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 must say this chart would be very supportive to my language classes but i need to know how to download it so that i may avail myself of this phonemic chart with audio aid.Thanks,M. Abrar Tahir

I will try this application on the iPad of my nephew, he's almost 4 years old but still having problems on speech and pronunciation. I think this will be helpful for him.Cheers!

Thanks everyone for your comments so far.Abrar Tahir - I'm afraid the chart isn't available for download at the moment.Rob

I'm afraid the chart doesn't work very well on Google Chrome. I refer to the sounds. It's hard to elaborate because it isn't something constant. Due to Murphy's Law, right now, when I wanted to determine the exact problem, it works fine. Sometimes, it works once, then stops working altogether. Sounds like I'm rambling on, don't I?

I used to use the phonemic chart much more, before dictionaries with spoken pronunciation (CDroms and internet) were invented. It was the only way to learn the pronunciation of words if you didn't have a native speaker to teach you (or cassettes). Personally, I've always preferred to 'see' the pronunciation rather than 'hear' it. For me, it's easier to memorise, it's more accurate, and you learn standard English. And as for the diphthong /ua/, I must say I was shocked when I didn't see it there. One of my favourite sounds. Please, bring it back!

It doesn't work for me in Chrome either - I can click on one phoneme to hear it, then none of the others work.  But as the previous poster writes, it's not consistent.  Now it's working for example....very frustrating!

As of Dec 1st 2010 the Oxford English Dictionary has a new website. Initial work on the 3rd Edition of the OED is now online. The Oxford English Dictionary is the standard reference for the pronunciation of British English. The production of the 3rd Edition of the OED began ten years ago and is ongoing. The new edition is completely revised and has the modern (21st Century) pronunciation for all words written in IPA format. The accuracy of sites can now be checked against an authoritative source. The web site is here

Also of interest will be the key to the pronunciation

Sorry to those of you who have had problems on Chrome - I've also found it frustrating as it works sometimes and not others. It's bewildering but we'll do what we can to improve it.
Thanks for further comments on the diphthong, and interesting to read the OED's key to pronunciation. As much as anything it made me think of a question which comes back time and again: which English (and which sounds) should we teach?

The OED has kept the /ua/ and so have other important dictionaries. Which English should we teach? If we're talking about EFL, I think we should teach standard English and also other types of pronunciation (secondary ones). For instance: the word 'often'. It's important that sts learn that it can be pronounced /ofn/ and /oftn/, so that they can understand both. We're living the era of global English, which is great, but I believe that standard English should be the main (though not the only one) source in an EFL classroom.


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