IPA Chart for American English

You can obtain the phonetic transcription of English words automatically with the English phonetic translator.

On this page, you will find charts with all American English consonant and vowel sounds.

You can choose one of the two phonetic transcription systems (both use IPA symbols):

  1. Broad, or phonemic, transcription, for example, /ˈwɔtɚ/
  2. Narrow transcription, for example, [ˈwɔɾɚ]

To understand the difference, read the footnotes and learn what allophones and phonemes are and how they will help you improve your pronunciation in English.

Click on any word in the chart to watch a video with a native speaker pronouncing this word!

 

Consonants in American English

Phonetic transcription:
narrow broad (phonemic) both

Allophone Phoneme At the beginning of a word In the middle of a word At the end of a word
[p] /p/ place
[ˈpleɪs]
/ˈpleɪs/
company
[ˈkʰʌmpənɪ]
/ˈkʌmpənɪ/
group
[ˈɡɹup]
/ˈɡɹup/
[pʰ] /p/ part
[ˈpʰɑrt]
/ˈpɑrt/
support
[səˈpʰɔrt]
/səˈpɔrt/
-
[b] /b/ be
[ˈbi]
/ˈbi/
number
[ˈnʌmbɚ]
/ˈnʌmbɚ/
job
[ˈdʒɑb]
/ˈdʒɑb/
[t] /t/ today
[təˈdeɪ]
/təˈdeɪ/
still
[ˈstɪɫ]
/ˈstɪl/
get
[ˈɡɛt]
/ˈɡɛt/
[tʰ] /t/ two
[ˈtʰu]
/ˈtu/
attention
[əˈtʰɛnʃən]
/əˈtɛnʃən/
-
[ɾ] /t/ or /d/ - water
[ˈwɔɾɚ]
/ˈwɔtɚ/
-
[ʔ] /t/ - certain
[ˈsɝʔn̩]
/ˈsɝtn̩/
-
[d] /d/ day
[ˈdeɪ]
/ˈdeɪ/
words
[ˈwɝdz]
/ˈwɝdz/
need
[ˈnid]
/ˈnid/
[k] /k/ quite
[ˈkwaɪt]
/ˈkwaɪt/
next
[ˈnɛkst]
/ˈnɛkst/
like
[ˈlaɪk]
/ˈlaɪk/
[kʰ] /k/ come
[ˈkʰʌm]
/ˈkʌm/
account
[əˈkʰaʊnt]
/əˈkaʊnt/
-
[ɡ] /ɡ/ go
[ˈɡoʊ]
/ˈɡoʊ/
together
[təˈɡɛðɚ]
/təˈɡɛðɚ/
big
[ˈbɪɡ]
/ˈbɪɡ/
[m] /m/ me
[ˈmi]
/ˈmi/
women
[ˈwɪmən]
/ˈwɪmən/
same
[ˈseɪm]
/ˈseɪm/
[m̩] /m̩/ - circumstances
[ˈsɝkm̩ˌstænsəz]
/ˈsɝkm̩ˌstænsəz/
-
[n] /n/ know
[ˈnoʊ]
/ˈnoʊ/
another
[əˈnʌðɚ]
/əˈnʌðɚ/
then
[ˈðɛn]
/ˈðɛn/
[n̩] /n̩/ - student
[ˈstudn̩t]
/ˈstudn̩t/
person
[ˈpʰɝsn̩]
/ˈpɝsn̩/
[ŋ] /ŋ/ - think
[ˈθɪŋk]
/ˈθɪŋk/
thing
[ˈθɪŋ]
/ˈθɪŋ/
[f] /f/ few
[ˈfju]
/ˈfju/
often
[ˈɔfən]
/ˈɔfən/
life
[ˈlaɪf]
/ˈlaɪf/
[v] /v/ voice
[ˈvɔɪs]
/ˈvɔɪs/
ever
[ˈɛvɚ]
/ˈɛvɚ/
give
[ˈɡɪv]
/ˈɡɪv/
[θ] /θ/ three
[ˈθɹi]
/ˈθɹi/
nothing
[ˈnʌθɪŋ]
/ˈnʌθɪŋ/
death
[ˈdɛθ]
/ˈdɛθ/
[ð] /ð/ there
[ˈðɛr]
/ˈðɛr/
mother
[ˈmʌðɚ]
/ˈmʌðɚ/
smooth
[ˈsmuð]
/ˈsmuð/
[s] /s/ say
[ˈseɪ]
/ˈseɪ/
also
[ˈɔɫˌsoʊ]
/ˈɔlˌsoʊ/
yes
[ˈjɛs]
/ˈjɛs/
[z] /z/ zone
[ˈzoʊn]
/ˈzoʊn/
music
[ˈmjuzɪk]
/ˈmjuzɪk/
does
[ˈdʌz]
/ˈdʌz/
[ʃ] /ʃ/ she
[ˈʃi]
/ˈʃi/
social
[ˈsoʊʃəɫ]
/ˈsoʊʃəl/
fish
[ˈfɪʃ]
/ˈfɪʃ/
[ʒ] /ʒ/ genre
[ˈʒɑnɹə]
/ˈʒɑnɹə/
decision
[dɪˈsɪʒən]
/dɪˈsɪʒən/
garage
[ɡɚˈɹɑʒ]
/ɡɚˈɹɑʒ/
[h] /h/ how
[ˈhaʊ]
/ˈhaʊ/
perhaps
[pɚˈhæps]
/pɚˈhæps/
-
[tʃ] /tʃ/ child
[ˈtʃaɪəɫd]
/ˈtʃaɪəld/
teacher
[ˈtʰitʃɚ]
/ˈtitʃɚ/
much
[ˈmʌtʃ]
/ˈmʌtʃ/
[dʒ] /dʒ/ just
[ˈdʒʌst]
/ˈdʒʌst/
major
[ˈmeɪdʒɚ]
/ˈmeɪdʒɚ/
age
[ˈeɪdʒ]
/ˈeɪdʒ/
[j] /j/ yet
[ˈjɛt]
/ˈjɛt/
million
[ˈmɪɫjən]
/ˈmɪljən/
-
[w] /w/ when
[ˈwɛn]
/ˈwɛn/
away
[əˈweɪ]
/əˈweɪ/
-
[ɹ] /ɹ/ right
[ˈɹaɪt]
/ˈɹaɪt/
through
[ˈθɹu]
/ˈθɹu/
-
[l] /l/ last
[ˈlæst]
/ˈlæst/
believe
[bəˈliv]
/bəˈliv/
-
[ɫ] /l/ - old
[ˈoʊɫd]
/ˈoʊld/
well
[ˈwɛɫ]
/ˈwɛl/
[ɫ̩] /l̩/ - models
[ˈmɑɾɫ̩z]
/ˈmɑdl̩z/
little
[ˈlɪɾɫ̩]
/ˈlɪtl̩/

 

Vowels in American English

Phonetic transcription:
narrow broad (phonemic) both

Allophone Phoneme At the beginning of a word In the middle of a word At the end of a word
[i] /i/ even
[ˈivən]
/ˈivən/
these
[ˈðiz]
/ˈðiz/
we
[ˈwi]
/ˈwi/
[ɪ] /ɪ/ if
[ˈɪf]
/ˈɪf/
which
[ˈwɪtʃ]
/ˈwɪtʃ/
many
[ˈmɛnɪ]
/ˈmɛnɪ/
[e] /e/ - vacation
[veˈkʰeɪʃən]
/veˈkeɪʃən/
-
[ɛ] /ɛ/ any
[ˈɛnɪ]
/ˈɛnɪ/
said
[ˈsɛd]
/ˈsɛd/
-
[æ] /æ/ ask
[ˈæsk]
/ˈæsk/
back
[ˈbæk]
/ˈbæk/
-
[u] /u/ oozing
[ˈuzɪŋ]
/ˈuzɪŋ/
school
[ˈskuɫ]
/ˈskul/
who
[ˈhu]
/ˈhu/
[ʊ] /ʊ/ - good
[ˈɡʊd]
/ˈɡʊd/
-
[o] /o/ okay
[oˈkʰeɪ]
/oˈkeɪ/
November
[noˈvɛmbɚ]
/noˈvɛmbɚ/
-
[ɔ] /ɔ/ all
[ˈɔɫ]
/ˈɔl/
want
[ˈwɔnt]
/ˈwɔnt/
saw
[ˈsɔ]
/ˈsɔ/
[ɑ] /ɑ/ October
[ɑkˈtʰoʊbɚ]
/ɑkˈtoʊbɚ/
not
[ˈnɑt]
/ˈnɑt/
grandma
[ˈɡɹændˌmɑ]
/ˈɡɹændˌmɑ/
[ə] /ə/ about
[əˈbaʊt]
/əˈbaʊt/
people
[ˈpʰipəɫ]
/ˈpipəl/
idea
[aɪˈdiə]
/aɪˈdiə/
[ʌ] /ʌ/ other
[ˈʌðɚ]
/ˈʌðɚ/
one
[ˈwʌn]
/ˈwʌn/
-

 

R-colored vowels in American English

Phonetic transcription:
narrow broad (phonemic) both

Allophone Phoneme At the beginning of a word In the middle of a word At the end of a word
[ɚ] /ɚ/ around
[ɚˈɹaʊnd]
/ɚˈɹaʊnd/
percent
[pɚˈsɛnt]
/pɚˈsɛnt/
never
[ˈnɛvɚ]
/ˈnɛvɚ/
[ɝ] /ɝ/ early
[ˈɝlɪ]
/ˈɝlɪ/
first
[ˈfɝst]
/ˈfɝst/
sir
[ˈsɝ]
/ˈsɝ/
[ɪr] /ɪr/ ears
[ˈɪrz]
/ˈɪrz/
years
[ˈjɪrz]
/ˈjɪrz/
here
[ˈhɪr]
/ˈhɪr/
[ɛr] /ɛr/ airport
[ˈɛrˌpɔrt]
/ˈɛrˌpɔrt/
therefore
[ˈðɛrˌfɔr]
/ˈðɛrˌfɔr/
where
[ˈwɛr]
/ˈwɛr/
[ʊr] /ʊr/ - insurance
[ɪnˈʃʊrəns]
/ɪnˈʃʊrəns/
sure
[ˈʃʊr]
/ˈʃʊr/
[ɔr] /ɔr/ order
[ˈɔrɾɚ]
/ˈɔrdɚ/
morning
[ˈmɔrnɪŋ]
/ˈmɔrnɪŋ/
more
[ˈmɔr]
/ˈmɔr/
[ɑr] /ɑr/ art
[ˈɑrt]
/ˈɑrt/
large
[ˈlɑrdʒ]
/ˈlɑrdʒ/
far
[ˈfɑr]
/ˈfɑr/

 

Diphthongs in American English

Phonetic transcription:
narrow broad (phonemic) both

Allophone Phoneme At the beginning of a word In the middle of a word At the end of a word
[aɪ] /aɪ/ eyes
[ˈaɪz]
/ˈaɪz/
time
[ˈtʰaɪm]
/ˈtaɪm/
why
[ˈwaɪ]
/ˈwaɪ/
[aʊ] /aʊ/ out
[ˈaʊt]
/ˈaʊt/
down
[ˈdaʊn]
/ˈdaʊn/
now
[ˈnaʊ]
/ˈnaʊ/
[ɔɪ] /ɔɪ/ oil
[ˈɔɪəɫ]
/ˈɔɪəl/
point
[ˈpʰɔɪnt]
/ˈpɔɪnt/
boy
[ˈbɔɪ]
/ˈbɔɪ/
[eɪ] /e/ able
[ˈeɪbəɫ]
/ˈeɪbəl/
make
[ˈmeɪk]
/ˈmeɪk/
way
[ˈweɪ]
/ˈweɪ/
[oʊ] /o/ over
[ˈoʊvɚ]
/ˈoʊvɚ/
both
[ˈboʊθ]
/ˈboʊθ/
so
[ˈsoʊ]
/ˈsoʊ/

 

Footnotes for the IPA chart

Phonemes and allophones – definitions

A phoneme is a speech sound that is capable of changing the meaning of a word. For example, substituting the last sound in the word kiss with the sound /l/ creates another word – kill. Therefore, /s/ and /l/ are phonemes.

Phonemic transcription uses phonemes to show the pronunciation of words. It is written between slashes, as in the examples below:

  • kiss /ˈkɪs/
  • kill /ˈkɪl/

This type of transcription is sometimes called broad since it doesn't show small differences between similar sounds. To show the exact pronunciation of a word, narrow transcription is needed. For the same two words, for example, we would write:

  • kiss [ˈkʰɪs]
  • kill [ˈkʰɪɫ]

Note that in narrow transcription, square brackets are used instead of slashes. In our example, narrow transcription also uses slightly different symbols. Why? Because each phoneme in a language may have several different pronunciations. These variant pronunciations of the same phoneme are called allophones.

Let's take the phoneme /k/, for example. In English there are two allophones of /k/:

  • unaspirated [k], as in quite [ˈkwaɪt]
  • aspirated [kʰ] with a strong burst of breath after the release, as in kill [ˈkʰɪɫ]

Now you may wonder – why do I need to know all this? It looks complicated! Well, at first sight, it is. But if you really want to improve your pronunciation and sound like a native speaker, I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with all the allophones (different variants) of each phoneme in English language.

Let's take the phoneme /t/, for example, in the following English words: today, two, water, certain. If you look up their pronunciation in a dictionary, most likely you will find something like this:

  • today /təˈdeɪ/
  • two /ˈtuː/
  • water /ˈwɔtɚ/ or /ˈwɔtər/
  • certain /ˈsɝt(ə)n/

All four words have the "same" phoneme /t/. But does it sound the same? No! In narrow transcription (which shows the exact pronunciation, remember?) the same words would be transcribed like this:

  • today [təˈdeɪ]
  • two [ˈtʰu]
  • water [ˈwɔɾɚ]
  • certain [ˈsɝʔn̩]

That means that the phoneme /t/ has at least four allophones:

  • unaspirated [t],
  • aspirated [tʰ],
  • alveolar tap [ɾ] which sounds almost like [d],
  • glottal stop [ʔ] which is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract (glottis).

When you use English phonetic translator on this site and want to obtain narrow transcription, make sure to select the following options (the second option is only available for American English):

  • Insert the symbol [ʰ] after aspirated consonants
  • Display allophones for phonemes /t/ and /l/

Conversely, if you want to obtain broad transcription, unselect these two options.

IPA symbols used in this chart

The phonetic symbols used in this IPA chart may be slightly different from what you will find in other sources, including in this comprehensive IPA chart for English dialects in Wikipedia.

It was difficult to decide which set of IPA symbols to use for English phonetic translator and the IPA chart on this page. I eventually decided to follow the recommendations from the book by Larry H. Small Fundamentals of Phonetics, 4th Edition. The book provides a very good summary of all the content from other sources.

In the following table, you will find the features of the phonetic transcription used in this book.

Feature Transcription in Fundamentals of Phonetics Transcription in most American English dictionaries
Syllabic consonants /l̩/, /m̩/ and /n̩/ are displayed with a little vertical line below.
Example words: little, student
/ˈlɪtl̩/
/ˈstudn̩t/
/ˈlɪt(ə)l/
/ˈstud(ə)nt/
Stressed /ˈər/ is written as /ɝ/, unstressed /ər/ – as /ɚ/.
Example words: first, other
/ˈfɝst/
/ˈʌðɚ/
/ˈfərst/
/ˈʌðər/
Final unstressed /i/ is written as /ɪ/.
Example words: very, early
/ˈvɛrɪ/
/ˈɝlɪ/
/ˈvɛriː/
/ˈərliː/
Unstressed /eɪ/ is written as /e/, unstressed /oʊ/ – as /o/. In the final position they remain diphthongs /eɪ/ and /oʊ/ even if unstressed.
Example words: vacation, photos
/veˈkeɪʃən/
/ˈfoʊtoz/
/ˈfoʊtoʊ/
/veɪˈkeɪʃən/
/ˈfoʊtoʊz/
/ˈfoʊtoʊ/
No elongation symbol [ː] is used for the phonemes /u/ and /i/.
Example words: eat, group
/ˈit/
/ˈɡɹup/
/ˈiːt/
/ˈɡɹuːp/