Wiktionary:International Phonetic Alphabet

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The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. It is intended as a notational standard for the phonemic and phonetic representation of all spoken languages.

This page gives a general overview of the symbols used in the IPA. As it is used for all languages, it would be impractical to explain to English speakers how to pronounce all of the sounds. Therefore, the symbols are grouped based on the features they have, or the parts of the mouth used to pronounce them. A dental consonant, for example, is pronounced using the teeth, while a bilabial consonant uses both lips.

Pages explaining the pronunciation of individual languages can be found in Category:Pronunciation by language.

Consonants (pulmonic)

  Bilabial Labiodental Linguolabial Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal/
Epiglottal
Glottal
Plosive p    b          t    d   ʈ    ɖ c    ɟ k    ɡ q    ɢ ʡ   ʔ  
Nasal m ɱ n   ɳ ɲ ŋ ɴ  
Trill ʙ   r   ɽ͡r     ʀ ʜ    ʢ  
Tap or Flap ⱱ̟ ɾ̼ ɾ̪ ɾ   ɽ     ɢ̆    
Lateral Tap or Flap       ɺ   ɺ̢ ʎ̯ ʟ̆    
Fricative ɸ    β f    v θ̼    ð̼ θ    ð s    z ʃ    ʒ ʂ    ʐ ç    ʝ x    ɣ χ    ʁ ħ    ʕ h    ɦ
Lateral Fricative       ɬ    ɮ   ɬ̢    ɮ̢        
Approximant β̞ ʋ   ð̞ ɹ   ɻ j ɰ      
Lateral Approximant   l   ɭ ʎ ʟ    
  • Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a voiced consonant.
  • Shaded areas denote articulations judged impossible.

Consonants (non-pulmonic)

Clicks Voiced implosives Ejectives
ʘ Bilabial click release ɓ Bilabial voiced implosive ʼ For example:
ǀ Dental click release ɗ Alveolar voiced implosive Bilabial ejective stop
ǃ (Post)alveolar click release Retroflex voiced implosive Alveolar ejective stop
ǂ Palatal click release ʄ Palatal voiced implosive Velar ejective stop
ǃ̢ Retroflex click release ɠ Velar voiced implosive Alveolar ejective fricative
ǁ Lateral click release ʛ Uvular voiced implosive t͡ʃʼ Post-alveolar ejective affricate

Vowels

Front N.-front Central N.-back Back
Close
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
iy
ɨʉ
ɯu
ɪʏ
eø
ɘɵ
ɤo
ɛœ
ɜɞ
ʌɔ
aɶ
ɑɒ
Near-close
Close-mid
Mid
Open-mid
Near-open
Open
  • Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel.

Co-articulated consonants

ʍ Voiceless labial-velar fricative
w Voiced labial-velar approximant
ɥ Voiced labial-palatal approximant
ɕ ʑ Alveolo-palatal fricatives
ɧ Simultaneous ʃ and x
  • Affricates and double articulations can be represented by two symbols joined by a tie bar if necessary:
    k͡p   t͡s

Suprasegmentals

ˈ Primary stress (indicated before the stressed element)
ˌ Secondary stress (indicated before the stressed element)
ː Long
ˑ Half-long
˘ Extra-short
. Syllable break
ǀ Minor (foot) group
ǁ Major (intonation) group
Linking (absence of a break)

Tones and word accents

˥ Extra-high (top) tone
˦ Mid-high tone
˧ Mid tone
˨ Mid-low tone
˩ Extra-low (bottom) tone
Upstep and downstep

Tone letters may come before or after a word or syllable. In the IPA Handbook, they come before to indicate prosodic pitch in Portuguese, and after to indicate lexical tone in Cantonese.

They may also face left or right. The distinction is used for tone sandhi.

Upstep and downstep always come before the syllable.

Diacritics

Diacritics may be placed above a symbol with a descender, e.g. ŋ̊.

  ̥  Voiceless   ̤  Breathy voiced   ̪  Dental
  ̬  Voiced   ̰  Creaky voiced   ̺  Apical
 ʰ  Aspirated   ̼  Linguolabial   ̻  Laminal
 ˒  More rounded  ʷ  Labialized   ̃  Nasalized
 ˓  Less rounded  ʲ  Palatalized  ⁿ  Nasal release
 ˖  Advanced  ˠ  Velarized  ˡ  Lateral release
 ˗  Retracted  ˁ  Pharyngealized   ̚  No audible release
  ̈  Centralized   ̴  Velarized or pharyngealized
  ̽  Mid-centralized   ̝  Raised (ɹ̝ = voiced alveolar fricative)
  ̩  Syllabic   ̞  Lowered (β̞ = voiced bilabial approximant)
  ̯  Non-syllabic   ̘  Advanced tongue root
 ˞  Rhoticity   ̙  Retracted tongue root
   ͍  Labial spreading    ͈  Strong articulation    ͊  Denasal
   ͆  Dentolabial    ͉  Weak articulation    ͋  Nasal escape
  ̪͆  Interdental/Bidental  \  Reiterated articulation    ͌  Velopharyngeal friction
  ̳  Alveolar    ͎  Whistled articulation   ↓  Ingressive airflow
  ̼  Linguolabial    ͢   Sliding articulation   ↑  Egressive airflow

See also