International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects
See Pronunciation respelling for English for phonetic transcriptions used in different dictionaries.
This chart gives a partial system of diaphonemes for English. The symbols for the diaphonemes are given in bold, followed by their most common phonetic values. For the vowels, a separate phonetic value is given for each major dialect, and words used to name corresponding lexical sets are also given. The diaphonemes and lexical sets given here are based on RP and General American; they are not sufficient to express all of the distinctions found in other dialects, such as Australian English.
|p||pʰ, p||pen, spin, tip|
|b||b, b̥||but, web|
|t||tʰ, t, ɾ, ʔ||two, sting, bet|
|d||d, d̥, ɾ||do, daddy, odd|
|tʃ||t͡ʃʰ, t͡ʃ||chair, nature, teach|
|dʒ||d͡ʒ, d͜ʒ̊||gin, joy, edge|
|k||kʰ, k||cat, kill, skin, queen, unique, thick|
|ɡ||ɡ, ɡ̊||go, get, beg|
|f||f||fool, enough, leaf, off, photo|
|v||v, v̥||voice, have, of|
|θ||θ, t̪||thing, teeth|
|ð||ð, ð̥, d̪||this, breathe, father|
|s||s||see, city, pass|
|z||z, z̥||zoo, rose|
|ʃ||ʃ||she, sure, session, emotion, leash|
|ʒ||ʒ, ʒ̊||genre, pleasure, beige, equation, seizure|
|h||h, ɦ, ç||ham, hue|
|m||m, ɱ||man, ham|
|ŋ||ŋ||ringer, sing, finger, drink|
|l||l, ɫ, l̥, ɫ̥, ɤ w, o, ʊ||left, bell, sable, please|
|r||ɹʷ, ɹ, ɾ, ɻ, ɹ̥ʷ, ɹ̥, ɾ̥, ɻ̊, ʋ||run, very, probably|
|w||w, w̥||we, queen|
|x||x, χ, k, kʰ, h, ɦ, ç||loch (Scottish), ugh|
|æ~a,||æ, eə~ɛə||æ~ɛ||æ~a||ɛ||æ~a||ɐ̟||a~æ~ɛ||ɛ||a||TRAP||lad, bad, cat|
|ɑː / æ||ɐː||äː||ɐː||ɑː||äː~ɑː~
|ä||BATH||pass, path, sample|
|ɒ / ɔː||ɒ~ɔ~ɑ||ɒ̈~ʌ̈,
|CLOTH||off, loss, cloth, long, dog, chocolate|
|ɔː||oː||ɒː||ɔː||oː||o̞ː||ɔː~oː||ɒː||THOUGHT||law, caught, all, halt, talk|
|ɪ||ɪ||ɪ||ɪ~ə~ʌ||ɪ~i, ə||i, ɪ||ɪ||KIT||sit|
|ei||day, pain, whey, rein|
|ɚː, ɛɹ||ɛɾ||herd, earth|
|ər||ə(ɹ)||ə(ɾ)||ɚ||ɘ(ɹ)||ə(ɹ)||əɾ||ə(ɹ)||ə(ɾ)||LETTER||winner, donor, massacre|
|ʌ||ɐ||ʌ̈~ɜ̞~ɐ̝||ə~ɜ||ɞ~ʊ||ɐ||ə ~ ʌ ~ ɑ||ʌ||ɐ~ä||ä||ə~ɜ||STRUT||run, won, flood|
|ju||cute, dew, ewe|
|ɑɪ̯||äɪ̯||my, wise, high|
|ɔɪ||oɪ̯||ɔɪ̯||ɔɪ̯~oɪ̯||ɒɪ̯||ɒɪ̯~oɪ̯, äɪ̯||oɪ̯||oɪ̯||oi̯||ɔɪ̯~ɒɪ̯||ɔi̯||ɒi̯||CHOICE||boy, hoist|
|o||oː||GOAT||no, toe, soap|
|ɔʊ̯||oə̯~oʊ̯||ɔʊ̯||ɒʊ̯~ɔʊ̯||soul, roll, cold|
|ɛ(ɹ)||ɛː(ɾ)||SQUARE||mare, there, bear|
|oːɹ||o̝ɾ||oː(ɾ)||FORCE||tore, boar, port|
|ˈ||Primary stress indicator (placed before the stressed syllable); for example, rapping /ˈræpɪŋ/|
|ˌ||Secondary stress/full vowel indicator (placed before the stressed syllable); for example, pronunciation /prəˌnʌnsiˈeɪʃən/|
|.||Syllable separation indicator; for example, ice cream /ˈaɪs.kriːm/ vs. I scream /ˌaɪ.ˈskriːm/|
|̩||̍||Syllabic consonant indicator (placed under the syllabic consonant); for example, ridden [ˈɹɪdn̩]|
- This is a compromise IPA transcription, which covers most dialects of English.
- /t/ is pronounced [ɾ] in some positions in GA and Australian English, and is possible in RP in words like butter, [ʔ] in some positions in Scottish English, English English, American English and Australian English, and [t̞] non-initially in Irish English.
- /d/ is pronounced [ɾ] if preceded and followed by vowels in GA and Australian English.
- /θ/ is pronounced as a dental stop [t̪] in Irish English, Newfoundland English, Indian English, and New York English, merges with /f/ in some varieties of English English, and merges with /t/ in some varieties of Caribbean English. The dental stop [t̪] also occurs in other dialects as an allophone of /θ/.
- /ð/ is pronounced as a dental stop [d̪] in Irish English, Newfoundland English, Indian English, and New York English, merges with /v/ in some varieties of English English, and merges with /d/ in some varieties of Caribbean English. [d̪] also occurs in other dialects as an allophone of /ð/.
- The glottal fricative /h/ is often pronounced as voiced [ɦ] between vowel sounds and after voiced consonants.
- /h/ is pronounced [ç] before the palatal approximant /j/, and sometimes before high front vowels.
- The bilabial nasal /m/ is pronounced as labiodental [ɱ] before f and v, as in symphony [ˈsɪɱfəni], circumvent [ˌsɝkəɱˈvɛnt], some value [ˌsʌɱˈvæɫjuː].
- In some dialects, such as Brummie, words like ringer, sing /ˈɹɪŋə ˈsɪŋ/, which have a velar nasal [ŋ] in most dialects, are pronounced with an additional /ɡ/, like "finger": /ˈɹɪŋɡə/.
- Velarized [ɫ] traditionally does not occur in Irish English; clear or plain [l] does not occur in Australian, New Zealand, Scottish, or American English. RP, some other English accents, and South African English, however, have clear [l] in syllable onsets and dark [ɫ] in syllable rimes.
- Sonorants are voiceless after a fortis (voiceless) stop at the beginning of a stressed syllable.
- L-vocalization in which l is pronounced as [ɤ] is prevalent in Standard Singapore English.
- L-vocalization in which l is pronounced as [w], [o], and [ʊ] occurs in New Zealand English and many regional accents not included in the chart, such as Cockney, New York English, Estuary English, Pittsburgh English, and African-American Vernacular English.
- /r/ is pronounced as a tap [ɾ] in some varieties of Scottish and Irish English.
- R-labialization, in which r is pronounced as [ʋ], is found in some accents in Southern England.
- Some dialects, such as Scottish English, Irish English, and many American South and New England dialects, distinguish voiceless [ʍ] from voiced [w]; see wine–whine merger and voiceless labiovelar approximant.
- Marginal in most accents, and otherwise merged with /k/, see Lock–loch merger.
- This common English interjection is usually pronounced with [x] in unscripted spoken English, but it is most often read /ʌɡ/ or /ʌk/
- Harrington, Cox & Evans (1997)
- Cox & Palethorpe (2007)
- Boberg (2004)
- Kenyon & Knott (1953)
- Kenyon (1950)
- Mannell, Cox & Harrington (2009)
- Sailaja (2009:19–26)
- Wells (1982:422)
- Bauer et al. (2007:97–102)
- Roach (2004:241–243)
- "Case Studies – Received Pronunciation Phonology – RP Vowel Sounds". British Library.
- Scobbie, Gordeeva & Matthews (2006:7)
- Bekker (2008)
- Lass (2002:111–119)
- Coupland & Thomas (1990:93–136)
- See bad–lad split for this distinction.
- In most of the United States (with high dialectal variation), and to a lesser degree in Canada, special /æ/ tensing systems occur.
- Suzanna Bet Hashim and Brown, Adam (2000) 'The [e] and [æ] vowels in Singapore English'. In Adam Brown, David Deterding and Low Ee Ling (eds.) The English Language in Singapore: Research on Pronunciation, Singapore: Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics ISBN 981-04-2598-8, pp. 84–92.
- Often transcribed /a/ for RP, for example in dictionaries of the Oxford University Press.
- Deterding, David (2007). Singapore English. United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 24–26. ISBN 978 0 7486 3096 7.
- ɒ~ɔ occurs in American accents without the cot–caught merger (about half of today's speakers); the rest have ɑ.
- In American accents without the cot–caught merger, the LOT vowel (generally written o) appears as ɒ~ɔ instead of ɑ before the fricatives /f/, /θ/ and /s/ and the velar nasal /ŋ/; also usually before /ɡ/, especially in single-syllable words (dog, log, frog, etc.), and occasionally before /k/ (as in chocolate). See Lot–cloth split. In American accents with the cot–caught merger (about half of today's speakers), only ɑ occurs.
- It is not clear whether this a true phonemic split, since the distribution of the two sounds is predictable; see Kit–bit split.
- Deterding, David (2000) 'Measurements of the /eɪ/ and /oʊ/ vowels of young English speakers in Singapore'. In Adam Brown, David Deterding and Low Ee Ling (eds.), The English Language in Singapore: Research on Pronunciation, Singapore: Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics, pp. 93–99.
- Mary W.J. Tay (1982). "'The phonology of educated Singapore English'". English World-Wide. "3" ("2"): 135–45. doi:10.1075/eww.3.2.02tay.
- Often transcribed /e/ for RP, for example in Collins English Dictionary.
- See Fern–fir–fur merger for this distinction in some varieties.
- Sometimes transcribed for GA as [əɹ], especially in transcriptions that represent both rhotic and non-rhotic pronunciations, as [ə(ɹ)].
- The STRUT vowel in BrE is highly variable in the triangle defined by ə, ʌ and ɑ, see 'STRUT for Dummies'
- In Welsh English, you, yew and ewe are /juː/, /jɪu/ and /ɪu/ respectively; in most other varieties of English they are homophones.
- Some dialects of North American English have a vowel shift called Canadian raising, in which the first element of the diphthongs /aɪ, aʊ/ is raised in certain cases, yielding [ʌɪ̯, ʌʊ̯] or [əɪ̯, əʊ̯]. Canadian English has raising of both diphthongs, but most dialects in the United States only have raising of /aɪ/. In monosyllables, raising occurs before voiceless consonants, so right [ɹʌɪ̯t] and out [ʌʊ̯t] have raised vowels, but eyes [aɪz] and loud [laʊd] do not.
- Merging NEAR and SQUARE is especially common amongst young New Zealanders.
- While the actual pronunciation is [ɛə(ɹ) ~ ɛː(ɹ)], it can also be transcribed /eə(ɹ)/.
- Roach (2004) notes that many people in England use [oː] for this vowel, but also that RP traditionally distinguishes between maw /mɔː/ and moor /mʊə/, tore /tɔː/ and tour /tʊə/, as well as paw /pɔː/ and poor /pʊə/. If one wishes to make that distinction today it would be best to use /ɵː/ instead of /ʊə/. This will lead to tore as /toː/ and tour as /tɵː/.
- Bauer, Laurie; Warren, Paul; Bardsley, Dianne; Kennedy, Marianna; Major, George (2007), "New Zealand English", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 37 (1): 97–102, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002830
- Boberg, Charles (2004). "English in Canada: phonology". In Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Kortmann, Bernd; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive. A Handbook of Varieties of English. Volume 1: Phonology. Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 351–365. ISBN 978-3-11-017532-5.
- Bekker, Ian (2008). "The vowels of South African English" (PDF).
- Coupland, Nikolas; Thomas, Alan R., eds. (1990), English in Wales: Diversity, Conflict, and Change, Multilingual Matters Ltd., ISBN 1-85359-032-0
- Gimson, A. C. (1980). An Introduction to the Pronunciation of English (3rd ed.). London: Edward Arnold. ISBN 0-7131-6287-2.
- Harrington, J.; Cox, F.; Evans, Z. (1997). "An acoustic phonetic study of broad, general, and cultivated Australian English vowels". Australian Journal of Linguistics. 17: 155–84. doi:10.1080/07268609708599550.
- Cox, Felicity; Palethorpe, Sallyanne (2007), "Australian English" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 37 (3): 341–350, doi:10.1017/S0025100307003192
- Kenyon, John S. (1950). American Pronunciation (10th ed.). Ann Arbor: George Wahr.
- Kenyon, John S.; Knott, Thomas A. (1953) . A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster. ISBN 0-87779-047-7.
- Lass, Roger (2002). "South African English". In Mesthrie, Rajend. Language in South Africa. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521791052.
- Mannell, R.; Cox, F.; Harrington, J. (2009). An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology. Macquarie University.
- Roach, Peter (2004). "British English: Received Pronunciation". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 34 (2): 239–245. doi:10.1017/S0025100304001768.
- Sailaja, Pingali (2009). Indian English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Ltd. pp. 17–38. ISBN 9780748625949.
- Schneider, Edgar W.; Kortmann, Bernd (2004). A Handbook of Varieties of English. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-017532-0.
- Scobbie, James M.; Gordeeva, Olga B.; Matthews, Benjamin (2006). "Acquisition of Scottish English Phonology: an overview". Edinburgh: QMU Speech Science Research Centre Working Papers.
- Wells, John C. (2000). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (2nd ed.). Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited. ISBN 0-582-36468-X.
- Wells, John C. (1982). Accents of English. II: The British Isles. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-28541-0.