Help:International Phonetic Alphabet
Below 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 for English. Several rare IPA symbols are not included; these are found in the main IPA article. For the Manual of Style guideline for pronunciation, see 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, German, and Spanish. For symbols not covered by those, recourse is taken to the populous languages Mandarin Chinese, Hindustani, Arabic, and Russian. For sounds still not covered, other smaller but well-known languages are used, such as Swahili, Turkish, and Zulu.
The left-hand column displays the symbols like this: Template:Audio-pipe. Click on the speaker icon to hear the sound; click on the symbol itself for a dedicated article with a more complete description and examples from multiple languages. All the sounds are spoken more than once, and the consonant sounds are spoken once followed by a vowel and once between vowels.
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.
|Template:Audio-pipe||Mandarin 他 tā, German Mann||For many English speakers, the first part of the ow sound in cow. Found in some dialects of English in cat or father.|
|[ ä ]||Spanish casa, French patte|
|Template:Audio-pipe||German Aachen, French gare||Long [a].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||RP cut, German Kaiserslautern||(With English, [ɐ] is normally written "[ʌ]".)|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Finnish Linna, Dutch bad|
|Template:Audio-pipe||RP father, French pâte||Long [ɑ].|
|[ ɑ̃ ]||French Caen, sans, temps||Nasalized [ɑ].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||RP cot||Like [ɑ], but with the lips slightly rounded.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Like [ɔ], but without the lips being rounded. (When "[ʌ]" is used for English, it may really be [ɐ] or [ɜ].)|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Swahili bwana||Like a [b] said with a gulp.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Like the brrr sound made when cold.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Spanish la Bamba, Kinyarwanda abana "children"||Like [b], but with the lips not quite touching.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||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:Audio-pipe||German Ich||More y-like 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:Audio-pipe||Mandarin Xi'an, Polish ściana||More y-like than [ʃ]; something like English she.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||see under O|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Swahili Dodoma||Like [d] said with a gulp.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||American English harder||Like [d] with the tongue curled or pulled back.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||English the, bathe|
|Template:Audio-pipeTemplate:Ref||English adze, Italian zero|
|Template:Audio-pipeTemplate:Ref||Polish niedźwiedź "bear"||Like [dʒ], but with more of a y-sound.|
|Template:Audio-pipeTemplate:Ref||Polish dżem "jam"||Like [dʒ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Spanish fe; French clé|
|Template:Audio-pipe||German Klee||Long [e]. Similar to English hey, before the y sets in.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||English above, Hindi ठग [ʈʰəɡ] (thug) "thief"||(Only occurs in English when not stressed.)|
|[ ɚ ]||American English runner|
|[ ɛ̃ ]||French Agen, vin, main; Polish mięso||Nasalized [ɛ].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||RP bird (long)|
|[ ɝ ]||American English bird|
|Template:Audio-pipe||see under J|
|Template:Audio-pipe||see under J|
|Template:Audio-pipe||English gag||(Should look like . No different from a Latin "g")|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Swahili Uganda||Like [ɡ] said with a gulp.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Like [ɡ], but further back, in the throat. Found in Persian and some Arabic dialects for /q/, as in Gaddafi.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||see under Z||English beige.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||American English house|
|Template:Audio-pipe||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].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Arabic محمد Muhammad||Far down in the throat, like [h], but stronger.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||see under U|
|[ ɮ ]||see under L|
|Template:Audio-pipe||French ville, Spanish Valladolid|
|Template:Audio-pipe||English sea||Long [i].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Russian ты "you"||Often used for unstressed English roses.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||English yes, hallelujah, German Junge|
|[ ʲ ]||Russian Ленин [ˈlʲenʲɪn]||Indicates a sound is more y-like.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Spanish cayo (some dialects)||Like [j], but stronger.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Turkish gör "see", Czech díra "hole"||Between English dew (RP) and argue. Sometimes used instead for [dʒ] in languages like Hindi.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Swahili jambo||Like [ɟ] said with a gulp.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||English kick, skip|
Russian малый [ˈmɑɫɨj] "small"
|Template:Audio-pipe||Welsh llwyd [ɬʊɪd] "grey"
Zulu hlala [ɬaːla] "sit"
|Rather like [l] and [ʃ] or [l] and [θ] said together. Found in Welsh names like Lloyd and Llywelyn and Nelson Mandela's Xhosa name Rolihlahla.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Like [l] with the tongue curled or pulled back.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||A flapped [l], like [l] and [ɾ] said together.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Zulu dla "eat"||Rather like [l] and [ʒ], or [l] and [ð], said together.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||English symphony||Like [m], but lips touch teeth as they do in [f].|
|[ ɯ ]||see under W|
|Template:Audio-pipe||see under W|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Spanish Peña, French champagne||Rather like English canyon.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Hindi वरुण [ʋəruɳ] Varuna||Like [n] with the tongue curled or pulled back.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Castilian Spanish Don Juan [doɴˈχwan]||Like [ŋ], but further back, in the throat.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Spanish no, French eau|
|Template:Audio-pipe||German Boden, French Vosges||Long [o]. Somewhat reminiscent of English no.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||German Oldenburg, French Garonne|
|Template:Audio-pipe||RP law, French Limoges||Long [ɔ].|
|[ ɔ̃ ]||French Lyon, son; Polish wąż||Nasalized [ɔ].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||French feu, bœufs||Like [e], but with the lips rounded like [o].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||German Goethe, French Deûle, neutre||Long [ø].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Swedish dum||Halfway between [o] and [ø]. Similar to [ʊ] but with the tongue slightly more down and front.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||French bœuf, seul, German Göttingen||Like [ɛ], but with the lips rounded like [ɔ].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||French œuvre, heure||Long [œ].|
|[ œ̃ ]||French brun, parfum||Nasalized [œ].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||see under other|
|Template:Audio-pipe||see under other|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Arabic Qur’ān||Like [k], but further back, in the throat.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Spanish perro, Scots borrow||"Rolled R". (Generally used for English [ɹ] when there's no need to be precise.)|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Spanish pero, Tagalog daliri, Malay kabar, American English kitty/kiddie||"Flapped R".|
|Template:Audio-pipe||A trill in the back of the throat. Found for /r/ in some conservative registers of French.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Hindi साड़ी [sɑːɽiː] "sari"||Like flapped [ɾ], but with the tongue curled back.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||American English borrow, butter||Like [ɹ], but with the tongue curled or pulled back, as pronounced by many English speakers.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||French Paris, German Riemann||Said back in the throat, but not trilled.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Mandarin 少林 (Shàolín), Russian Пушкин (Pushkin)||Acoustically similar to [ʃ], but with the tongue curled or pulled back.
|Template:Audio-pipe||English tot, stop|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Hindi ठग [ʈʰəɡ] (thug) "thief"||Like [t], but with the tongue curled or pulled back.|
|Template:Audio-pipeTemplate:Ref||English cats, Russian царь tsar|
|Template:Audio-pipe Template:Ref||English church|
|Template:Audio-pipeTemplate:Ref||Mandarin 北京 Template:Audio-pipe, Polish ciebie "you"||Like [tʃ], but with more of a y-sound.|
|Template:Audio-pipeTemplate:Ref||Mandarin zh, Polish czas||Like [tʃ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||French vous "you"|
|Template:Audio-pipe||French Rocquencourt, German Schumacher, close to RP food||Long [u].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||English foot, German Bundesrepublik|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Australian English food (long)||Like [ɨ], but with the lips rounded as for [u].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||French lui||Like [j] and [w] said together.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||see under W|
|Template:Audio-pipe||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:Audio-pipe||Arabic / Swahili ghali "expensive", Spanish suegro||Sounds rather like French [ʁ] or between [g] and [h].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Mandarin Hénán||Like [o] but without the lips rounded, something like a cross of [ʊ] and [ʌ].|
|[ ʌ ]||see under A|
|[ ʷ ]||English rain [ɹʷeɪn]||Indicates a sound has lip rounding, quick.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||what (some dialects)||like [h] and [w] said together|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Turkish kayık "caïque"||Like [u], but with the lips flat; something like [ʊ].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Scottish English loch, German Bach, Russian хороший [xɐˈroʂɨj] "good", Spanish joven||between [k] and [h]|
|Template:Audio-pipe||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].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||French rue||Like [i], but with the lips rounded as for [u].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||German Bülow, French sûr||Long [y].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||German Eisenhüttenstadt||Like [ɪ], but with the lips rounded as for [ʊ].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Italian tagliatelle||Like [l], but more y-like. Rather like English volume.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||see under U|
|Template:Audio-pipe||see under V|
|[ ɣ ]||see under V|
|Template:Audio-pipe||English vision, French journal|
|Template:Audio-pipe||formal Russian жжёшь [ʑːoʂ] "you burn", Polish źle||More y-like than [ʒ], something like beigey.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Mandarin 人民日报 Rénmín Rìbào "People's Daily", Russian жир "fat"||Like [ʒ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.|
|[ ɮ ]||see under L|
|Template:Audio-pipe||English thigh, bath|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Japanese 富士 [ɸɯdʑi] Fuji, Māori [ˌɸaːɾeː'nuiː] wharenui||Like [p], but with the lips not quite touching|
|Template:Audio-pipe||English uh-oh, Hawai‘i, 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 [ˌdeɪəsˌʔɛksˈmɑːkɨnə]; in some nonstandard dialects, in a apple [ʌˈʔæpl̩].|
|Template:Audio-pipe||Arabic عربي (carabī) "Arabic"||A light sound deep in the throat.|
|Template:Audio-pipe||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:Audio-pipe||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:Audio-pipe||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 ].|
Note: dNote: tThese symbols are officially written with a tie linking them (e.g. t͡ʃ), and are also sometimes written as single characters (e.g. ʧ) though the latter convention is no longer official. They are written without ligatures here to ensure correct display in all browsers.
All diacritics are here shown on a carrier letter such as the vowel a.
|[ ˈa ]||pronunciation
|Main stress. The mark denotes the stress of the following syllable.|
|[ ˌa ]||Weaker stress. The mark denotes the stress of the following syllable.|
|[ 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].)|
|[ 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].)|
|[ ã ]||French vin blanc [vɛ̃blɑ̃] "white wine"||A nasal vowel, as with a Texas twang.|
|[ n̥ ]||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.|
|[ kʰ ]||English come||Aspirated consonant, pronounced with a puff of air. Similarly [tʰ pʰ tsʰ tʃʰ tɕʰ].|
|[ k’ ]||Zulu ukuza "come"||Like a popped [k], pushed from the throat. Similarly [tʼ pʼ qʼ tʃʼ tsʼ tɬʼ].|
|[ á ]||Mandarin 妈妈 [mámā] "mother"||High tone (Pinyin: mā)||Careful!
The Pinyin Romanization used for Mandarin has these same diacritics, but with different values.
However, Thai Romanization uses them the way the IPA does.
|[ ā ]||Mandarin 妈妈 [mámā] "mother"||Mid tone (Pinyin: ma).|
|[ à ]||Mandarin 马的 [màdɤ] "horse's"||Low tone (Pinyin: mǎ).|
|[ â ]||Mandarin 骂 [mâ] "scold"||Falling tone (Pinyin: mà).|
|[ ǎ ]||Mandarin 麻 [mǎ] "hemp"||Rising tone (Pinyin: má).|
|[ . ]||English courtship [ˈkɔrt.ʃɪp]||Syllable break. (this is often redundant and therefore left off)|
Two types of brackets are commonly used to enclose transcriptions in the IPA:
- /Slashes/ indicate those meaningful sounds in a pronunciation that are most prominently and broadly distinguished as the basic sounds of a language by its own native speakers; these are called phonemes. Changing the symbols between slashes would either change the identity of the word or produce nonsense. Since there is no meaningful difference to a native speaker between the two letter ‹l› sounds 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 bomba is transcribed phonemically with two instances of the same single b sound, /laˈbomba/. 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 other languages that differentiate between the sounds [l] and [ɫ], though a native English speaker will likely not hear the two as different (since in English they are both regarded as phonetic variations—allophones—of the same /l/ phoneme). Likewise, Spanish la bomba has two unique ‹b› sounds to the ears of foreigners or linguists—[laˈβomba]—though a native Spanish speaker might not be able to hear it. Omitting or adding such detail does not make any difference to the identity of the word, but helps to give a more precise pronunciation, usually regarding a specific dialect of a language.
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//.
- ⟨Angle brackets⟩ may be used to represent the orthographic representation: ⟨lulls⟩, ⟨la bomba⟩, though these are not supported on all computers. To get around this technical limitation, ‹chevrons› are also used; in addition, because they're easier to type, the less-than and greater-than signs (< >) that appear on most keyboards are commonly used for this purpose.
Voiced velar plosive
These two characters should look similar:
If in the box to the left you see the symbol 12px rather than a lower-case open-tail g, you may be experiencing a well-known bug in the font MS Reference Sans Serif or other; switching to Lucida Sans Unicode or Arial Unicode should fix it.
On your current font: [ɡ].
Affricates and double articulation
The tie bar is intended to cover both letters of an affricate or doubly articulated consonant. However, if your browser uses Arial Unicode MS to display IPA characters, the following incorrectly formed sequences may look better than the correct order (letter, tie bar, letter) due to a bug in that font:
- ts͡, tʃ͡, tɕ͡, dz͡, dʒ͡, dʑ͡, tɬ͡, kp͡, ɡb͡, ŋm͡.
Here is how the proper configuration displays in your default font:
- t͡s, d͡z, t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ, t͡ɕ, d͡ʑ, t͡ɬ, k͡p, ɡ͡b, ŋ͡m,
and in other several fonts: Template:MFSample
True angle brackets, ⟨ ⟩, are unsupported by several common fonts, and so have been replaced by ‹ › or < > in most project pages. However,
- ^ Because < > are used in html, they may trigger an html element. For example, <i> on a web page would not show up as such but would instead italicize text that followed. This can be avoided by writing < or < or <nowiki><</nowiki> instead of <.
- IPA charts for diphthongs in various languages
- Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation)#Entering IPA characters