IPA phoneme /ɔɪ/

From Teflpedia

Strict IPA


choice /t͡ʃɔɪ̯s/



choice /tʃɔɪs/

In English, both in Received Pronunciation and in General American, the IPA phonetic symbol /ɔɪ/ corresponds to the vowel sound in words like "toy" and "coin". The spelling of this sound is very straightforward: normally "oy" at the end of the syllable and "oi" in other positions. In the words in this page the only exceptions are proper nouns (Joyce, Floyd, Lloyd and Freudian).

In strict IPA diphthongs need an inverted breve under their less prominent vowel: /ɔɪ̯/. However the notation we are using does not have the symbol /ɔ/ by itself (it has /ɔː/), and therefore we know that the sequence /ɔɪ/ has an implied inverted breve below /ɪ/.

In addition to the more common pronunciation [ɔɪ], the sound of this phoneme can have many variations such as [oɪ],[1][2] [ɑi] or even [ɔjɪ].[3]

Common words[edit]

Some common words which practice the pronunciation of /ɔɪ/ include the following:

  • with "oi": appoint - avoid - choice - coin - Illinois /ˌɪləˈnɔɪ/ - join - joint - noise - oil - point - soil - spoil - voice
Exceptions: "oi" as /əʊɪ/: coincide - going
  • with "oy": boy - destroy - destroyer - employ - employee - employer - enjoy - Floyd - joy - Joyce - Lloyd - royal - toy

There is a tendency in English to move to the previous syllable a /j/ sound that is at the beginning of a syllable. Then /V.jV/ becomes /Vɪ.V/. For example "lawyer" has a common pronunciation of /ˈlɔ:jər/ but it can also be pronounced /ˈlɔɪər/. Similarly for "sawyer": /ˈsɔ:jər/ or (less frequently) /ˈsɔɪər/.

Less common words[edit]

  • with "oi": android - boil - foil - moisture - ointment - poison - sirloin - toilet
  • with "oy": annoy - boycott - oyster - royal - soy
  • Other: Freudian

Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1[edit]

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.



  1. Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary, choice.
  2. Wikipedia, Australian English phonology.
  3. Phonetics: A Contemporary Approach, Arden R. Thorum, p. 126. Available in Google Books.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]