English as an Additional Language/Pronunciation

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The symbols used for consonants are shown in the following table. Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the left is voiceless, the one to the right voiced.

  Bi­labial Labio-
Den­tal Alveo­lar Post-
Pala­tal Velar Glot­tal
Stop p  b       t  d     k  g  
Affricate           tʃ  dʒ      
Nasal m       n     ŋ  
Fricative   f  v   θ  ð s  z ʃ  ʒ   (x) h
Approximant     (ʍ)  w   ɹ   j    
  • /p/: pit
  • /b/: bit
  • /t/: tin
  • /d/: din
  • /k/: cut
  • /ɡ/: gut
  • /tʃ/: cheap
  • /dʒ/: jeep
  • /m/: map
  • /n/: nap
  • /ŋ/: bang
  • /f/: fat
  • /v/: vat
  • /θ/: thin
  • /ð/: then
  • /s/: sap
  • /z/: zap
  • /ʃ/: she
  • /ʒ/: measure
  • /x/: loch, Chanukah (often replaced by /-k/ and /h-/, respectively)
  • /h/: ham
  • /ʍ/: whine (also written /hw/, often replaced by /w/)
  • /w/: we
  • /ɹ/: run (often written /r/ in broad transcription)
  • /j/: yes
  • /l/: left


Received Pronunciation[edit]

Received Pronunciation is the prestige British accent, sometimes referred to as BBC English. It is used as the standard in most media within Great Britain.

Full vowels[edit]

Full vowels are those that appear in stressed syllables.

Monophthongs Short Long
Front Back Front Central Back
Close ɪ ʊ  
Mid ɛ ʌ   ɜː ɔː
Open æ ɒ   ɑː
  • /ɪ/: bid
  • /ʊ/: good
  • /ɛ/: bed (sometimes transcribed /e/)
  • /ʌ/: bud
  • /æ/: bat (sometimes transcribed /a/)
  • /ɒ/: pot
  • /iː/: bead
  • /uː/: booed
  • /ɜː/: bird (sometimes transcribed /əː/)
  • /ɔː/: bought, board
  • /ɑː/: father, bard
Diphthongs Closing Centring
to /ɪ/ to /ʊ/
Starting close     ɪə  ʊə
Starting mid eɪ  ɔɪ əʊ ɛə
Starting open  
  • /eɪ/: bay
  • /ɔɪ/: boy
  • /əʊ/: toe
  • /aɪ/: buy (sometimes transcribed /ʌɪ/)
  • /aʊ/: cow
  • /ɪə/: beer
  • /ʊə/: boor (falling out of use in British English; often replaced by /ɔː/)
  • /ɛə/: bear (sometimes transcribed /ɛː/)

Reduced vowels[edit]

Reduced vowels occur in unstressed syllables.

  • /ɪ/: roses
  • /ə/: Rosa’s, runner
  • /l̩/: bottle
  • /n̩/: button
  • /m̩/: rhythm

General American[edit]

General American is the standardized accent of the United States, and is the dialect most commonly used in spoken media there.

Full vowels[edit]

Monophthongs Checked Free
Front Central Back Front Central
Close ɪ   ʊ i   u
Close-mid       e   o
Open-mid ɛ ʌ     ɝ ɔ
Open æ         ɑ
  • /ɪ/: bid
  • /ʊ/: good
  • /ɛ/: bed
  • /ʌ/: bud
  • /æ/: bad
  • /i/: bead
  • /u/: booed
  • /e/: bayed
  • /o/: bode
  • /ɝ/: bird
  • /ɔ/ or /ɑ/: bought
  • /ɑ/: body, pod, father

Note: the vowels /e/ and /o/ are usually diphthongal, so the transcriptions /eɪ/ and /oʊ/ are also often used.[1]

Diphthongs Closing Rhotacized
to /ɪ/ to /ʊ/
Starting close     ɪɹ  ʊɹ
Starting mid ɔɪ   ɛɹ  ɔɹ
Starting open ɑɹ
  • /ɔɪ/: boy
  • /aɪ/: buy, thigh
  • /aʊ/: bout, cow
  • /ɪɹ/: beer, here
  • /ʊɹ/: boor, manure (often replaced by /ɝ/, sometimes by /ɔɹ/ in American English)
  • /ɛɹ/: bear, air
  • /ɔɹ/: bore (sometimes phonemicized /oɹ/)
  • /ɑɹ/: bar

Reduced vowels[edit]

  • /ɨ/: roses (for many Americans merged with /ə/)
  • /ə/: Rosa’s
  • /ɚ/: runner
  • /l̩/: bottle
  • /n̩/: button
  • /m̩/: rhythm

General Australian[edit]

Full vowels[edit]

Monophthongs Short Long
Front Central Back Front Central Back
Close ɪ   ʊ ʉː  
Mid e   ɔ ɜː
Open æ a   æː  
  • /ɪ/: bid
  • /ʊ/: good
  • /e/: bed
  • /ɔ/: pot
  • /æ/: bat
  • /a/: bud
  • /iː/: bead
  • /ʉː/: booed
  • /eː/: bared
  • /ɜː/: bird
  • /oː/: bought, board
  • /æː/: bad
  • /aː/: father, bard
Diphthongs Closing Centring
to unrounded to rounded
Starting close     ɪə  ʊə
Starting mid əʉ  
Starting open æɪ  ɑe æɔ  
  • /oɪ/: boy
  • /əʉ/: toe
  • /æɪ/: bay
  • /ɑe/: buy
  • /æɔ/: cow
  • /ɪə/: beer
  • /ʊə/: tour (falling out of use in Australian English; often replaced by disyllabic /ʉːə/ or monophthongal /oː/)

Reduced vowels[edit]

  • /ə/: roses, Rosa’s, runner
  • /l̩/: bottle
  • /n̩/: button
  • /m̩/: rhythm


  1. Roca, Iggy & Johnson, Wyn (1999). Course in Phonology. Blackwell Publishing.