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


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




Submitted by profhasabo on Fri, 08/25/2023 - 08:29

The best way is to have the phonemic chart as a poster in the office and the classroom for continuous revision.

Submitted by ctquang123 on Sat, 08/19/2023 - 08:41

I wonder why we do not have an /ʊə/ in this chart?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 08/20/2023 - 17:41

In reply to by ctquang123

Hi  and you'll find it in the App linked to the course:

Are you able to access that?

Best regards,


TeachingEnglish team


Submitted by jennypr on Tue, 10/03/2023 - 06:22

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Hi and help please

I have download the app and I don’t see the
/ɛ/ sound as in
Bread /brɛd/
Head /hɛd/

Can you help me please. And with urgency please as i am teaching to my students and wouldn’t like to make mistakes.

Thank you very much in advance

Submitted by Cath McLellan on Wed, 10/04/2023 - 09:22

In reply to by jennypr

Hi jennypr

If you are referring to the vowel sound in "Bread" and "head" then it appears in the chart as /e/. You can find it in the vowel section under /i:/

Hope that helps!

TeachingEnglish team

Submitted by gachamorrom on Thu, 09/28/2023 - 10:18

In reply to by ctquang123

Hello, it is true, in the downloadable image it is not updated with the diphthong "ʊə". Please update it. Thank you in advance for all the effort you have put in.

Submitted by jandira moreira on Mon, 03/28/2022 - 15:12

The app was finished in 2020. What are the option to open the file? FLASH PLAYER

Submitted by Paul Braddock on Fri, 04/08/2022 - 14:01

In reply to by jandira moreira


we no longer have the Flash files available. The best way to access the interactive phonemic chart is to download the Sounds Right App. You can find the link to this on the page.



Submitted by Cath McLellan on Tue, 05/26/2020 - 09:32

In reply to by samueledwards

Hi there

The chart is currently only available as an EXE file

Apologies for the inconvenience,

TE Team

Submitted by Sadaf Fatima on Wed, 02/13/2019 - 12:23

Hi the gven phonemic chart which i have just quite a good technological invention to learn and teach sounds of English language. However, i will very humbly point out that it is missing one diphthong--combination of "oo" and "schwa" sound as in words "poor" and "dual"...which will also make it a total of 20 vowel phoneme sounds in English language. please add it too...a humble invocation. best regards Sadaf Fatima

Submitted by MarkAuchincloss on Mon, 07/02/2018 - 08:38

I can't download it as I use a Google Chromebook. Please update software as most students/teachers have access to Chromebook !!

Submitted by Cath McLellan on Tue, 07/03/2018 - 14:15

In reply to by MarkAuchincloss

Hello Thanks for your comment - I will pass it on to the technical team. Best wishes, Cath TE Team

Submitted by perezodian on Sat, 01/13/2018 - 08:16

The most useless ever,,, this is not helpful. Many are hypocrite that this is helpful in pronunciation. second language are doing a mimic sounds.. like an infant do. This kind of chart had created for additional burden of usless language sounds. In reality this is USESLESS. If you understand the mimic sounds you know what I mean.

Submitted by Amylinks on Thu, 12/07/2017 - 21:49

Thank you very much British Council Am so happy after a very long search I finally found a site like this where I can learn phonemes. Sorry to bore you with this...I have a passion for phonemes I want to learn it and be able to pronounce ever single English word correctly like the first English speakers so please my able British Council I want to ask if there is a way I can download this phenomic chart on my Android phone so that I can be able to learn phonemes on the go anywhere I am. Pleeeeeeeeeeease help me I really need it on my phone. the one here in this page: is only compatible with PC. Thank you in anticipation of your favourable response

Submitted by Cath McLellan on Tue, 12/12/2017 - 15:44

In reply to by Amylinks

Thanks for your comment, and we are glad you find the chart useful. Unfortunately, as you say, the zipfile is only compatible with PC, but you could download the British Council Sounds Right app, which you can find here I hope that helps, Cheers, Cath TE Team

Submitted by AnthonyESL on Mon, 08/21/2017 - 01:16

I'm curious why this chart doesn't have a diphthong for /ʊə/ The one Adrian Underhill uses on the seminar videos does. I became aware of his videos through the British Council, so I am wondering why there is a difference there. Is it not really regarded as a true diphthong? For example, in "pure" /'pjʊə/ is this seen as two separate syllables? Anyway, many other phonemic charts do have /ʊə/ so I was a but confused by the difference.

Hi AnthonyESL Thanks for your comment - you are right, that although there has been some disagreement about diphthongs, the /ʊə/ sound is missing here - we have been working on updating the chart here for some time - apologies for the inconvenience. Our LearnEnglish App (which you can download for free - ) does include the sound, and is a great resource for students to use. Hope that helps, Cath TE Team

Submitted by Nettie01 on Tue, 07/26/2016 - 22:33

Hello, I'm wondering why the phonemic chart doesn't have this diphthong? /ʊə/ Thanks Jeanette

Hi Jeanette, Thanks for the comment - there has been lots of discussion about the 'missing diphthong' on this page - our development team is working on updating the chart, but it is taking longer than expected - we hope to have it updated as some time in the near future. Thanks, Cath

Submitted by Derek Spafford on Mon, 02/15/2016 - 12:52

Hi Richard There's been some debate regarding the missing dipthong which you can add to by looking at the previous comments.

Submitted by Sk.Ismail on Sun, 12/13/2015 - 17:11

Hello everyone, My sincere wishes to you all. This phonetic transcription chart is very helpful for me not only for teaching children but also teaching pronunciation to adults. Thank you very much

Submitted by sam7702000 on Mon, 04/06/2015 - 09:50

hi i have a doubt on the word TREATY- /ˈtriː.ti/, we have a short vowel sound i in the end, but in the chart it is a long vowel i:, why in the symbols ɪ is not used and the script is not /ˈtriː.t ɪ/, please help, thanks

Submitted by sam7702000 on Mon, 12/22/2014 - 11:29

hi my query when we use the script for i sound the shot one, we have two symbols the 'i' and ' ɪ ' both sound the same, but in application on the word,committee /kəˈmɪt.i/ , both the symbols are used, ie after m and t., is there any rule to use specific symbols, other examples why in the word kit- we use /kɪt/, and for pony we use /ˈpəʊ.ni/

Submitted by stephen jeyaraj k on Wed, 02/19/2014 - 12:40

It is really very helpful to teach the children especially to practice the beginners ot learning the language English! superb!

Submitted by sam7702000 on Fri, 12/27/2013 - 14:14

the chart is user friendly, thank you

Submitted by chrislann on Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:10

Maybe we could have a Mac-compatible download option? .exe files do not compute!

Submitted by Sally Trowbridge (not verified) on Wed, 03/06/2013 - 11:07

In reply to by chrislann

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

Submitted by Mostafa Thabet on Thu, 02/07/2013 - 11:12

Very helpful.

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

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

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

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


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


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



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

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.


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

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


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

I've emailed them about it.


Hi Darwin,

No doubt a typo - happens to the best of us. After all, we don't use /oi/, do we? I won't be surprised if there are other errors, too, but if we help them improve their database, it'll be good for all of us.



Submitted by darwin1800 on Thu, 02/24/2011 - 11:01


"PhoTransEdit" is a good phonetics application, available at

Not perfect British English - but you can download it and try.



Submitted by Rob Lewis (not verified) on Thu, 01/13/2011 - 15:39

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?

Submitted by acLiLtocLiMB on Wed, 01/05/2011 - 19:54

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?

Submitted by abdul_k on Tue, 12/28/2010 - 19:19

We used to talk about 44 sounds including the ʊə (as in cure). How can we take it in to account?

Thanks everyone for your comments so far.

Abrar Tahir - I'm afraid the chart isn't available for download at the moment.


Submitted by matbury on Wed, 05/12/2010 - 00:27

Hi, I've just joined and this is my first post here. It's great to have a place to share ideas with like minded people! :)

I agree with the comments above, some of the unvoiced consonants are voiced here. I also think that the dipthong pronunciation is a little over-emphatic and unrealistic. These are things that are easy to remedy and the layout's attractive. I'm not sure what the "try", "think", "talk" and "transform" icons are meant to represent or what they do. I was redirected to an unrelated web page.

I've written a phonetic/phonemic chart of my own that runs in Moodle, the leading open source learning management system used by the UK's OU and other universities, colleges and schools around the world. I'd be interested in hearing your feedback. I wrote a blog article about it here: There's a link to the demo from there.

All the best,


Submitted by Rob Lewis (not verified) on Fri, 05/08/2009 - 14:54

Interactive phonemic chart
Submitted on 13 February, 2009 - 01:34

While I think this chart would be a good item for students to be able to access, I was surprised, when trying it out, that voiceless consonants (p, t, f) are here voiced.  When combining the sounds with diphthongs, for example, 'y' with 'ear' to make 'year', (sorry - can't do the phonemic symbols) there is little if any variation of sound between the consonant and the diphthong.  What we get sounds like 'year' x 2.

Margaret Osborne

Interactive Pronunciation Chart
Submitted on 13 February, 2009 - 17:49

I agree with the previous comment (p, t, k) here are voiced.  Very confusing!

Please could there be a clarification in meaning and use between the two words: phonetic and phonemic.  They are used here as if they mean the same thing. 


Phonetic chart errors

Submitted on 17 February, 2009 - 11:58

I love the idea of this chart and want to get my students using it in a self-learning mode, but unfortunately in it's current form it's fatally flawed. Many of the consonants (not all) include a vowel sound, which has led to the previous comments noting that some unvoiced consonants are voiced on this chart. The sound sample provided for /p/, for example is actually /pə/. Many other consonants are incorrectly folloed by schwa including /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /f/, /v/, /ð/, /h/, /l/. I hope the British Council will correct these errors because they are misleading learners when actually the tool ought to be a great boon to us all!


Phonemic chart
Submitted on 3 March, 2009 - 19:54

Hi everyone

Thanks for your comments.

Firstly, you're absolutely right about phonemic/phonetic mix up: this is a phonemic chart.

As far as the sounds are concerned, I agree with Tavis that the problem is that there is a schwa added after the consonants in many cases. I would also say though that without the schwa sound it would be almost impossible to detect, for example, /p/.

We are looking to find a better, more accurate solution, and I will come back to this page to let you know about our progress.

All the best

Teaching English

Phonemic Chart...
Submitted on 5 May, 2009 - 15:40

I figure this is because computers can reproduce exact sounds (phonetic), but don't understand or reproduce meaning (phonemic) using features.  

In short: the phonemic chart is phonemic. The sounds plugged in are phonetic.

To get the sense of a phoneme,  it needs friends, the acid test of separate phonemes being minimal pairs. Anyway can the chart store up minimal pairs? (Rob.. we have big plans for you... seriously, take care of yourself, my project just about cost me my girlfriend...)


English teacher, circus artist in Madrid, Spain doing "teatro en ingles",

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