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70 IPA Symbols British English Lessons

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation that was devised in the 19th century as a standardised way of representing the sounds of speech in written form. The British English IPA chart consists of 44 symbols representing the pure vowels (monophthongs), the gliding vowels (diphthongs), and the consonant sounds of spoken British English. The Britlish Library contains a wealth of lessons to help you to learn, remember, and use the British English IPA symbols efficiently whether you are a student or a teacher.

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10 of our 70 IPA Symbols British English Lessons

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/ t / in Tattoo

Activate the consonant sound / t / in Tattoo. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / t /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / t / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / t / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / t / sound correctly. The / t / sound is an unvoiced alveolar plosive made by blocking the air flow with the tongue on the alveolar ridge and then releasing it explosively. The / t / sound on the chart is shown in blue, which means that it is unvoiced. Each of the consonant sounds on the first two rows of consonants make up an unvoiced and a voiced pair. The only difference between the unvoiced and voiced pairs is the use of the vocal cords while saying them.


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/ tʃ / Sound in Chin

Activate the consonant sound / tʃ / in Chin. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sound / tʃ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / tʃ / sound. We will look at lots of words which have the / tʃ / sound in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / tʃ / sound correctly. The / tʃ / sound is an unvoiced postalveolar afficate made by blocking the air flow with the tip of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge with the front of the tongue bunched up towards the palate. The air is released over the sharp end of the teeth to cause high-frequency turbulence. The / tʃ / sound on the chart is shown in blue, which means that it is unvoiced. 


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/ w / in Wasp and / j / in Yellow

Activate the consonant semivowel sounds / w / in Wasp and / j / in Yellow. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / w / and / j /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / w / and / j / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / w / and / j / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / w / and / j / sounds correctly. The / w / and / j / sounds are semivowels or glides which are a type of approximant. The semivowels have characteristics of both consonants and vowels in different words. The / w / and the / j / sounds on the chart are shown in green, which means that they are voiced. 


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/ ʃ / in Ship and / ʒ / in Genre

Activate the consonant sounds / ʃ / and / ʒ /. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / ʃ / and / ʒ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / ʃ / and / ʒ / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / ʃ / and / ʒ / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / ʃ / and / ʒ / sounds correctly. The / ʃ / and / ʒ / sounds are palato-alveolar fricatives made by disrupting the air flow by bunching up the tongue against the roof of the mouth. The / ʃ / sound on the chart is shown in blue, which means it is unvoiced, while the / ʒ / sound is shown in green, which means that it is voiced.


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/ θ / in Thumb and / ð / in Feather

Activate the consonant sounds / θ / in thumb and / ð / in feather. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the consonant sounds / θ / and / ð /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / θ / and / ð / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / θ / and / ð / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / θ / and / ð / sounds correctly. The / θ / and / ð /sounds are dental fricatives made by disrupting the air flow through a narrow channel formed by the tip of the tongue and the top front teeth to cause turbulence. The / θ / sound on the chart is shown in blue, which means it is unvoiced, while the / ð / sound is shown in green, which means that it is voiced. Letter Combinations for / θ / This unvoiced dental fricative only ever has this letter combination: TH. Not all words containing the letter combination TH have the / θ / sound in them. Letter Combinations for / ð / - This voiced dental fricative has these letter combinations: TH, and THE at the end of some words. Not all words containing the letter combinations TH or THE have the / ð / sound in them.   


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Beach or Bitch

A Sounds Rude lesson for 18+ students that will teach you how to avoid a common pronunciation mistake. If you are easily offended by language that Sounds Rude, go no further. If you would like to learn the vocabulary which every native-born Englishman, or woman for that matter, is very familiar with, then I urge you to read on. Vocabulary is vocabulary and it all makes up the English language. The vocabulary in this lesson is not normally found in textbooks or discussed in the English classroom, yet it is an integral part of the language, and very likely to be regularly encountered in an English speaking country.


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Birds of a Feather

Whenever we learn something new, there is always room for improvement. Let’s enter the Room for Improvement, shall we, and see how it can help us improve our English. In this lesson we will improve our knowledge of birds and some of the more common words we use to talk about birds. We’ll learn about hens, roosters, ducks, drakes, geese, ganders, pigeons, sparrows, and owls. You will also be able to practice reading IPA phonetic symbols.    


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Consonants 1

An introduction to Britlish English Consonants (I have hayfever so had to use AI voices for this pack). There are 24 consonant sounds in British English. The consonant sounds are shown in the blue box at the bottom of the British English IPA chart, under the vowels. A consonant is a basic speech sound in which the breath is at least partially obstructed and which can be combined with a vowel to form a syllable. Consonants can only be produced with a vowel. There are 21 letters in the English alphabet which represent consonants but there are 24 consonant sounds. The consonant letters of the alphabet are, B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, X, Z, and usually W and Y. The consonant sounds are grouped into several types. There are the plosives, the fricatives, the affricates, the nasals and the approximants. English consonants are classified by technical terms which refer to the way air escapes as we say the sound, where the obstruction to the air flow takes place, and whether the vocal cords are used. 


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Fur or Fir - Homophones

The two words fur and fir are homophones in English and cause a lot of pronunciation confusion for students. I mean, how can two words that are radically different have exactly the same sound? There are many homophones in English and this lesson is designed to help you master these two. Not only does it deal with the words fir and fur, but it also deals with words like furred, furry, furlike, furl, furlong, furlough, furnace, furniture, furore, further, fury, fire, firkin, firm, first, fifth, and firth. This lesson will help you to pronounce all of these words perfectly.


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Futility

Futility is one of the most famous poems by one of the most famous poets of World War I, Wilfred Owen, 1893-1918. This poem tells us of an incident where a group of soldiers try to revive an unconscious soldier by dragging him into the sun on a snowy day, but their efforts are in vain because the soldier is already dead. I use this poem in this lesson to help you with your pronunciation, your vocabulary, your understanding of the British English IPA chart symbols, and to introduce you to this most beautiful of poems. Poems are a great way to enrich many aspects of your English and I hope that you enjoy the poem and the exercises included in the lesson.


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10 of our 70 IPA Symbols British English Lessons


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