Here is a basic key to the symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet
. For the smaller set of symbols that is sufficient for English, see Help:IPA/English
. Several rare IPA symbols are not included; these are found in the main IPA article
or on the extensive IPA chart
. For the Manual of Style guideline for pronunciation, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation
For each IPA symbol, an English example is given where possible; here "RP" stands for Received Pronunciation
. The foreign languages that are used to illustrate additional sounds are primarily the ones most likely to be familiar to English speakers, French
, Standard German
, and Spanish
. For symbols not covered by those, recourse is taken to the populous languages Standard Chinese
, and Russian
. For sounds still not covered, other smaller but better analyzed languages are used, for example Swahili
(for the Bantu branch
) or Turkish
(for Turkic branch
) for their respective related languages.
The left-hand column displays the symbols like this: . Click on "listen" to hear the sound; click on the symbol itself for a dedicated article with a more complete description and examples from multiple languages. Consonant sounds are spoken once followed by a vowel and once between vowels.
The symbols are arranged by similarity to letters of the Latin alphabet
. Symbols which do not resemble any Latin letter are placed at the end.
Marks added to letters
Several marks can be added above, below, before or after letters. These are here shown on a carrier letter such as the vowel ''a.'' A more complete list is given at .
Two types of brackets are commonly used to enclose transcriptions in the IPA:
*/Slashes/ indicate sounds that are distinguished as the basic units of words in a language by native speakers; these are called phoneme
s. Changing the symbols between these slashes would either change the identity of the word or produce nonsense. For example, since there is no meaningful difference to a native speaker between the two sounds written with the letter L in the word ''lulls,'' they are considered the same phoneme, and so, using slashes, they are given the same symbol in IPA: . Similarly, Spanish ''la bamba'' is transcribed phonemically with two instances of the same ''b'' sound, , despite the fact that they sound different to a speaker of English. Thus a reader who is not familiar with the language in question might not know how to interpret these transcriptions more narrowly.
indicate the narrower or more detailed phonetic
qualities of a pronunciation, not taking into account the norms of the language to which it belongs; therefore, such transcriptions do not regard whether subtly different sounds in the pronunciation are actually noticeable or distinguishable to a native speaker of the language. Within square brackets is what a foreigner who does not know the structure of a language might hear as discrete units of sound. For instance, the English word ''lulls'' may be pronounced in a particular dialect more specifically as , with different letter L sounds at the beginning and end. This may be obvious to speakers of languages that differentiate between the sounds and . Likewise, Spanish ''la bamba'' (pronounced without a pause) has two different b-sounds to the ears of foreigners or linguists——though a native Spanish speaker might not be able to hear it. Omitting or adding such detail does not make a difference to the identity of the word, but helps to give a more precise pronunciation.
A third kind of bracket is occasionally seen:
*Either //double slashes// or |pipes| (or occasionally other conventions) show that the enclosed sounds are theoretical constructs that are not actually heard. (This is part of morphophonology
.) For instance, most phonologists argue that the ''-s'' at the ends of verbs, which surfaces as either in ''talks'' or as in ''lulls'' , has a single underlying form. If they decide this form is an ''s,'' they would write it //s// (or |s|) to claim that phonemic and are essentially and underneath. If they were to decide it was essentially the latter, //z//, they would transcribe these words and .
* are used to set off orthography
, as well as transliteration
from non-Latin scripts. Thus , , the letter . Angle brackets are not supported by all fonts, so a template (shortcut ) is used to ensure maximal compatibility. (Comment there if you're having problems.)
support is increasing, and is now included in several typefaces such as the Times New Roman
versions that come with various recent computer operating systems
are not always properly rendered, however. IPA typefaces that are freely available online include Gentium
, several from the SIL
(such as Charis SIL
, and Doulos SIL
, DejaVu Sans
, and TITUS Cyberbit
, which are all freely available
; as well as commercial typefaces such as Brill, available from Brill Publishers
, and Lucida Sans Unicode
and Arial Unicode MS
, shipping with various Microsoft
products. These all include several ranges of characters in addition to the IPA. Modern Web browser
s generally do not need any configuration to display these symbols, provided that a typeface capable of doing so is available to the operating system.
Particularly, the following symbols may be shown improperly depending on your font:
These two characters should look similar:
If in the box to the left you see the symbol
rather than a lower-case open-tail g, you may be experiencing a well-known bug in the font ''MS Reference Sans Serif''; switching to another font may fix it.
On your current font: ,
and in several other fonts:
The ''tie bar'' is intended to cover both letters of an affricate or doubly articulated consonant. However, if your browser uses Arial Unicode MS to display IPA characters, the following incorrectly formed sequences may look better than the correct order (letter, tie bar, letter) due to a bug in that font:
:ts͡, tʃ͡, tɕ͡, dz͡, dʒ͡, dʑ͡, tɬ͡, kp͡, ɡb͡, ŋm͡.
Here is how the proper configuration displays in your default IPA font:
and in several other fonts:
True angle brackets, ⟨ ⟩, are unsupported by several common fonts. Here is how they display in your default settings:
: (default IPA font)
:⟨...⟩ (default Unicode font),
and in several specific fonts:
Computer input using on-screen keyboard
Online IPA keyboard utilities are available and they cover a range of IPA symbols and diacritics:
IPA i-charts (2018)
IPA character picker
IPA Chart Keyboard
For iOS there are free IPA keyboard layouts, e.g
IPA Phonetic Keyboard
*Extensions to the International Phonetic Alphabet
*IPA charts for diphthongs in various languages
*Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation)#Entering IPA characters
Official interactive IPA chart with letter descriptions, audio, and input assist
MRI videos of production of the sounds of the IPA charts
Ultrasound and MRI videos of production of the sounds of the IPA charts
– for help on getting the screen reader JAWS to read IPA symbols
– web-based IPA synthesizer using Amazon Polly