This is the British Council phonemic chart. Help your students hear the sounds of English by clicking on the symbols below. Click on the top right hand corner of each symbol to hear sample words including the sounds.

About the chart

  • Pure vowels are arranged the same way as in the IPA chart: according to mouth shape (left to right, lips wide / round - top to bottom, jaw closed / open).
  • Diphthongs are grouped in rows according to their second sound.

Try some pronunciation activities

Sounds Right iPad app
If you have an iPad, you can download and install a free copy of the British Council phonemic chart on it. Find out more on LearnEnglish.

Download the chart
You can download this chart to use on your PC - you'll need Adobe Flash Player to use it.

Copyright information: © British Council. This pronunciation chart is free for you to use and share for educational purposes. The chart should in no way be used or circulated for financial gain.




Hello, I hope this is not too obvious a question but why is the "ue" in Tuesday not a phoneme yet the "ai" in pain, for example, is? Thanks!

Hi Mijimoos,I'd say that the 'ue' in 'Tuesday' IS a phoneme (in this case, pronounced /u:/).Explanation:In relaxed 'British' English, the 't' before a 'u' is often pronounced with the phoneme 'ch' (sorry, can't put the symbol here), as in 'future' and 'natural'. So 'Tuesday' is actually pronounced 'choose-day', which means that the 'ue' combination is pronounced 'oo' (/u:/).The 'ai' combination in 'pain' is the diphthong sound /ei/.Hope that's useful,David

Hi, thank you - that is useful to understand perhaps received pronounciation! I'm Welsh and we do tend to acccentuate dipthongs, particularly in words like "screw", "chew", "future" etc. I'm a literacy teacher and have been using the THRASS resources with my classes - the phoneme machine from THRASS says that there are two sounds in the "ue" in Tuesday, which is what got me thinking.What about the first "u" in "future", though? surely that is a dipthong and a phoneme?Mij

I m happy for being the member of BC. Now i m very much sure that i'll learn English Phonetics. Please help me regarding this.

an awesome idea ... i like it.really helpful to beginners like me.expecting much more efforts of this kind BBC

I need some help on how to type phonetic symbols. There appear to be a few different ways of typing them. Some sources use unique symbols like Greek letters but some (usually dictionaries) simply use the nearest equivalent letter with a colon for longer stress eg. a: Is there a standard system for keyboard English phonetic symbols? If so, is there a particular font that has them all?. At the moment I find I can locate all the symbols but it is over a number of different fonts and it is a very cumbersome process locating them and sizing them up or down, not to mention actually typing them as they have to be inserted manually one-by-one each time. Does anyone have any suggestions?

The new British Council phonemic chart is for teaching the sounds of English. It could be extended to help teach the written symbols of English, which could be used in a Dictionary Pronunciation Guide too, as well as in Parallel Texts as a 'crib' to help read passages in normal spelling.
Here is a spelling guide for the phonemic chart. The only new symbols are uu buuk, à è ì, ò, ù, for the ‘long vowels’, thh for θ as in thhing, and zh as in television. It can be used as a guide to reading.

pure vowels

i:= ee, sheep
ɪ = i,ship
ʊ = uu, buuk,
u: = oo, shoot
e = e, left
ə = er, teacher
ɜ:= ur, fur
ɔ:= or, for
æ = a, hat
ʌ= u, cup
ɑ:= ar, far
ɒ= o, on

ɪə = here èr
eɪ = wait à
ʊə = tourist oo
ɔɪ coin oi
əʊ = show ò
eə = hair air
aɪ = like ì
aʊ = mouth ou

ʧ = cheese ch
ʤ = joke j
k = coin k
θ = thing thh
ð this th
ʃ sheep sh
ʒ = television zh
ŋ = thing ng
j = you y

A download option for Mac users is something that we might be able to offer in the future. Thanks for your suggestion Chrislann!


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