Interactive British English International Phonetic Alphabet Chart

Click on any of the 44 symbols on the British English IPA chart below to find the lesson about that sound.

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interactive IPA chart tree insect woman food egg schwa bird horse ant sun art clock ear train pure bear toy eye boat owl pepper bubble tattoo duck chair jam key gun fan van thumb mother snake zoo ship genre nasals hat lamb ram wasp yellow

This is our British English phonetic chart. It is the chart that we use in the Sounds British Interactive British IPA Chart eBook. It is also called the IPA chart and contains forty-four symbols. Each symbol represents a sound in English. It is important that you can distinguish each of the different sounds on the chart.

Some of these symbols in the IPA chart match the letters of the alphabet and have their usual English sound values. That is, the letter of the alphabet and the sound represented by the IPA symbol are always the same. This is only true of the following consonants: p, b, t, d, k, m, n, l, r, f, v, z, h, w. The rest of the consonant letters of the alphabet have no set sound value: c, g, j, q, s, x, y. Neither do the five vowel letters, which are: a, e, i, o, u.

Take the words cat and key for instance. Both begin with a different consonant letter. K is always pronounced as /k/ while C has no set sound value and its sound can change depending on the word in which it is found. In the case of the word cat, C is also pronounced as /k/, but it is not pronounced the same in the word chair. The IPA allows us to write down the actual sound of the word. cat becomes /kæt/ while key becomes /ki:/ and chair becomes /ʧeə/. Phonetic symbols representing sounds not letters will be written between forward slashes //. Anything you see written between forward slashes represents sounds not letters of the alphabet.

On our chart, the vowels are in the top half of the chart in the red and green sections. The red section contains the pure vowels (monophtongs) and the green section contains the gliding vowels (diphthongs). A vowel is a sound which is produced with the whole vocal tract open so that there is no obstruction to the passage of air from the lungs and out of the nose and mouth. Vowels form the peak of syllables in words. For example, in the word vowel we have two syllables, vo and wel. You can see that both syllables contain a vowel sound supported by the consonants.

On our chart, the consonants are in the three rows in bottom blue section. 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 twenty-one letters in the English alphabet which represent consonants. These 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 letter Y can be both a consonant, as in the word yolk, and a vowel, as in the word myth and the word funny. The letter W can also be a vowel sound in very rare words such as those borrowed from the Welsh, as in cwm.

The long vowel sound in tree.

This is the 1st vowel symbol on our IPA British phonetic chart.

This is a long vowel sound. We know it is a long vowel because it has 2 marks (:) after it.

This long vowel sound is heard in words such as tree /tri:/, me /mi:/, pea /pi:/.

The short vowel sound in fish

This is the 2nd vowel symbol on our IPA British phonetic chart.

This is a short vowel sound. We know it is a short vowel because it does not have 2 marks (:) after it.

This short vowel sound is heard in words such as fish /fɪʃ/, chips /ʧɪps/, hit /hɪt/.

The short vowel sound in good

This is the 3rd vowel symbol on our I PA British phonetic chart.

This is a short vowel sound. We know it is a short vowel because it does not have 2 marks (:) after it.

This short vowel sound is heard in words such as good /gʊd/, put /pʊt/, foot /fʊt/.

The long vowel sound in boot

This is the 4th vowel symbol in our IPA British phonetic chart

This is a long vowel sound. We know it is a long vowel because it has 2 marks (:) after it.

This long vowel sound is heard in words such as boot /bʊ:t/, glue /glʊ:/, grew /grʊ:/

The short vowel sound in egg

This is the 5th vowel symbol in our IPA British phonetic chart.

This is a short vowel sound. We know it is a short vowel because it does not have 2 marks (:) after it.

This short vowel sound is heard in words such as egg /eg/, leg /leg/, hedge /heʤ/

The schwa

This is the 6th vowel symbol in our IPA British phonetic chart.

This is a short vowel sound. We know it is a short vowel because it does not have 2 marks (:) after it.

This is the most common vowel sound in English. It is the sound used in weakly stressed syllables.

The schwa is heard in words such as sofa /ˈsəʊfə/, along /əˈlɒŋ/, computer /kə mpju:tə/.

Notice the extra symbol /ˈ/ us ed in words with more than one syllable. This shows that the main stress on the word goes on the syllable after the /ˈ/ symbol.

The long vowel sound in bird

This is the 7th vowel symbol in our IPA British phonetic chart.

This is a long vowel sound. We know it is a long vowel because it has 2 marks (:) after it.

This long vowel sound is heard in words such as bird /bɜ:d/, word /wɜ:d/, occur /əˈkɜ:/

The long vowel sound in horse

This is the 8th vowel symbol in our IPA British phonetic chart.

This is a long vowel sound. We know it is a long vowel because it has 2 marks (:) after it.

This long vowel sound is heard in words such as horse /hɔ:s/, fo rce /fɔ:s/, course /k /kɔ:s/.

The short vowel sound in cat

This is the 9th vowel symbol in our IPA British phonetic chart.

This is a short vowel sound. We know it is a short vowel because it does not have 2 marks (:) after it.

This short vowel sound is heard in words such as cat /kæt/, sat /sæt/, ant /ænt/

The short vowel sound in up

This is the 10th vowel symbol in our IPA British phonetic chart.

This is a short vowel sound. We know it is a short vowel because it does not have 2 marks (:) after it.

This short vowel sound is heard in words such as rubber /rʌbə/, cover /kʌvə/, up /ʌp/.

The long vowel sound in car

This is the 11th vowel symbol in our IPA British phonetic chart.

This is a long vowel sound. We know it is a long vowel because it has 2 marks (:) after it.

This long vowel sound is heard in words such as car /kɑ:/ , father / fɑ:ðə/, arm /ɑ:m/.

The short vowel sound in clock

This is the 12th vowel symbol in our IPA British phonetic chart.

This is a short vowel sound. We know it is a short vowel because it does not have 2 marks (:) after it.

This short vowel sound is heard in words such as clock /klɒk/, sock /sɒk/, obelisk /ˈɒbɪlɪsk/.

What are diphthongs?

Diphthong literally means two sound s or two tones. Diphthongs are also known as sliding or gliding vowels. Diphthongs occur when two adjacent vowel sounds appear in the same syllable. They are formed by the tongue moving during the pronunciation of the vowel. =

Diphthongs occur when two adjacent vowel sounds appear in the same syllable.

It is not necessary to do more than be able to accurately pronounce the sound associated with each phonetic symbol. Sim ply listen to the sounds in the lessons and repeat.

The diphthong sound in ear

This is the first of the eight diphthong sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This diphthong sound is heard in words such as ear /ɪə/, weir /wɪə /, hear /hɪə/.

The diphthong sound in train

This is the second of the eight diphthong sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This diphthong sound is heard in words such as train /treɪn/, plane /pleɪn/, came /keɪm/.

The diphthong sound in tourist

This is the third of the eight diphthong sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This diphthong sound is heard in words such as tourist /tʊərɪst/, tour /tʊə/, poor/pʊə/.

The diphthong sound in boy

This is the fourth of the eight diphthong sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This diphthong sound is heard in words such as boy /bɔɪ/, toil /tɔɪl/, oyster /ɔɪstə/.

The diphthong sound in phone

This is the fifth of the eight diphthong sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This diphthong sound is heard in words such as phone /fəʊn/, home /həʊm/, own /əʊn/.

The diphthong sound in chair

This is the sixth of the eight diphthong sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This diphthong sound is heard in words such as chair /ʧeə/, pear /peə/, rare /reə/.

The diphthong sound in bike

This is the seventh of the eight diphthong sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This diphthong sound is heard in words such as bike /bɑɪk/, ice /ɑɪs/, fight /fɑɪt/.

The diphthong sound in owl

This is the eighth of the eight diphthong sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This diphthong sound is heard in words such as owl /ɑʊl/, cow /kɑʊ /, plough /plɑʊ/.

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.

Some consonants in English are voiced and some are unvoiced. Voiced consonants involve the use of the vocal cords. If you place your fingers on your throat as you say a sound, you will feel the vibration in your vocal chords with the voiced consonants. Each voiced consonant has an unvoiced counterpart.

The consonant sound in parrot

This is the first of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like parrot /pærɒt/, to p /tɒp/, penny /peni:/.

This consonant sound is unvoiced. I t is known as a plosive. Plosives have a sudden release of trapped air. In this case the air is trapped behind both closed lips before being released. Its voiced counterpart is /b/.

The consonant sound in bag

This is the second of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like bag /bæg/, blob /blɒb/, blubber /blʌbə/.

This consonant sound is voiced. It is known as a plosive. Plosives have a sudden release of trapped air. In this case the air is trapped behind both closed lips before being released. Its unvoiced counterpart is /p/.

The consonant sound in tie

This is the third of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like tie /tɑɪ/, bite /bɑɪt/, toot /tu:t/.

This consonant sound is unvoiced. It is known as a plosive. Plosives have a sudden release of trapped air. In this case the air is trapped behind the tongue and the gums before being released. Its unvoiced counterpart is /d/.

The consonant sound in dog

This is the fourth of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like dog /dɒg/, doddle /dɒdl/, do /du:/

This consonant sound is voiced. It is known as a plosive. Plosives hav e a sudden release of trapped air. In this case the air is trapped behind the tongue and the gums before being released. Its unvoiced counterpart is /t/

The consonant sound in chess

This is the fifth of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like chess /ʧes/, cheese /ʧi:z/, touch /tʌʧ/

This consonant sound is called an affricate. Affricates combine properties of plosives and fricatives. That is they release air trapped by parts of the mouth and they disrupt this flow of air afterwards. This consonant sound is made by releasing a sudden blast of air. It is unvoiced. Its voiced counterpart is /ʤ/.

The consonant sound in jazz

This is the sixth of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like jazz /ʤæz/, allege /əˈleʤ /, syringe /sɪˈrɪnʤ/

This consonant sound is called an affricate. Affricates combine properties of plosives and fricatives. That is they release air trapped by parts of the mouth and they disrupt this flow of air afterwards. This consonant sound is made by releasing a sudden blast of air. It is partially voiced. Its unvoiced counterpart is /ʧ/.

The consonant sound in key

This is the seventh of the twenty-f our consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like key /ki:/ , coffee /kɒfi:/, cheque /ʧek/.

This consonant sound is unvoiced. I t is known as a plosive. Plosives have a sudden release of trapped air. In this case the air is trapped behind the back of the tongue and the top of the mouth, palate, before being released. Its voiced counterpart is /g/.

The consonant sound in girl

This is the eighth of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like girl /gɜ:l/, go /gəʊ /, leg /leg/.

This consonant sound is voiced. It is known as a plosive. Plosives have a sudden release of trapped air. In this case t he air is trapped behind the back of the tongue and the top of the mouth, palate, before being released. Its unvoiced counterpart is /k/.

The consonant sound in flower

This is the ninth of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like flower /flɑʊə/, photo /fəʊtəʊ/, flop /flɒp/

This consonant sound is unvoiced. It is known as a fricative. Fricatives disrupt the flow of air around parts of the mouth. In this case the air is disrupted by holding the top teeth against the bottom lip. Its voiced counterpart is /v/.

The consonant sound in vase

This is the tenth of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like vase /vɑ:z/, lives /lɑɪvs/, vet /vet/.

This consonant sound is voiced. It is known as a fricative. Fricatives disrupt the flow of air around parts of the mouth. In this case the air is disrupted by holding the top teeth against the bottom lip. Its unvoiced counterpart is /f/.

The consonant sound in thumb

This is the eleventh of the twenty- four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like thumb /θʌm/, thin /θɪn /, bath /bæθ/.

This consonant sound is unvoiced. It is known as a fricative. Fricatives disrupt the flow of air around parts of the mouth. In this case the air is disrupted by holding the tip of the tongue against the top teeth. Its voiced counterpart is /ð/.

The consonant sound in mother

This is the twelfth of the twenty-f our consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like mother /mʌðə/, then /ðen/, bathe /beɪð/.

This consonant sound is voiced. It is known as a fricative. Fricatives disrupt the flow of air around parts of the mouth. In this case the air is disrupted by holding the tip of the tongue against the top teeth. Its unvoiced counterpart is /θ/.

The consonant sound in snake

This is the thirteenth of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like snake /sneɪk/, success /səkˈses/, see /si:/.

This consonant sound is unvoiced. It is known as a fricative. Fricatives disrupt the flow of air around parts of the mouth. In this case the air is disrupted by holding the tip of the tongue near the top gum. Its voiced counterpart is /z/.

The consonant sound in zebra

This is the fourteenth of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like zebra /zebrə/, be zel /ˈbezəl/, Mars /mɑ:z/.

This consonant sound is voiced. It is known as a fricative. Fricatives disrupt the flow of air around parts of the mouth. In this case the air is disrupted by holding the tip of the tongue near the top gum. Its unvoiced counterpart is /s/.

The consonant sound in shower

This is the fifteenth of the twenty -four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like shower /ʃɑʊə/, sugar /ʃʊgə/, dish /dɪʃ/.

This consonant sound is unvoiced. It is known as a fricative. Fricatives disrupt the flow of air around parts of the mouth. In this case the air is disrupted by bunching up the tongue. Its voiced counterpart is /ʒ/.

The consonant sound in vision

This is the sixteenth of the twenty -four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like vision /ˈvɪʒən/, incision /ɪnˈsɪʒən/, decision /dɪˈsɪʒən/.

This consonant sound is voiced. It is known as a fricative. Fricatives disrupt the flow of air around parts of the mouth. In this case the air is disrupted by bunching up the tongue. Its unvoiced counterpart is /ʃ/.

The consonant sound in monkey

This is the seventeenth of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like monkey /ˈmʌŋki:/, me /mi:/, same /seɪm/.

This consonant sound is voiced.

The consonant sound in nose

This is the eighteenth of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like nose /nəʊz/, bone /bəʊn/, pen /pen/.

This consonant sound is voiced.

The consonant sound in singer

This is the nineteenth of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like singing / ˈsɪŋɪŋ/, finger /fɪŋgə/, think /θɪŋk/.

This consonant sound is voiced.

The consonant sound in house

This is the twentieth of the twenty -four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like house /hɑʊs/, horse /hɔ:s/, hot /hɒt/.

This consonant sound is unvoiced.

The consonant sound in leg

This is the twenty-first of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like leg /leg/, pull /pʌl/, elephant /ˈelɪfənt/.

This consonant sound is voiced.

The consonant sound in right

This is the twenty-second of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like right /rɑɪt/, wrong /rɒŋ /, river /rɪvə/.

This consonant sound is voiced.

The consonant sound in woman

This is the twenty-third of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like will /wɪl/, witch /wɪʧ/, win /wɪn/.

This consonant sound is voiced.

The consonant sound in yacht

This is the twenty-fourth of the twenty-four consonant sounds in our British English phonetic chart.

This consonant sound is found in words like yacht /jɒt/, yes /jes/, yellow /jeləʊ/.

This consonant sound is voiced.

Pronouncing the sounds

It is not necessary to do more than be able to accurately pronounce the sound associated with each phonetic symbol. Simply listen to the sound in the lessons and repeat.


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