International Phonetic Alphabet

From Teflpedia

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is the standardised system of phonetic symbols maintained by the International Phonetic Association (also, confusingly, IPA) and used by linguists worldwide to transcribe the speech sounds from all known spoken languages, including English, which can be transcribed using a limited subset of these.

Symbols and chart[edit | edit source]

The symbols used are based on those from the Latin and Greek alphabets. Generally consonant letters (except /y/) and derived symbols represent consonant sounds, whereas vowel letters (plus /y/) represent vowel sounds. Each symbol represents a unique sound such that the alphabetic principle is strictly followed.

Each sound is allocated an IPA number.

The following is a standard chart for sounds in any language. Each symbol represents a precise sound.

IPA chart 2005.png

IPA for English phonemes[edit | edit source]

Every language needs an adaptation of the chart in the previous section for its phonemes. For example intervocalic English phoneme /t/ is represented in the table by the symbols [t], [ʔ] and [ɾ], which describe the "t" sound used in different dialects. /t/ on the other hand, is any sound perceived by English speakers as being the same as in better [ˈbɛtəɹ, ˈbɛʔə, ˈbɛɾəɹ] which in broad or phonemic notation is /ˈbetər/.

IPA vowel phonemes for Received Pronunciation
ɪ ʊ ɪə
fleece - happy kit foot goose near face
e ə ɜː ɔː ʊə ɔɪ əʊ
dress comma - letter nurse thought
north - force
cure choice goat
æ ʌ ɑː ɒ
trap strut bath - start
lot - cloth square price mouth
IPA vowel phonemes for General American

In this table we use /oʊ/ instead of /əʊ/ and /ɛ/ instead of /e/, as is customary in American dictionaries. However in Teflpedia we use /əʊ/ and /e/ for uniformity. Most American Dictionaries prefer /ɑ, ɜ, i, ɔ, u/ instead of /ɑː, ɜː, iː, ɔː, uː/.

ɪ ʊ
fleece - happy kit - near foot - cure goose face
ɛ ə ɜː ɔː ɔɪ
dress - square comma - letter nurse thought - cloth
north - force
choice goat
æ ʌ ɑː
trap - bath strut start - palm - lot price mouth
IPA consonant phonemes
p t k f θ s ʃ
pet tea kiss fit thin sit shoe chat
b d g v ð z ʒ
boat do go vote this zoo pleasure job
h m n ŋ r l w j
hot me no sing red like wet yes

Pedagogy[edit | edit source]

Knowledge of all the symbols is generally unnecessary for either EFL teachers or EFL learners. However, knowledge of the English-specific symbols is probably a good idea.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]