The pronunciation of English words in Wikipedia is given in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using the following transcription, which is not specific to any one dialect. To compare these symbols with non-IPA American dictionary conventions you may be more familiar with, see pronunciation respelling for English, which lists the pronunciation guides of fourteen English dictionaries published in the United States. For a basic introduction to IPA, see Wikipedia:IPA/Introduction. If you feel it is necessary to add a pronunciation respelling, please use the conventions of Wikipedia's pronunciation respelling key.
To compare these symbols with dictionary IPA conventions you may be more familiar with, see Help:IPA conventions for English, which lists the conventions of eight English dictionaries published in Britain, Australia, and the United States. For a more complete key to the IPA, see Wikipedia: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, South African 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 for some New Yorkers, the /r/ in /ˈjɔrk/ is not pronounced and can be ignored; for most people from the United States, including some 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.
Other words may have different vowels depending on the speaker. Bath, for example, originally had the /æ/ vowel of cat, but for many speakers it now has the /ɑː/ vowel of father. Such words are transcribed twice, once for each pronunciation: /ˈbæθ, ˈbɑːθ/.
The IPA stress mark (ˈ) comes before the syllable that has the stress, in contrast to stress marking in pronunciation keys of some dictionaries published in the United States.
(Words in small capitals are the standard lexical sets. Words in the lexical sets bath and cloth are given two transcriptions, respectively one with /ɑː/ and one with /æ/, and with /ɒ/ and /ɔː/).
- 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 Wikipedia: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.
- Wikipedia:Pronunciation respelling key
- For IPA text-to-speech bookmarklet, see IPA TTS bookmarklet.
- If the two characters ‹ɡ› and ‹› do not match and if the first looks like a ‹γ›, 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 like 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 are sometimes transcribed /iːr/ etc. by analogy with vowels not followed by /r/. These should be fixed to correspond with the chart here.
- Note that many speakers distinguish monosyllabic triphthongs with R and disyllabic realizations: hour /ˈaʊər/ from plougher /ˈplaʊ.ər/, hire /ˈhaɪər/ from higher /ˈhaɪ.ər/, loir /ˈlɔɪər/ from employer /ɨmˈplɔɪ.ər/, mare /ˈmɛər/ from mayor /ˈmeɪ.ər/.
- /ɒ/ is not distinguished from /ɑː/ in dialects with the father-bother merger such as GenAm.
- Many speakers, for example in most of Canada, have a different vowel in price and ride. Generally, an [aɪ] is used at the ends of words and before voiced sounds, as in ride, file, fine, pie, while an [ʌɪ] is used before voiceless sounds, as in price and write. Because /t/ and /d/ are often conflated in the middle of words in these dialects, derivatives of these words, such as rider and writer, may be distinguished only by their vowel: [ˈɹʷaɪɾəɹ], [ˈɹʷʌɪɾəɹ]. However, even though the value of /aɪ/ is not predictable in some words, such as spider [ˈspʌɪɾəɹ],[තහවුරු කරන්න] dictionaries do not generally record it, so it has not been allocated a separate transcription here.
- Transcribed as /e/ by many dictionaries.
- Pronounced the same as /ɛr/ in accents with the Mary-marry-merry merger. Often transcribed as /eə/ by British dictionaries and as /er/ by American ones. The OED uses /ɛː/ for BrE and /ɛ(ə)r/ for AmE.
- /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, some bordering parts of Wales, and some broad eastern Ireland accents. 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 use 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, for example to break up sequences of vowels (moai) or consonant clusters which an English speaker might misread as a digraph (Vancouveria, Windhoek).