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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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High Flight

This most famous of poems about flying is mostly known and remembered for the first and last lines: Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God. 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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I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

The lyric poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, also commonly known as Daffodils, is Wordsworth’s most famous poem. I have designed this lesson as a way of showing you the rhythm of English. Because of their structure, poems like this one are a very useful way of demonstrating the typical rhythm of the English language. In this lesson you will first listen to the poem, then read it, and then explore the phonetic transcription. It also includes a biography of William Wordsworth, the poet, as well as the background to the writing of the poem. Finally, you will have the chance to test how much you have learned about stress patterns and rhymes in some interactive exercises.


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If-

The poem, If-, by Rudyard Kipling was written around 1895, shortly after the birth of Kipling’s son, John. The poem is an example of Victorian stoicism and takes the form of the author’s paternal advice to his son. John Kipling was reported as wounded and missing in 1915 while serving as a Lieutenant during World War I, a post his father had secured him thanks to his social connections and despite his son’s severe myopia. His grave was not identified until 1992. You can read this poem in Latin script and in IPA script as well as listen to me read it for you.


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Linking Consonants - An Introduction

An introduction to linking consonants in British English. Linking consonants occur when a consonant at the end of a word is followed by a vowel sound during the unbroken sound stream within a speech segment. This lesson explains how linking consonants work, gives examples of sentences containing linking consonants and examines why each linking consonant happens, and then moves on to activate your ability to hear the linking consonants in sentences. By understanding how linking consonants work, you will improve your listening skills, too.


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Linking Sounds - An Introduction

Whether you are English, Chinese, Polynesian, Russian, or any other nationality, you share the same anatomy as me. This anatomy, in terms of our vocal tract, limits the sounds that we can easily say in a sentence. Of the two types of sounds in English, consonants and vowels, we cannot easily say two vowel sounds one after the other. Linking sounds bridge the gap between such difficult-to-say combinations of sounds. There are three linking sounds in English: the linking W, the linking J, and the linking R. This lesson will help you to see and hear how linking sounds work and how they can help you to improve not only your accent but also your listening skills.


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Meet your Meat

In this look at the meat industry, I make extensive use of the passive voice. In this lesson you will be looking at the vocabulary of meat production and livestock such as, baa, beef, bull, butcher, cluck, cow, ewe, hog, lamb, lanolin, leather, milking, moo, mutton, pig, pluck, pork, queen, ram, shear, skin, slaughter, squeal, swine, tan, tom, wool, and woollen. Whenever we learn something new, there is always room for improvement. Here is the Room for Improvement that you have been looking for in your British English studies.


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Nasal Consonant Sounds / m n ŋ /

Activate the nasal consonant sounds / m n ŋ /. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the nasal consonant sounds / m n ŋ /. We will look at the letter combinations that give the / m n ŋ / sounds. We will look at lots of words which have the / m n ŋ / sounds in them. Finally, we will activate your ability to hear and produce the / m n ŋ / sounds correctly. The / m n ŋ / sounds are nasals which means that they resonate sound through the nose when speaking. These sounds are hard to make when your nose is blocked. The / m n ŋ / each use a different way of obstructing the airflow. 


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Nouns ending in -age

There is a set of words in English which end in the letters age and which cause pronunciation problems for students. Students see the letter combination age and try to pronounced the ends of these words as the word age. Few of these words do end with age and most end in / ɪdʒ /. This lesson will help you to make sure you always pronounce the words correctly.


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S or Z

When do we use the /s/ sound and when do we use the /z/ sound, and what’s the difference? Let’s find out… The two sounds /s/ and /z/ are very close and cause endless confusion for students. There are some rules and the rules are normally to do with the voiced and unvoiced sounds. A voiced sound is that made when we use our vocal cords. /z/ is the voiced form of the sound /s/, which is unvoiced. Put your fingers on your throat when you say the word buzz. You should feel a vibration in your throat at the end of the word. This is caused by the vocal cords vibrating and adding to the sound. Now say hiss. This time you should not feel any vibration in your throat. Your vocal cords are not involved in making the sound /s/.  


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Schwa Vowel / ə /

Activate your use of the Schwa, the most common English sound, with this Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the sixth of the pure vowels the schwa / ə /. The schwa is the most commonly heard vowel sound in English. The schwa / ə / is a neutral central vowel which occurs as the peak of unstressed syllables. The exact sound and quality of the schwa / ə / depends on the sounds around it and so it is very difficult to produce it in isolation. The schwa sound / ə / has many spellings and can be made with any of the vowel letters A, E, I, O, and U, and any combination of these vowel letters. Only words of more than one syllable can contain the schwa sound. The schwa / ə / is the most commonly heard sound in British English.


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10 of our 70 IPA Symbols British English Lessons


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