Pronunciation of English words in Wikipedia is most often given in the International Phonetic Alphabet, or IPA. The goal is that interpretation should not depend on the reader's dialect, and therefore a broad transcription is generally used.
Since this key covers standard British, and Australian pronunciations, not all of the distinctions shown here will be important to your language. If, for example, you pronounce cot and caught the same, you can ignore the difference between the symbols /ɒ/ and /ɔː/. In many dialects /r/ occurs only before a vowel; if you speak such a language, simply ignore /r/ in the pronunciation guides where you would not pronounce it.
This key does not encode the difference between the vowels of bad and lad in Australian English, nor between fir, fur, and fern in Scottish English.
For better use of the IPA to show the differences between English dialects, to transcribe languages other than English, or if the IPA symbols are not displayed on your browser, see the links at the bottom of this page.
Readers unfamiliar with IPA may be helped by en:Pronunciation respelling for English.
|IPA: Marginal Sounds|
|m̥||mm-(m̥)mm [to indicate paying attention during a conversation]|
|IPA: Other symbols used in transcription of English pronunciation|
|ˈ||Primary stress (placed before the stressed syllable), for example rapping /ˈɹæpɪŋ/|
|ˌ||Secondary stress, for example battleship /ˈbætl̩ˌʃɪp/|
|.||Syllable separator, for example plankton /ˈplæŋk.tən/|
|̩||Syllabic consonant, for example ridden /ˈɹɪdn̩/|
- Although the IPA symbol [r] represents a trill, /r/ is widely used instead of /ɹ/ in broad transcriptions of English.
- /ʍ/ is found in some dialects, such as Scottish and Southern American English; elsewhere people use /w/.
- A number of English words, such as genre and garage, are cited as being pronounced with either /ʒ/ or /dʒ/.
- American convention is to write /i/ when unstressed and preceding a vowel or word boundary, as in wiki /ˈwɪki/ and serious /ˈsɪriəs/; British convention used to be /ˈwɪkɪ/ and /ˈsɪərɪəs/, but the OED and other influential dictionaries recently converted to /i/.
- Commonly transcribed /əʊ/ or /oː/.
- In many dialects, /juː/ is pronounced the same as /uː/ after "tongue sounds" (/t/, /d/, /s/, /z/, /n/, /θ/, and /l/), so that dew /djuː/ is pronounced the same as do /duː/.
- In many dialects, /r/ occurs only before vowels. Note that due to American influence, the schwas have been left out in many Wikipedia articles. That is, /ɪər/ etc. are not always distinguished from /ɪr/ etc. When they are, the long vowels may be transcribed /iːr/ etc. by analogy with vowels not followed by /r/.
- In some articles these are transcribed /ɝː/ and /ɚ/ when not followed by a vowel.
- Few British dictionaries distinguish this from /ɪ/, though the OED now uses the pseudo-IPA symbol ɪ̵.
- To compare these symbols with dictionary conventions you may be more familiar with, see Pronunciation respelling for English, which lists the pronunciation guides of fourteen English dictionaries.
- For differences among national dialects of English, see the IPA chart for English, which compares the vowels of Received Pronunciation, General American, Australian English, New Zealand English, and Scottish English.
- For use of the IPA in other languages, see Help:IPA for a quick overview, or the detailed IPA article.
- If your browser does not display these symbols, you probably need to install a font that includes the IPA. A good free IPA font is Gentium; download links can be found on that page.
- For adding pronunciation to Wikipedia articles, see Template:IPA/doc.