ɯ] ( listen) Turkish kayık "caïque", Scottish Gaelic gaol Like [u], but with the lips flat; something like [ʊ].
[ɰ] ( listen) Spanish agua Like [w], but with the lips flat.
X
[x] ( listen) Scottish English loch, German Bach, Russian хороший [xɐˈroʂɨj] "good", Spanish joven between [k] and [h]
[χ] ( listen) 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
[y] ( listen) French rue, German Bülow Like [i], but with the lips rounded as for [u].
[ʏ] ( listen) German Düsseldorf Like [ɪ], but with the lips rounded as for [ʊ].
[ɣ] ( listen) Arabic ‏غَالِيghālī and Swahili ghali "expensive", Spanish suegro Sounds rather like French [ʁ] or between [ɡ] and [h].
[ɤ] ( listen) Mandarin 河南 Hénán, Scottish Gaelic taigh Like [o] but without the lips rounded, something like a cross of [ʊ] and [ʌ].
[ʎ] ( listen) Italian tagliatelle Like [l], but more y-like. Rather like English volume.
[ɥ] ( listen) French lui Like [j] and [w] said together.
Z
[z] ( listen) English zoo
[ʒ] ( listen) English vision, French journal
[ʑ] ( listen) old-styled Russian позже [ˈpoʑːe] "later", Polish źle More y-like than [ʒ], something like beigey.
[ʐ] ( listen) Russian жир "fat" Like [ʒ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ɮ] ( listen) see under L
Others
[θ] ( listen) English thigh, bath
[ɸ] ( listen) Japanese 富士 [ɸɯdʑi] Fuji, Māori [ˌɸaːɾeːˈnuiː] wharenui Like [p], but with the lips not quite touching
[ʔ] ( listen) 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].
[ʕ] ( listen) Arabic ‏عَرَبِيّʻarabī "Arabic" A light, voiced sound deep in the throat, articulated with the root of the tongue against the pharynx (back of the throat).
[ǀ] ( listen) 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.
[ǁ] ( listen) 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.
[ǃ] ( listen) 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].
[ʘ] ( listen) ǂ’Amkoe ʘoa "two" Like a kissing sound.
[ǂ] ( listen) Khoekhoe ǂgā-amǃnâ [ǂàʔám̀ᵑǃã̀] "to put in the mouth" Like an imitation of a chewing sound.

Marks added to lettersEdit

Several marks can be added above, below, before or after letters. The complete list is shown at International Phonetic Alphabet § Diacritics and prosodic notation.

Symbol Example
Signs above a letter
[ã] French vin blanc [vɛ̃ blɑ̃] "white wine"
[ä] Portuguese vá [vä] "go"
Signs below a letter
[a̯] English cow [kʰaʊ̯], koi [kʰɔɪ̯]
[n̥] English boy [b̥ɔɪ̯], doe [d̥oʊ̯]

(see also)

[n̩] English button
[d̪] Spanish dos, French deux
Signs next to a letter
[kʰ] English come
[k’] Zulu ukuza "come"
[aː] English shh! [ʃː]
[aˑ] RP caught [ˈkʰɔˑt]
[ˈa] pronunciation

[pɹ̥əʊ̯ˌnɐnsiˈeɪʃn̩]
[ˌa]
[.] English courtship [ˈkʰɔrt.ʃɪp]

Computer input using on-screen keyboardEdit

Online IPA keyboard utilities are available.


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

Related pagesEdit

Other websitesEdit