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SymbolPhonetic value & Example

a

low central (or front) unrounded vowel

French la

ä

central vowel ranging between [ɛ] and [ə]

Ethiopic

ɑ

low back unrounded vowel; often written [a]

spa

ɒ

low back rounded vowel

British hot

æ

low front unrounded vowel

cat, laugh, plaid

b

voiced bilabial stop

bib

spirantized [b]; historically [β], modern [v]

Hebrew

β

voiced bilabial fricative

Spanish haber

c

voiceless alveolar affricate; IPA [ʦ] or [ts]

Italian zucchero, German zu, Yiddish tsimmes

č

voiceless palatoalveolar affricate; IPA [ʧ] or [tʃ]

church, watch

ɔ

lax mid back rounded vowel

dog (for many speakers)

ɕ

voiceless alveolopalatal fricative

Mandarin xi

ç

voiceless palatal fricative

German ich

d

voiced alveolar stop

dad

palatalized [dʸ]; can be pronounced [ǰ]

Egyptian

 

or spirantized [d], same as [ð]

Ancient Hebrew

voiced retroflex stop; IPA [ɖ]

Indic

 

or emphatic, i.e. pharyngealized [dˁ]

Semitic

ð

voiced dental fricative

this, either

e

tense mid front unrounded vowel

bait, made

ə

lax mid central vowel (unstressed in English); "schwa"

about, sofa

ɚ

rhotacized schwa, essentially [ər]

butter, actor

ɛ

lax mid front unrounded vowel

bet, head

ɝ

stressed [ɚ] in English; often transcribed the same way

bird, learn

f

voiceless labiodental fricative

fife, laugh

g

voiced velar stop

gag

spirantized [g]; same as [ɣ]

Ancient Hebrew

h

voiceless glottal fricative

hit

ʰ

aspiration of preceding sound

top vs. stop

voiceless pharyngeal fricative; IPA [ħ]

Arabic hummus

voiceless uvular fricative; same as [χ]

Egyptian, Semitic

voiceless fricative; probably palatal [ç]

Egyptian

i

tense high front unrounded vowel

see, diva

ɪ

lax high front unrounded vowel

hit

special transcriptional symbol; also [j]

Egyptian

ɨ

high central unrounded vowel

roses

j

voiced palatal glide; same as [y] in other systems

standard IPA; Mycenaean Greek

 

or alternate transliteration for [ỉ]

Egyptian

ʲ

palatalization of preceding sound; also [ʸ]

roughly canyon vs. cannon

ǰ

voiced palatoalveolar affricate; IPA [ʤ] or [dʒ]

judge

k

voiceless velar stop

kick, cake

voiceless uvular stop; same as [q]

Egyptian

spirantized [k]; same as [x]

Ancient Hebrew

l

voiced alveolar lateral liquid

lip

voiced retroflex lateral liquid; IPA [ɭ]

Indic

ɬ

voiceless alveolar lateral fricative

Semitic; Welsh "ll"

ɫ

velarized voiced alveolar lateral liquid

hull

m

voiced bilabial nasal

mom

n

voiced alveolar nasal

none

ŋ

voiced velar nasal; don't confuse with sequence [ŋg]

singer

voiced retroflex nasal; IPA [ɳ]

Indic

ɲ

voiced palatal nasal

Spanish ñ, Italian gn

ɴ

voiced uvular nasal

Japanese word-final "n"

o

tense mid back rounded vowel

go, hope, boat

ŏ

mid central unrounded vowel, similar to [ə]

Korean "eo"

ɸ

voiceless bilabial fricative

(like blowing out a match)

θ

voiceless dental fricative

thing, myth

p

voiceless bilabial stop

pep

spirantized [p]; historically [ɸ], modern [f]

Hebrew

þ

runic letter equivalent to [θ]

Icelandic

 

or runic letter that can be read as either [θ] or [ð]

Old English, some Scandinavian

q

voiceless uvular stop

Arabic Qatar

r

voiced alveolar trill (often used for other types of "r")

Spanish perro

ɹ

voiced (post)alveolar liquid, the English "r"; often just written [r]

run, sorry

ɾ

voiced alveolar tap; sometimes written [ᴅ]

Am Engl city; Spanish pero

ʀ

voiced uvular trill

some French dialects, etc.

ʁ

voiced uvular fricative

French, German, Modern Hebrew "r"

voiced retroflex flap; IPA [ɽ]

Indic

s

voiceless alveolar fricative

sit, hiss, rice, cent

š

voiceless postalveolar fricative; IPA [ʃ]

ship, push, delicious

ś

voiceless alveolopalatal fricative; IPA [ɕ]

Indic

 

or voiceless alveolar fricative; historically distinct from [z]

Egyptian (often just "s")

 

or voiceless fricative; historically distinct from [s]

Hebrew, other Semitic

voiceless retroflex fricative; IPA [ʂ]

Indic, Mandarin ("sh")

 

or emphatic, i.e. pharyngealized [sˁ]

Semitic

ʃ

voiceless postalveolar fricative; same as [š]

ship, push, delicious

t

voiceless alveolar stop

stop

voiceless retroflex stop; IPA [ʈ]

Indic

 

or emphatic, i.e. pharyngealized [tˁ]

Semitic

palatalized [tʸ]; can be pronounced [č]

Egyptian

 

or spirantized [t], same as [θ]

Ancient Hebrew

ʨ

voiceless alveolopalatal affricate

Mandarin ji (cf. aspirated qi)

voiceless retroflex affricate

Mandarin zhi (cf. aspirated chi)

u

tense high back rounded vowel

ooze, prune

ʊ

lax high back rounded vowel

put, book

ŭ

high central unrounded vowel, similar to [ɨ]

Korean "eu"

ü

tense high front rounded vowel

French, German, Mandarin

v

voiced labiodental fricative

verve

ʌ

mid central unrounded vowel; stressed in English

cut, love

ɣ

voiced velar fricative

Spanish haga

w

voiced labial-velar glide

witch

ʍ

voiceless labial-velar fricative

which for some speakers

x

voiceless velar fricative

chutzpah, German ach

χ

voiceless uvular fricative

Semitic, Egyptian

y

voiced palatal glide (in many transcription systems); IPA [j]

yes

 

high front rounded vowel (in IPA)

French u, German ü

ʸ

palatalization of preceding sound; IPA [ʲ]

roughly canyon vs. cannon

ʎ

voiced palatal lateral

Italian gli, Castilian ll

z

voiced alveolar fricative

fizz, his, rose

voiced retroflex fricative; IPA [ʐ]

Indic, Mandarin ("r")

 

or emphatic, i.e. pharyngealized [zˁ] or [ðˁ]

Semitic

ž

voiced palatoalveolar fricative; IPA [ʒ]

rouge, vision

ʒ

voiced palatoalveolar fricative; same as [ž]

rouge, vision

glottalization of preceding sound (ejective)

Mayan, Ethiopic

aspiration of preceding sound; same as [ʰ]

Chinese (not Pinyin)

ʔ

glottal stop; also written ’ or ʾ

medial sound in uh-oh

ʕ

voiced pharyngeal fricative; also written ‘ or ʿ

Arabic ‘ayn

  

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