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.




i need to download this chart to take to calss   i have no internet there

Well! I found the chart so useful because it provides us with examples not just symbols.
Many thanks

As a native British speaker who speaks RP, I would like to see the missing diphtong /ʊə/ added to the table. It is the phoneme that represents the vowel in the word 'pure' as I say it.The current National Literary Strategy in the UK is also extremely confused by this phoneme. They represent it as /ure/ but are half-hearted about teaching it. A comment in the Notes and Guidance for DfES Letters and Sounds p11 states -"This phoneme does not occur in all accents. It occurs only if people pronounce words such as sure and poor with an /ooer/ vowel sound, not if they pronounce them as shaw and paw. It, too, can be omitted in Phase Three, and perhaps even permanently."The phoneme /ʊə/ does occur in British Received Pronunciation and it is this accent that has been chosen as the standard one to teach. The comment about sure and poor is not correct. Neither uses the phoneme /ʊə/ in RP. Sure does sound like shaw. Pure does not sound like poor/paw.

This web site does not give accurate information about the diphtong /ʊə/. It is thus not surprising that it has been left off the chart.In the list of words that use this this phoneme are tour and pure.British English RP does not pronounce tour in the same way that standard American English does. The American tour is the one that is used to define /ʊə/. The British tour sounds more like pour than pure. In British English pure is the best example to define /ʊə/.On this chart the speaker reads the word sure as one of the examples of words beginning with sh. The pronunciation is not one I have ever heard before. It does seem to match the DfES NLS phoneme /ooer/ however. Using this pronunciation pattern 'pure' ceases to be pure and becomes pooer.

We, in India, do include the diphthong: /ʊə/. This is because the English that is followed here is BBC English. And this sound is included in the list of diphthongs in BBC English.

Hi. I'm a teacher and teacher trainer and , having  just joined this very impressive site, I also noticed the missing /ʊə/ sound. I'm a native speaker from the North of England and this sound is definitely still there in MY sounds range - in words like sure , poor and tour.I workd with Adrian Underhill at International House, Hastings  for many years and am  wondering why the team chose not to use his well tried and tested Sound Foundations phonemic chart. The issues discussed in various postings of the missing  /ʊə/ dipthong and the voiced / unvoiced consonants would not arise then.  Maybe it was a simple issue of copyright. I know the McMillan site onestopEnglish has a similar electronic version of the Sound Foundations chart but not sure if it is available as an app.It's a great use of technology as a teaching and learning tool anyway so keep up the good work!

I feel you need that missing dipthong.
After all, this is the BRITISH council and when you're in Britain you're going to be hearing an awful lot of Scottish (and Irish?) people using it.

(Infact, how do we even say "You're" without it? Seriously, who says "/jɔː(r)/" except members of the royal family?)

Scottish: /jʊə/
Irish (Northern: /jʌr/ )
Cockney (east london): /jɑː/
West Country: /jɪr/

Thanks for that Jimmy and the other commenters. We are hoping to update an expanded version of our phonemic chart soon, so watch this space.

Hi everyone!I agree with the two previous comments. I think that including that sound would be very helpfull for non native speaker 'cause learning phonetic symbols in English is one of the mos important parts of this language,,,,so next year do not heasitate to revise the chart and include it.


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