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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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Snake

Snake is one of D. H. Lawrence's most famous poems and was published in the poetry collection Birds, Beasts and Flowers. 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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Soft Drinks - Elision

Say the words soft and drinks in isolation and we hear the /t/ at the end of soft. We rarely hear the two words in isolation, however, and when we bring them together as soft drinks, we no longer hear the /t/ sound. This is an example of elision, or deletion of sounds at word boundaries. This lesson will help you to use this elision to sound more natural when you speak English. By understanding elision, your listening skills will improve as well as your general pronunciation.


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Sonnet 18

The most famous and well-known of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets is undoubtedly Sonnet 18 which begins, Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? This lesson looks at the pronunciation of the sonnet as well as providing a modern English translation of the sonnet to make it easier to understand. The lesson also looks at some of the old, obsolete language of Shakespeare, in particular the thee, thy, thou which appear in this sonnet. There is a full British English IPA phonetic transcript of the sonnet, too, to help students improve their knowledge and use of the 44 IPA symbols in British English.


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Sunny London - Pronunciation Activator

Many students see the letter O and feel that it should be pronounced like the O in on /ɒn/ or clock /ˈklɒk/. This lesson will show you that many common words are not pronounced as you might think. The words in this lesson include: clock, funny, god, honey, London, money, monkey, moth, son, sun, waffle, wag, wallet, wand, wander, want, warrant, warrior, wash, wasp, watch, wax, won, and wonder.   


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Syllabic Consonants -ism

-ism is a suffix appended to the end of many English words. It means taking sides with or imitation of. Pronunciation-wise, -ism has a syllabic consonant /m/ at the end. In this lesson, we’ll look at how we pronounce some common isms. The -isms include, ageism, asceticism, atheism, Buddhism, capitalism, communism, Cubism, Druidism, dualism, Expressionism, Judaism, racism, Romanticism, sexism, and socialism.


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Syllabic Consonants in Words Ending *LE

A syllabic consonant is a consonant that is pronounced as a syllable. The two main syllabic consonants in English are /l/ or /n/ sounds. The /l/ syllabic consonant occurs at the end of the word bottle, while the /n/ occurs in words like listen. Syllabic consonants occur mainly in the final syllable of words. In this lesson, we will look at the 11 possible letter combinations that can result in a final-syllable /l/ syllabic consonant: a syllable which has a consonant not a vowel as the peak. I have chosen one word for each of the following endings which produce a syllable consonant: -ble, -cle, -dle, -fle, -gle, -kle, -ple, -sle, -tle, -xle, and -zle. Some of these combinations have many examples, while others have few. There are no other -*le endings in English words which produce the /l/ syllabic consonant.


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The Chaos

The Absurdity of English Spelling and Pronunciation.  English spelling and pronunciation appears to have been devised by a lunatic. The absurdity of English spelling has inspired many teachers and writers to demonstrate just how ridiculously complicated it is. Chief among these was Gerard Nolst Trenité, who wrote the oft-quoted poem, The Chaos. I first transcribed the entire poem into IPA symbols, double checking the accuracy of the IPA transcript, then fed the IPA transcript through an AI speech synthesis program to produce the most accurate rendition of the poem possible.  


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The Example

A poem from the Welsh poet, W.H. Davies (1871-1940) to help you with your pronunciation and the rhythm of English through British English IPA transcripts. There is a full British English IPA phonetic transcript of the poem, too, to help students improve their knowledge and use of the 44 IPA symbols in British English, and some biographical information about the poet.


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The Glottal Stop

This lesson will tell you what a glottal stop is and then tell you how to use it. A glottal stop is also known as the voiceless glottal plosive and it’s used in many languages besides English. In fact, you probably use it without being aware of it. The glottal stop is called the glottal stop because the sound is made when the vocal cords close and stop the flow of air. The gap between the vocal cords is called the glottis. The glottal stop is also known as the voiceless glottal plosive, which means their air flow is obstructed between the lungs and the mouth by the closing of the vocal cords. The most pronounced use of the glottal stop can be found in Cockney English where the glottal stop replaces the /p/, the /t/, and the /k/ sounds when they are preceded by a stressed vowel sound and are followed by an unstressed vowel sound.


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The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

This nonsense poem, The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, is much loved by children and adults alike because of its rhythm and nonsensical story. It was written for the three-year-old daughter of a friend and published in 1871 in the book Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets. Enjoy the poem and learn some new vocabulary while improving your pronunciation skills.


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10 of our 70 IPA Symbols British English Lessons


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