Help:IPA

Here 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/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 Wikipedia: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, Standard German, and Spanish. For symbols not covered by those, recourse is taken to the populous languages Standard 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: [ a] ( About this sound  listen). Click on "listen" to hear the sound; click on the symbol itself for a dedicated article with a more complete description and examples from multiple languages. Consonant sounds are spoken once followed by a vowel and once between vowels.

Main symbols

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.

Symbol Examples Description
A
[ a] ( About this sound  listen) 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] ( About this sound  listen) Mandarin 他 tā, American English ah, Spanish casa, French patte
[ ] ( About this sound  listen) German Aachen, French gare Long [a].
[ ɐ] ( About this sound  listen) RP cut, German Kaiserslautern (In transcriptions of English, [ɐ] is usually written ⟨ʌ⟩.)
[ ɑ] ( About this sound  listen) Finnish Linna, Dutch bad
[ ɑː] ( About this sound  listen) RP father, French pâte Long [ɑ].
[ ɑ̃] ( About this sound  listen) French Caen, sans, temps Nasalized [ɑ].
[ ɒ] ( About this sound  listen) RP cot Like [ɑ], but with the lips slightly rounded.
[ ʌ] ( About this sound  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] ( About this sound  listen) RP cat
B
[ b] ( About this sound  listen) English babble
[ ɓ] ( About this sound  listen) Swahili bwana Like a [b] said with a gulp. See implosive consonants.
[ β] ( About this sound  listen) Spanish la Bamba, Kinyarwanda abana "children" Like [b], but with the lips not quite touching.
C
[ c] ( About this sound  listen) Turkish kebap " kebab", Czech stín "shadow", Romanian cameră " room"Greek και "and" Between English tune (RP) and cute. Sometimes used instead for [tʃ] in languages like Hindi.
[ ç] ( About this sound  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] ( About this sound  listen) Mandarin 西安 Xi'an, Polish ściana More y-like than [ʃ]; something like English she.
[ ɔ] ( About this sound  listen) see under O
D
[ d] ( About this sound  listen) English dad
[ ɗ] ( About this sound  listen) Swahili Dodoma Like [d] said with a gulp.
[ ɖ] ( About this sound  listen) American English harder Like [d] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ ð] ( About this sound  listen) English the, bathe
[ dz] 1 ( About this sound  listen) English adds, Italian zero
[ ] 1 ( About this sound  listen) English judge
[ ] 1 ( About this sound  listen) Polish niewiedź "bear" Like [dʒ], but with more of a y-sound.
[ ] 1 ( About this sound  listen) Polish em "jam" Like [dʒ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
E
[ e] ( About this sound  listen) Spanish fe; French clé
[ ] ( About this sound  listen) German Klee Long [e]. Similar to English hey, before the y sets in.
[ ɘ] ( About this sound  listen) Australian English bird
[ ə] ( About this sound  listen) English above, Hindi ठग [ʈʰəɡ] (thug) "thief" (Only occurs in English when not stressed.)
[ ɚ] ( About this sound  listen) American English runner
[ ɛ] ( About this sound  listen) English bet
[ ɛ̃] ( About this sound  listen) French Saint-Étienne, vin, main Nasalized [ɛ].
[ ɜ] ( About this sound  listen) RP bird (long)
[ ɝ] ( About this sound  listen) American English bird
F
[ f] ( About this sound  listen) English fun
[ ɟ] ( About this sound  listen) see under J
[ ʄ] ( About this sound  listen) see under J
G
[ ɡ] ( About this sound  listen) English gag (Should look like Opentail g.svg. No different from a Latin "g")
[ ɠ] ( About this sound  listen) Swahili Uganda Like [ɡ] said with a gulp.
[ ɢ] ( About this sound  listen) Like [ɡ], but further back, in the throat. Found in Persian and some Arabic dialects for /q/, as in Muammar Gaddafi.
[ ʒ] ( About this sound  listen) see under Z English beige.
H
[ h] ( About this sound  listen) American English house
[ ɦ] ( About this sound  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] ( About this sound  listen) Arabic ‏ مُحَمَّدMuhammad Far down in the throat, like [h], but stronger.
[ ɥ] ( About this sound  listen) see under Y
[ ɮ] ( About this sound  listen) see under L
I
[ i] ( About this sound  listen) French ville, Spanish Valladolid
[ ] ( About this sound  listen) English sea Long [i].
[ ɪ] ( About this sound  listen) English sit
[ ɨ] ( About this sound  listen) Russian ты "you" Often used for unstressed English roses.
J
[ j] ( About this sound  listen) English yes, hallelujah, German Junge
[ ʲ] Russian Ленин [ˈlʲenʲɪn] Indicates a sound is more y-like.
[ ʝ] ( About this sound  listen) Spanish cayo (some dialects) Like [j], but stronger.
[ ɟ] ( About this sound  listen) Turkish gör "see", Czech díra "hole" Between English dew (RP) and argue. Sometimes used instead for [dʒ] in languages like Hindi.
[ ʄ] ( About this sound  listen) Swahili jambo Like [ɟ] said with a gulp.
K
[ k] ( About this sound  listen) English kick, skip
L
[ l] ( About this sound  listen) English leaf
[ ɫ] ( About this sound  listen) English wool
Russian малый [ˈmɑɫɨj] "small"
"Dark" el.
[ ɬ] ( About this sound  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] ( About this sound  listen) Like [l] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ ɺ] ( About this sound  listen) A flapped [l], like [l] and [ɾ] said together.
[ ɮ] ( About this sound  listen) Zulu dla "eat" Rather like [l] and [ʒ], or [l] and [ð], said together.
M
[ m] ( About this sound  listen) English mime
[ ɱ] ( About this sound  listen) English symphony Like [m], but lips touch teeth as they do in [f].
[ ɯ] ( About this sound  listen) see under W
[ ʍ] ( About this sound  listen) see under W
N
[ n] ( About this sound  listen) English nun
[ ŋ] ( About this sound  listen) English sing, Māori nga
[ ɲ] ( About this sound  listen) Spanish Peña, French champagne Rather like English canyon (/nj/ said quickly).
[ ɳ] ( About this sound  listen) Hindi वरुण [ʋəruɳ] Varuna Like [n] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ ɴ] ( About this sound  listen) Castilian Spanish Don Juan [doɴˈχwan] Like [ŋ], but further back, in the throat.
O
[ o] ( About this sound  listen) Spanish no, French eau
[ ] ( About this sound  listen) German Boden, French Vosges Long [o]. Somewhat reminiscent of English no.
[ ɔ] ( About this sound  listen) German Oldenburg, French Garonne
[ ɔː] ( About this sound  listen) RP law, French Limoges Long [ɔ].
[ ɔ̃] ( About this sound  listen) French Lyon, son Nasalized [ɔ].
[ ø] ( About this sound  listen) French feu, bœufs Like [e], but with the lips rounded like [o].
[ øː] ( About this sound  listen) German Goethe, French Dle, neutre Long [ø].
[ ɵ] ( About this sound  listen) Swedish dum Halfway between [o] and [ø]. Similar to [ʊ] but with the tongue slightly more down and front.
[ œ] ( About this sound  listen) French bœuf, seul, German Göttingen Like [ɛ], but with the lips rounded like [ɔ].
[ œː] ( About this sound  listen) French œuvre, heure Long [œ].
[ œ̃] ( About this sound  listen) French brun, parfum Nasalized [œ].
[ θ] ( About this sound  listen) see under Others
[ ɸ] ( About this sound  listen) see under Others
P
[ p] ( About this sound  listen) English pip
Q
[ q] ( About this sound  listen) Arabic ‏ قُرْآن Qur’ān Like [k], but further back, in the throat.
R
[ r] ( About this sound  listen) Spanish perro, Scots borrow "Rolled R". (Often used for other rhotics, such as English [ɹ], when there's no ambiguity.)
[ ɾ] ( About this sound  listen) Spanish pero, Tagalog daliri, Malay kabar, American English kitty/kiddie "Flapped R".
[ ʀ] ( About this sound  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] ( About this sound  listen) Hindi साड़ी [sɑːɽiː] "sari" Like flapped [ɾ], but with the tongue curled back.
[ ɹ] ( About this sound  listen) RP borrow
[ ɻ] ( About this sound  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] ( About this sound  listen) French Paris, German Riemann Said back in the throat, but not trilled.
S
[ s] ( About this sound  listen) English sass
[ ʃ] ( About this sound  listen) English shoe
[ ʂ] ( About this sound  listen) Mandarin 少林 ( Shàolín), Russian Пушкин (Pushkin) Acoustically similar to [ʃ], but with the tongue curled or pulled back.
T
[ t] ( About this sound  listen) English tot, stop
[ ʈ] ( About this sound  listen) Hindi ठग [ʈʰəɡ] (thug) "thief" Like [t], but with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ ts] 2 ( About this sound  listen) English cats, Russian царь tsar
[ ] 2 ( About this sound  listen) English church
[ ] 2 ( About this sound  listen) Mandarin 北京 About this sound  Běijīng, Polish ciebie "you" Like [tʃ], but with more of a y-sound.
[ ] 2 ( About this sound  listen) Mandarin 真正 zhēnzhèng, Polish czas Like [tʃ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
U
[ u] ( About this sound  listen) French vous "you"
[ ] ( About this sound  listen) French Rocquencourt, German Schumacher, close to RP food Long [u].
[ ʊ] ( About this sound  listen) English foot, German Bundesrepublik
[ ʉ] ( About this sound  listen) Australian English food (long) Like [ɨ], but with the lips rounded as for [u].
[ ɥ] ( About this sound  listen) see under Y
[ ɯ] ( About this sound  listen) see under W
V
[ v] ( About this sound  listen) English verve
[ ʋ] ( About this sound  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] ( About this sound  listen) see under Y
[ ɣ] ( About this sound  listen) see under Y
[ ʌ] ( About this sound  listen) see under A
W
[ w] ( About this sound  listen) English wow
[ ʷ] English rain [ɹʷeɪn] Indicates a sound has lip rounding, quick.
[ ʍ] ( About this sound  listen) what (some dialects) like [h] and [w] said together
[ ɯ] ( About this sound  listen) Turkish kayık "caïque", Scottish Gaelic gaol Like [u], but with the lips flat; something like [ʊ].
[ ɰ] ( About this sound  listen) Spanish agua
X
[ x] ( About this sound  listen) Scottish English loch, German Bach, Russian хороший [xɐˈroʂɨj] "good", Spanish joven between [k] and [h]
[ χ] ( About this sound  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] ( About this sound  listen) French rue Like [i], but with the lips rounded as for [u].
[ ] ( About this sound  listen) German Bülow, French sûr Long [y].
[ ʏ] ( About this sound  listen) German Düsseldorf Like [ɪ], but with the lips rounded as for [ʊ].
[ ɣ] ( About this sound  listen) Arabic ‏ غَالِيghālī and Swahili ghali "expensive", Spanish suegro Sounds rather like French [ʁ] or between [ɡ] and [h].
[ ɤ] ( About this sound  listen) Mandarin 河南 Hénán, Scottish Gaelic taigh Like [o] but without the lips rounded, something like a cross of [ʊ] and [ʌ].
[ ʎ] ( About this sound  listen) Italian tagliatelle Like [l], but more y-like. Rather like English volume.
[ ɥ] ( About this sound  listen) French lui Like [j] and [w] said together.
Z
[ z] ( About this sound  listen) English zoo
[ ʒ] ( About this sound  listen) English vision, French journal
[ ʑ] ( About this sound  listen) formal Russian жжёшь [ʑːoʂ] "you burn", Polish źle More y-like than [ʒ], something like beigey.
[ ʐ] ( About this sound  listen) Russian жир "fat" Like [ʒ] with the tongue curled or pulled back.
[ ɮ] ( About this sound  listen) see under L
Others
[ θ] ( About this sound  listen) English thigh, bath
[ ɸ] ( About this sound  listen) Japanese 富士 [ɸɯdʑi] Fuji, Māori [ˌɸaːɾeːˈnuiː] wharenui Like [p], but with the lips not quite touching
[ ʔ] ( About this sound  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] ( About this sound  listen) Arabic ‏ عَرَبِيّʻarabī "Arabic" A light sound deep in the throat.
[ ǀ] ( About this sound  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] ( About this sound  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] ( About this sound  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].
  • ^1 ^2 These 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.
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