International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) Symbols

In the nineteenth century, a group of linguists created the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The main idea of IPA is that each pronounced sound should be represented as one phonetic symbol. The official IPA chart contains:

  • 107 phonetic symbols for consonants and vowels,
  • 31 symbols for diacritics which are used to modify consonants and vowels sounds,
  • 19 additional symbols that indicate the length, tone, stress and intonation.

Some sites, such as or, offer interactive IPA charts online where you can listen to each and every IPA sound. But I don't think you will want to learn them all. It is easier to learn phonetic symbols as part of the words of the language you learn. If you learn English, for example, listen to English words while looking at their phonetic transcription and pronounce them at the same time. Your brain will link English phonetic symbols with English sounds. Eventually, you will be able to read English words correctly when you see their phonetic transcription.

IPA phonetic charts with word examples are available for the following languages: