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.

 

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Hi,I think of it as English -without any regional accents.  It should be understood anywhere English is spoken.CheersPhil

RP in Britain is an English accent originally from the upper classes of English society, the majority of whom lived in the affluent south east of England, but not all.
 
As it was most often the members of the upper classes who worked abroad during the days of the British Empire, RP was the accent that became recognized worldwide as a ‘standard’ English accent and was often considered to be “better” than other accents.
 
It is also sometimes referred to by the terms “BBC English” and “The Queen’s English”.
 
Originally, this was the form of English used by presenters on radio and television.
 
However, for several decades other accents (than BBC) have been accepted and are frequently heard, although stereotypes about the BBC persist.  
 
NEUTRAL and CORRECT ACCENT - Although RP is more common in the South East of England, it is still regarded as a “neutral” and “correct” accent.
 
It carries no heavy regional influence and is perhaps the clearest and most easily understood accent in Britain.  Thus, speakers of very different dialects within the United Kingdom tend to modify their speech, and particularly vocabulary, towards RP as a lingua franca.
 
(Technically, a “lingua franca” is a shared language of communication between people whose main languages are different. In this case, it may simply be that the accents and use of vocabulary and grammar are different.)
 
 

It is a pity that the chart is only downloadable on IPad. Can't it be developed for other platforms?

Hi XalitWe've just developed this for iPad initially, mainly to test how well it worked. We will see other versions come out in future.Rob

Oops - since I haven't got  one of these super duper phones, I just based my information on the video, which didn't say that the app is only available for iphones at the moment. Sorry.Chiew

Hi LathikaThe BBC chart is a really useful guide to pronunciation - thanks for pointing it out. I hope though that this one is also helpful to teachers and learners. The only major difference I can hear is that we use a supporting 'schwa' sound for consonants, which they use in fewer cases than us.Best wishesRob  

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