The interactive version of the British Council phonemic chart is currently being updated on this website. 

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

Downloads

You can download a non-interactive image version of the British Council's phonemic chart below.

Sounds Right app

The interactive phonemic chart is available for you to download from the Google Play store for Android devices or the App store for Apple devices. Find out more about the interactive mobile app version of the phonemic chart

 

Downloads

Comments

Hi,

Yes, Photransedit is great.... but I've found a slight discrepancy:

Example: noise

It's /ˌnɔɪz / in American translation, but /noiz/ in RP/British.

It's the same for all uses of ˌ/ɔɪ/, offline and online. Something strange with 'Rhymes' too...

I've emailed them about this.

Phil

Submitted by Rob Lewis (not verified) on Thu, 03/03/2011 - 11:19

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Thanks Chiew and Phil for your links, and Lukie and Emad - glad you've found it useful!

Submitted by anisamuca on Sat, 03/12/2011 - 08:58

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This is the the first time I am using this web , and I think we can profit a lot. Starting from the pronunciation, it is a very good choice for the beginners, since they have to listen to the correct sound of the letters.

Congratulations, and work hard everybody !

This wonderful chart help us and help Ss to build much more than our growing in English

Submitted by txnghia on Wed, 03/23/2011 - 11:19

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What a pity! I don't have ipad to download and install. This chart is much useful in some special classes. And I can't access in these classrooms. I have Nokia E63. Can I be helped?

Submitted by Rob Lewis (not verified) on Tue, 04/05/2011 - 10:26

In reply to by txnghia

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Hi txnghia

I'm afraid we don't have anything like this for your phone right now... we are trying to make our content more accessible from different platforms though, so please watch this site and our LearnEnglish site for news and updates.

Rob

I have a pronunciation application for my iPhone, called "iPron". It's very good.

I don't know if there's one for the Nokia.

Their website is www.EnglishPron.com

Also, www.PhoTransedit.com have now updated their application.

Cheers

Phil

Submitted by Rob Lewis (not verified) on Tue, 04/05/2011 - 10:28

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Hi everyone

Thanks again for your contribution to the discussion here. We've just relaunched the chart with the /ʊə/ sound which was previously missing. This is available as an iPad app and will also be updated here soon.

Rob

Submitted by darwin1800 on Tue, 04/12/2011 - 12:13

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Hi,

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

Cheers

Phil

Submitted by saxenasumit on Wed, 04/13/2011 - 12:32

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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.)

 

 

Submitted by Xalit on Sat, 04/23/2011 - 08:38

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

Hi Xalit

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

Rob

Submitted by acLiLtocLiMB on Tue, 04/26/2011 - 14:16

In reply to by Rob Lewis (not verified)

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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

Submitted by Dave in Japan on Mon, 04/25/2011 - 04:09

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There is an adapted IPA here selected for American English:

 

http://www.ic.arizona.edu/~lsp/IPA/SSAE.html

Hi Lathika

The 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 wishes

Rob 

 

Submitted by M. Junaidi Marzuki on Fri, 07/08/2011 - 06:38

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The phonemic chart was very useful. but personally, i want to download it in the form of mp3 as i did in cambridge dictionary. i download a single word and play it in winamp without conneting to internet. i have tried to download the individulal sound when i play it but my internet downloader cannot catch the sound so i cannot download it as i did in cambridge dictionary. could you give advice how to download it?

Submitted by Rob Lewis (not verified) on Mon, 07/11/2011 - 10:12

In reply to by M. Junaidi Marzuki

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Hi there

I'm afraid this chart isn't downloadable right now - I hope it will be more widely accessible in future though.

Best wishes

Rob

Submitted by sumankarmakar on Fri, 09/16/2011 - 16:03

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What about the 2nd 'L' of LITTLE?

Submitted by ckahnour on Fri, 10/07/2011 - 06:59

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thank u;

i've exhausted to find out the secret behind How to pronounce english. successfully, i've found out this website and i expect i'll win if i regulate it.

thanks.

Submitted by Victoria_King on Fri, 11/11/2011 - 11:18

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Greetings from Crete,

Teaching in Greece one often encounters a variety of linguistic backgrounds in one classroom (e.g. students who speak Dutch, Albanian, Russian, Chinese, French, German at home, yet are all attending a Greek public school or working in the local hospitality industry).  These students face added challenges in mastering the sounds of English.

This type of application is a huge step - the last 15 years I have been relying on my theatrical voice training in order to demonstrate to students how to deliver a "neutral" or unaccented pronunciation, as well as how vowel variations can significantly alter pronunciation regionally.  Though they find this highly entertaining - it would be great for them to have a practice tool they could use on their own as well!

Thanks to all for the great links - I intend to check them all out asap!

Submitted by dsatheesh on Thu, 11/24/2011 - 16:29

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Thank you for providing a phonemic chart. It is quite useful to teach pronounciation to learners for whom English is L2 and have little exposure to the language. I am using this to teach adolescent learners. It works better than the old chart as this chart contains words

with regards

Satheesh 

Submitted by Rob Lewis (not verified) on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 11:05

In reply to by Sally Trowbridge (not verified)

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Sally's right - I've been talking about making it available to download for some time! So, from today you should be able to download the chart - follow the link above.

Rob

Submitted by Sameh Marzouki on Sun, 01/22/2012 - 19:08

In reply to by Rob Lewis (not verified)

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Greetings from Tunisia,

please how can I download the chart? I have a training session about phonetics soon ! I need it this week

 

Hi - you can download the chart by right clicking on the link above 'Phonemic chart to download'. (It's just below the chart.) Then select 'Save link as...'.

Hope you find it useful!

Rob
TeachingEnglish

Submitted by tzurinskas on Sun, 11/27/2011 - 21:16

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The above "phonemic chart" (not phonetic chart?) is so useless as to be a barrier to the use of phonetics for English.  Dump it.  An English based standard is what is needed.  It's not 1888 any more for God's sake.  Get rid of the special symbols and give us something we can type.  Nobody uses IPA-like notation in USA. 

Please abandon the IPA-like notation and build off of truespel phonetics to enable kids and adults to learn their phonemes as early as learning the letters of the alphabet.  It can and should be that simple.

See  http://justpaste.it/useit

Submitted by Christafari on Sat, 12/24/2011 - 21:36

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This is a good start, the old phonetic system had no structure. This system has some of the structure of the human mind when it comes to English language. Since 2003 I have been trying to work out a writen language pronounciation for my 'book th Synaesthetic Thesaurus' which will be in print 2012 all going well. I needed a phonetic guide to written word pronounciation for my book. The system I came up with uses a similar system to this but is a little more complicated, and letter colour also plays a part in how pitch/tone/etc are adjusted. What I have done is completely independant of your system, yet we seem to  be both heading in the same direction. When my book is printed then  you can compare it.  For instance I take the letter 'H' to be a vowel, while your 'PBH' is my 'PBM'.

Submitted by tariq.lutfi on Thu, 01/26/2012 - 18:41

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Thank you very much for the very useful site, and I highly appreciate very good work, well done

Submitted by liz213 on Sat, 01/28/2012 - 17:01

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i'm a student at university of biology and we use the frensh language so; i find some diffecult in my research because they publish with english.i hope to study english it's help me and it's so useful in our life this langage

Submitted by Sally Trowbridge (not verified) on Mon, 02/06/2012 - 09:35

In reply to by jonatan

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Hi Jonatan

Thanks for your comment. We've relaunched the chart with the /ʊə/ sound which was previously missing. This is available as an iPad app and will also be updated here soon.

Submitted by Ted_in_Korea on Wed, 02/22/2012 - 13:07

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Notwithstanding the letter Y in written English, phonetically speaking isn't the phoneme /j/ the same as /"ee"/ (the long E sound, as in "green") ?

So, for example, the word "yes" would be /"ee"es/ instead of /jes/.

Or is there a subtle difference in pronunciation that I am missing?

This came to my attention because the Korean language, which has a phonetic alphabet, has what English-speakers know as the "y" sound, but they recognize it as a simple vowel.

Submitted by Sally Trowbridge (not verified) on Fri, 02/24/2012 - 09:20

In reply to by Ted_in_Korea

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Hi Ted

These pronunciation tips videos might help your students with the /i:/ (as in 'green') and the /j/ (as in 'yes') sounds:

/i:/ http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/pron/sounds/vowel_long_1.shtml

/j/  http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/pronunciation/mp4/con_other_8.mp4

Any advice from pronunication experts is very welcome!

Sally

Submitted by jvl narasimha rao on Mon, 03/26/2012 - 16:34

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This is really incredible.This chart can be useful both for teachers of English and students.I really thank the TE Editor for publishing and making it accessible to learners

Submitted by LenW on Sat, 04/28/2012 - 17:37

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The problem of voiced consonants - consonants followed by a final schwa - arises not so much because the phonemic chart with it's (commonly accepted) 44 English sounds is 'wrong', but because it attempts to characterise with single sounds consonants that are produced differently when present at the start of a word (as an 'initial') versus the end of a word (as a 'final'). A good example is the final 'k' in the word bank. Really listen to, and focus on what you feel in your mouth as you produce it, and you will hear a very definite - albeit much quieter click-like sound; it is very much like 'k<schwa>' with the schwa component producedmuch more quietly. Try saying 'job' without parting your lips after producing the final 'b' sound, and what you will hear yourself actually produce is 'jo'. In short, the phonemic sound set generalises and over-simplifies. Of course, one should avoid over-complicating. But sometimes simplification produces more problems than it solves.

The way round this is quite simple - to provide brief explanatory notes about why certain consonants (and conceivably some vowels and diphthongs) have varying degrees of inconsistency with respect to both their inherent sounds and the symbol used to represent them.

But does even UK English utilise just 44 sounds? A source of irritation to Scottish speakers, for instance, is the failure of many speakers to produce the 'ch' sound as in 'Loch'; as a jewish person familiar with several of the Yiddish words that have now been adopted as standard English - chutzpah and Chanakuh, for instance, I myself find similar failures of enunciation equally jarring.

But is even the English spoken within what is technically England limited to 44 sounds. I was born in North London where I grew up with a marked North London urban accent in which the glottle stop is commonplace. In the glottle stop, 't' sounds are dropped and replaced with a sound that both sounds different from, and is produced quite differently, from any of the 44 sounds comprising the accepted [UK] English phonemic set.

With many foreign words - and with them new sounds - being incoporated into the English language, might an official considered revision (extension) of the phonemic set be timely?

I understand that even two Chinese (Mandarin) words are now standard English vocabulary in English business circles. Those teaching business English might find the phonemic set as it currently stands rather limiting.

Submitted by Pedja on Wed, 05/23/2012 - 15:55

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Hi,

First of all I would like you to know that i really like this site and that i have been to british council in Serbia when i was doing my ESOL exam.

 

Since i know how awsome you are I need to ask you to help me. 

My phonetics and phonology teacher wants me to write 20 words with each and every phoneme found in initial,medial and final position.  I have found the symbols here but i need more. It should look like I am writting a dictionary e.g. word  /transcription/. 

 

Could you help me? Thanks in advance.

Submitted by Dinos on Wed, 07/04/2012 - 11:26

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Hello,

 

Can anyone tell when the change in usage occured?  When I was at school, some 30 years ago, we used to talk about phonetic charts, readings and dictations for what now would be called phonemic readings.  I still have the "Phonetic readings in English" by Daniel Jones, 1955.

 

Submitted by nabaz on Sun, 09/30/2012 - 20:01

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Diphthongs must consist of eight sounds but unfortunately I can find only seven sounds. the sound ʊə is missing.

Nebez

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