IPA phoneme /j/
In English, both in Received Pronunciation and in General American, the IPA phonetic symbol /j/ corresponds to the semivowel sound in words like "you", "yellow" and "yes". This sound is called yod /jɒd/.
The sequence /juː/ is very common in English and it has special spellings: "u", "ue", "ew", etc. Before other vowels /j/ is normally spelled "y".
- /j/ as "y"
- beyond - Kenya - yard - year - yellow - yes - yesterday - yet - yield - York - you - young - your - youth
- Before /uː/. Main article: IPA phonetic sequence /juː/
- "u" as /juː/: accumulate - Cuba - cute - distribute - stimulate
- "ue" as /juː/: argue - continue - hue - value
- "ew" as /juː/: few - Matthew - nephew
- "iew" as /juː/: interview - review - view
- Before /ʊə/
- "ur" as /jʊə/: cure - curious - pure - security
- Before /ə/
- "u" as /jə/: accumulate - failure - formula - popular
- "ia" as /jə/: California - Spaniard
- "ie" as /jə/: Daniel
- "io" as /jə/: behaviorAmE - behaviourBrE - million - onion - opinion
- canyon /ˈkænjən/
- emu /ˈiːmjuː/
- fjord /ˈfjɔːrd/
- hallelujah /ˌhælɪˈluːjə/
- lasagna,AmE lasagne,BrE /ləˈzænjə/
- pinata, piñata /pɪnˈjɑːtə/
- savior,AmE saviourBrE /ˈseɪvjər/
- yacht /jɒt/
Many words that have "y" in their spelling don't have a /j/ phoneme in their pronunciation. This in practice means there might be subtle differences in syllabification or a difference in vowel quality. For example "kayak" is /ˈkaɪ.æk/ and not  See IPA phonetic symbol [j]. The pronunciation shown by Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary is shown in square brackets.. In some cases there are alternate pronunciations, as in "lawyer". Note, however, that the realization of some of these vowels may contain a [j] sound, as in royal pronounced [ˈrɔjəl].
|Phoneme||/ɪ/ is [j] according to Merriam-Webster's||Even Merriam-Webster's uses [ɪ]||Several dictionaries use /j/|
|/aɪ/||buyer: /ˈbaɪ.ər/ [ˈbajɚ]||coyote: /kaɪˈəʊ.tiː/ [kaɪˈoʊti], /ˈkaɪ.oʊt/,AmE /kɔɪˈəʊ.tiː/BrE
kayak: /ˈkaɪ.æk/ [ˈkaɪˌæk]
|papaya: /pəˈpaɪə/ [pəˈpajə], /pəˈpɑːjə/|
|/eɪ/||player: /ˈpleɪ.ər/ [ˈplejɚ]||crayon: /ˈkreɪ.ən, ˈkreɪ.ɒn/ [ˈkreɪˌɑːn]|
|/ɔɪ/||employer: /ɪmˈplɔɪ.ər/ [ɪmˈplojɚ]
royal: /ˈrɔɪ.əl/ [ˈrojəl].
|employee: /ɪmˈplɔɪ.iː/ [ɪmˈploɪˌiː]||lawyer: /ˈlɔː.jər/ [ˈlɑːjɚ], /ˈlɔɪ.ər/ [ˈlojɚ]|
Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1
Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following sections aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.
While /j/ is very similar to the "i" in the Spanish diphthongs "ia", "ie", "io" and "iu", most Spanish speakers pronounce the initial /j/ in words like "yes", "young" and "university" like /dʒ/, i.e. they do not distinguish between "yet" and "jet" or "use" and "juice". This problem can be solved by making them notice that several Spanish words have initial /j/, such as hiato or ion, which are different from or .
Conversely, Spanish speakers tend to use /j/ before a vowel where English uses /iː/ (or /ɪ/ in some accents). For example vegetarian might be pronounced instead of /ˌve.dʒəˈteər.iː.ən/, blending the last two syllables into one.