International Phonetic Alphabet

  • In the news

  • North Clarion Amateur Radio Club blows competition out of the ...
    Clarion News, PA -
    ... call sign W3NCS) took first-place making them international champions, blowing away ... and throughout the competition, teaching them the phonetic alphabet and how ...
  • When to use ‘bring’ and ‘take’
    The Malaysia Star, Malaysia -
    ... The use of the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) is the finest aid to correct pronunciation and it is a pity that the standard keyboard is not equipped ...
  • Beijing's language environment facing big challenges
    China Daily, China -
    ... trend, as once a city is referred to as an international metropolis, foreigners ... The scheme of the Chinese phonetic alphabet, or Pinyin, however, has been used ...
  • Meanwhile: The perfect name for the latest storm
    International Herald Tribune, France -
    ... Maria." (And yes, that was the inspiration for the song.) By 1950, meteorologists were using names from the military's "Able-Baker-Charley" phonetic alphabet. ...
  • What IPA stands for
    The Malaysia Star, Malaysia -
    ... and many times before, I have come across the term “IPA” in your column where it was always referred to as “International Phonetic Alphabet” by your ...
This article is about the alphabet officially used in linguistics. NATO phonetic alphabet ("alpha bravo") has been informally and nonstandardly called the International Phonetic Alphabet as well. ------

The International Phonetic Alphabet was originally developed by British and French phoneticians under the auspices of the International Phonetic Association, established in Paris in 1886 (both the organisation and the phonetic script are best known as IPA). It is intended as a notational standard for the phonetic representation of all languages. The alphabet has undergone a number of revisions during its history, including some major ones codified by the IPA Kiel Convention (1989); the most recent revision was in 1993, updated again in 1996. Most letters are taken from the Roman alphabet or derived from it, some are taken from the Greek alphabet, and some are apparently unrelated to any standard alphabet.

1 Description

2 Chart

3 See also

4 External links

5 References

Table of contents


The sound-values of the consonants that are identical to those in the Latin alphabet in most cases correspond to English usage. [p], [b], [t], [d], [k], [g], [m], [n], [f], [v], [s], [h], [z], [l]. [w].

The vowel symbols that are identical to those in the Latin alphabet ([a], [e], [i], [o], [u]) correspond roughly to the vowels of Spanish or Italian. [i] is like the vowel in meet, [u] like the vowel in food, etc.

Most of the other symbols that are shared with the Latin alphabet, like [j], [r], [c], and [y], correspond to sounds those letters represent in other languages. [j] has the sound value of English y in yoke (= German or Dutch j); whereas [y] has the Scandinavian or Old English value of the letter (= German y or ü or French u). The general principle is to use one symbol for one speech segment, avoiding letter combinations such as sh and th in English orthography.

Letters that have shapes that are modified Latin letters usually correspond to a similar sound. For example, all the retroflex consonants have the same symbol as the equivalent alveolar consonants, except with a rightward pointing hook coming out of the bottom.

Diacritic marks can be combined with IPA signs to transcribe slightly modified phonetic values or secondary articulations. There are also special symbols for suprasegmental features such as stress and tone.

When characters from the IPA phonetic alphabet are embedding in another script they are isolated from from the rest of the text with either solidus ("/") or square brackets ("[" and "]"). Properly the brackets should be used when a narrow phonetic transcription is given, for example the English word "hill" would be [çɪʟ]. Solidi are used when a broad phonemic transcription is given, "hill" would be /hil/.








Download the IPA chart in PDF 1000 pixel wide PNG of the entire chart

See also

External links


  • Daniel Jones, English pronouncing dictionary, London, Dent, 14th ed., 1989.