Phonetic symbols

A phoneme is the smallest sound in a language. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of letters and symbols that are used to represent the individual sounds of a language.

The table below lists the IPA symbols used in Pronunciation Coach for American English. Click on the links to watch a short video of how each sound is produced.

Phonetic symbol Example Phonetic spelling Video
/i/ beat /b/ /i/ /t/ How to pronounce the /i/ sound
/ɪ/ bit /b/ /ɪ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /ɪ/ sound
/e/ bait /b/ /e/ /t/ How to pronounce the /e/ sound
/ɛ/ bet /b/ /ɛ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /ɛ/ sound
/æ/ bat /b/ /æ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /æ/ sound
/ʌ/ but /b/ /ʌ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /ʌ/ sound
/ə/ about /ə/ /b/ /o/ /t/ How to pronounce the /ə/ sound
/ɚ/ bird /b/ /ɚ/ /d/ How to pronounce the /ɚ/ sound
/u/ boot /b/ /u/ /t/ How to pronounce the /u/ sound
/ʊ/ book /b/ /ʊ/ /k/ How to pronounce the /ʊ/ sound
/o/ boat /b/ /o/ /t/ How to pronounce the /o/ sound
/ɔ/ bought /b/ /ɔ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /ɔ/ sound
/ɑ/ bob /b/ /ɑ/ /b/ How to pronounce the /ɑ/ sound
/ɑɪ/ bite /b/ /ɑɪ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /ɑɪ/ sound
/ɑʊ/ brown /b/ /r/ /ɑʊ/ /n/ How to pronounce the /ɑʊ/ sound
/ɔɪ/ boy /b/ /ɔɪ/ How to pronounce the /ɔɪ/ sound
/p/ pot /p/ /ɑ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /p/ sound
/b/ bet /b/ /ɛ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /b/ sound
/d/ dog /d/ /ɔ/ /g/ How to pronounce the /d/ sound
/t/ top /t/ /ɑ/ /p/ How to pronounce the /t/ sound
/k/ kit /k/ /ɪ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /k/ sound
/g/ got /g/ /ɑ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /g/ sound
/f/ fog /f/ /ɔ/ /g/ How to pronounce the /f/ sound
/v/ vat /v/ /æ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /v/ sound
/ɵ/ thick /ɵ/ /ɪ/ /k/ How to pronounce the /ɵ/ sound
/ð/ that /ð/ /æ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /ð/ sound
/s/ sat /s/ /æ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /s/ sound
/z/ zoo /z/ /u/ How to pronounce the /z/ sound
/ʃ/ shut /ʃ/ /ʌ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /ʃ/ sound
/ʒ/ measure /m/ /ɛ/ /ʒ/ /ɚ/ How to pronounce the /ʒ/ sound
/h/ help /h/ /ɛ/ /l/ /p/ How to pronounce the /h/ sound
/ʧ/ church /ʧ/ /ɚ/ /ʧ/ How to pronounce the /ʧ/ sound
/ʤ/ jump /ʤ/ /ʌ/ /m/ /p/ How to pronounce the /ʤ/ sound
/m/ mom /m/ /ɑ/ /m/ How to pronounce the /m/ sound
/n/ nod /n/ /ɑ/ /d/ How to pronounce the /n/ sound
/ŋ/ thing /ɵ/ /ɪ/ /ŋ/ How to pronounce the /ŋ/ sound
/l/ lot /l/ /ɑ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /l/ sound
/r/ rat /r/ /æ/ /t/ How to pronounce the /r/ sound
/w/ won /w/ /ʌ/ /n/ How to pronounce the /w/ sound
/j/ you /j/ /u/ How to pronounce the /j/ sound