The Boy and the Hazelnuts

A Phonetic Aesop Course IPA Symbols | Pronunciation | Literature | Vocabulary | Listenings

IPA Symbols

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 Activities to help you to learn, remember, and use the British English IPA symbols efficiently whether you are a student or a teacher.


No matter how good your English grammar and vocabulary may be, if your pronunciation is so bad that nobody can understand a word you say, then your English won't be much good as a means of communication. You might be good at grammar, have a broad vocabulary, and be able to explain all the aspects and tenses of English, but it's not much good if you can't be understood when you speak. I have designed these Activities to help you to improve your pronunciation, as well as other areas of your English.


Some students like to sit back and listen to some interesting English. It doesn't get much more interesting than some of the old classics from English literature. These Activities have been created to help you get the best from the vocabulary found in some of the old classics. As you listen and read your way through these Activities, you will also broaden your understanding of English culture.


Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be. The Activities here will help you to quickly develop your vocabulary.


Reading is the easiest way to take in English. Listening is a much harder skill and one that has to be developed as you study the language. There are lots of speech features that arise when native English speakers speak English. These speech features, such as elision, simplification, intonation, stress, and rhythm, and the way in which speakers may miss out sounds or whole words, are important to understand if you are to be able to listen to and fully understand spoken English. These Britlish Library Activities will help you to develop you listening skills.  

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This lesson, The Boy and the Hazelnuts, warns us not to be too greedy or to try to do too much at one time. These Phonetic Aesop English language lessons will help you to master the 44 British English IPA symbols, and hopefully learn some new vocabulary.

A Phonetic Aesop Course


The Boy and the Hazelnuts

A Boy was given permission to put his hand into a pitcher to get some hazelnuts. But he took such a great fistful that he could not draw his hand out again. There he stood, unwilling to give up a single hazelnut and yet unable to get them all out at once. Vexed and disappointed he began to cry.

"My boy," said his mother, "be satisfied with half the nuts you have taken, and you will easily get your hand out. Then perhaps you may have some more hazelnuts some other time."

Do not attempt too much at once.

/ ðə ˌbɔɪ ənd ðə ˈheɪzl.nʌts /

/ ə ˌbɔɪ wəz ɡɪv.n̩ pə.ˈmɪʃ.n̩ tə ˈpʊt ɪz hænd ˈɪn.tə ə ˈpɪ.tʃə tə ˈɡet səm ˈheɪzl.nʌts / bət hi ˈtʊk sʌtʃ ə ˈɡreɪt ˈfɪst.fʊl ðət hi kəd nɒt drɔːr ɪz hænd ˈaʊt ə.ˈɡen / ðə hi stʊd / ʌn.ˈwɪl.ɪŋ tə ɡɪv ʌp ə ˈsɪŋ.ɡl̩ ˈheɪzl.nʌt ənd jet ʌn.ˈeɪb.l̩ tə ˈɡet ðəm ɔːl ˈaʊt ət wʌns / vekst ənd ˌdɪ.səˈpo.ɪn.tɪd hi bɪ.ˈɡæn tə kraɪ /

/ maɪ ˌbɔɪ / ˈsed ɪz ˈmʌð.ə / bi ˈsæ.tɪ.sfaɪd wɪð hɑːf ðə nʌts ju həv ˈteɪk.ən / ənd ju wl̩ ˈiː.zə.li ˈɡet jə hænd ˈaʊt / ðen pə.ˈhæps ju meɪ həv səm mɔː ˈheɪzl.nʌts səm ˈʌð.ə ˈtaɪm /

/ də nɒt ə.ˈtempt tuː ˈmʌtʃ ət wʌns /

A Phonetic Aesop

Aesop’s Fables have been retold numerous times and added to over the centuries, and many of the fables’ morals have become so well known that they have become part of the English language. The lessons in this course are based on a 1919 version of Aesop’s Fables chosen because the language is suitable for learners of English yet is rich and varied enough to cover all aspects of British English pronunciation when coupled with the British English phonetic transcripts. Translated into British English IPA transcripts, these phonetic Aesop lessons will help students improve their pronunciation and teachers of English as a second or foreign language who want to work on pronunciation in the classroom.

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The Ass and His Driver

This lesson, The Ass and His Driver, is a cautionary tale about the dangers of stubborn pig-headedness and the rejection of wise advice. These Phonetic Aesop English language lessons will help you to master the 44 British English IPA symbols, and hopefully learn some new vocabulary.

Categories: IPA Symbols | Pronunciation | Literature | Vocabulary | Listenings

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The Dog and His Reflection

This lesson, The Dog and His Reflection, is a warning against greed and lack of thought. These phonetic Aesop English language lessons will help you to master the 44 British English IPA symbols, and hopefully learn some new vocabulary.

Categories: IPA Symbols | Pronunciation | Literature | Vocabulary | Listenings

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