WP:IPA for English
The pronunciation of English words in Wikipedia is given in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using the following diaphonic transcription, which is not specific to any one dialect. For a more complete key to the IPA, see వికీపీడియా:IPA, which includes sounds that do not occur in English. If the IPA symbols do not display properly on your browser, see the links at the bottom of this page.
|Understanding the key|
|This key accommodates standard General American, Received Pronunciation, Canadian English, Australian English, and New Zealand English pronunciations. Therefore, not all of the distinctions shown here will be relevant to your dialect. If, for example, you pronounce cot /ˈkɒt/ and caught /ˈkɔːt/ the same, you can simply ignore the difference between the symbols /ɒ/ and /ɔː/, just as you ignore the distinction between the written vowels o and au when pronouncing them.
In many dialects /r/ occurs only before a vowel; if you speak such a dialect, simply ignore /r/ in the pronunciation guides where you would not pronounce it, as in cart /ˈkɑrt/. In other dialects, /j/ (a y sound) cannot occur after /t/, /d/, /n/ etc. in the same syllable; if you speak such a dialect, ignore the /j/ in transcriptions such as new /njuː/.
For example, New York is transcribed /njuː ˈjɔrk/. For most people from England, and some New Yorkers, the /r/ in /ˈjɔrk/ is not pronounced and can be ignored; for most people from the US, as for other New Yorkers, the /j/ in /njuː/ is not pronounced and can be ignored.
On the other hand, there are some distinctions which you might make but which this key does not encode, as they are seldom reflected in the dictionaries used as sources for Wikipedia articles. Examples include the difference between the vowels of fir, fur and fern in Scottish and Irish English, the vowels of bad and had in many parts of Australia and the Eastern United States, and the vowels of spider and spied her in some parts of Scotland and North America.
The transcription is essentially phonemic, meaning that it does not encode distinctions which are determined by the environment of a sound. For example, in many dialects the /l/ sounds in lie, ply and pal are pronounced differently (plain voiced [l] in lie, voiceless [l̥] in ply, and "dark" [ɫ] in pal), but they are all transcribed with the symbol /l/ because a native English speaker makes these distinctions automatically.
The IPA stress mark (ˈ) comes before the syllable that has the stress, in contrast to stress marking in some US American dictionaries.
(Words in SMALL CAPITALS are the standard lexical sets. Words in the lexical sets BATH, CLOTH and INTO are given two transcriptions, respectively one with /ɑː/ and one with /æ/, with /ɒ/ and /ɔː/, and with /ʊ/ and /uː/.)
- If the two characters ˈɡ and ˈ do not match, if the first looks like a ˈγ, then you have an issue with your default font. See Rendering issues.
- Although the IPA symbol [r] represents a trill, /r/ is widely used instead of /ɹ/ in broad transcriptions of English.
- /hw/ is not distinguished from /w/ in dialects with the wine-whine merger, such as RP and most varieties of GenAm.
- A number of English words, such as genre and garage, are pronounced with either /ʒ/ or /dʒ/.
- In most dialects, /x/ is replaced by /k/ in loch and by /h/ in Chanukah.
- In non-rhotic accents such as RP, /r/ is not pronounced unless followed by a vowel. In some Wikipedia articles, /ɪər/ etc. may not be distinguished from /ɪr/ etc. When they are distinguished, the long vowels may be transcribed /iːr/ etc. by analogy with vowels not followed by /r/. If you notify us of this on the talk page, we will correct it.
- Note that many speakers distinguish these rhotic vowels from non-rhotic vowels followed by an R: our /ˈaʊər/ from plougher /ˈplaʊ.ər/, hire /ˈhaɪər/ from higher /ˈhaɪ.ər/, loir /ˈlɔɪər/ from employer /
ɪmˈplɔɪ.ər/, mare /ˈmɛər/ from mayor /ˈmeɪ.ər/.
- /ɒ/ is not distinguished from /ɑː/ in dialects with the father-bother merger such as GenAm.
- /ɔː/ is not distinguished from /ɑː/ (except before /r/) in dialects with the cot-caught merger such as some varieties of GenAm.
- Commonly transcribed /əʊ/ or /oː/.
- /ɔər/ is not distinguished from /ɔr/ in dialects with the horse-hoarse merger, which include most dialects of modern English.
- /ʊər/ is not distinguished from /ɔr/ in dialects with the pour-poor merger, including many younger speakers.
- In dialects with yod-dropping, /juː/ is pronounced the same as /uː/ after coronal consonants (/t/, /d/, /s/, /z/, /n/, /θ/, and /l/) in the same syllable, so that dew /djuː/ is pronounced the same as do /duː/. In dialects with yod-coalescence, /tj/, /dj/, /sj/ and /zj/ are pronounced /tʃ/, /dʒ/, /ʃ/ and /ʒ/, so that the first syllable in Tuesday is pronounced the same as choose.
- This phoneme is not used in the northern half of England and some bordering parts of Wales. These words would take the ʊ vowel: there is no foot-strut split.
- In some articles /ɜr/ is transcribed as /ɝː/, and /ər/ as /ɚ/, when not followed by a vowel.
- Pronounced [ə] in Australian and many US dialects, and [ɪ] in Received Pronunciation. Many speakers freely alternate between a reduced [ɪ̈] and a reduced [ə]. Many phoneticians (vd. Olive & Greenwood 1993:322) and the OED uses the pseudo-IPA symbol
ɪ, and Merriam–Webster uses ə̇.
- Pronounced [ə] in many dialects, and [ɵw] or [əw] before another vowel, as in cooperate. Sometimes pronounced as a full /oʊ/, especially in careful speech. (Bolinger 1989) Usually transcribed as /ə(ʊ)/ (or similar ways of showing variation between /əʊ/ and /ə/) in British dictionaries.
- Pronounced [ʊ] in many dialects, [ə] in others. Many speakers freely alternate between a reduced [ʊ̈] and a reduced [ə]. The OED uses the pseudo-IPA symbol
- Pronounced /iː/ in dialects with the happy tensing, /ɪ/ in other dialects. British convention used to transcribe it with /ɪ/, but the OED and other influential dictionaries recently converted to /i/.
- It is arguable that there is no phonemic distinction in English between primary and secondary stress (vd. Ladefoged 1993), but it is conventional to notate them as here.
- Full vowels following a stressed syllable, such as the ship in battleship, are marked with secondary stress in some dictionaries (Merriam-Webster), but not in others (the OED). Such syllables are not actually stressed.
- Syllables are indicated sparingly, where necessary to avoid confusion.
- 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 dialects, which compares the vowels of Received Pronunciation, General American, Australian English, New Zealand English, and Scottish English, among others.
- For use of the IPA in other languages, see వికీపీడియా:IPA for a quick overview, or the more detailed main International Phonetic Alphabet article.
- If your browser does not display IPA symbols, you probably need to install a font that includes the IPA. Good free IPA fonts include Gentium (prettier) and Charis SIL (more complete); download links can be found on those pages.
- For a guide to adding pronunciations to Wikipedia articles, see the documentation for the IPA template.
- For help on getting the screen reader JAWS to read IPA symbols, see Getting JAWS 6.1 to recognize "exotic" Unicode symbols.