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Help:Pronunciation respelling key

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The following pronunciation respelling key is used in some Wikipedia articles to respell the pronunciations of English words. It does not use special symbols or diacritics apart from the schwa (ə), which is used for the first sound of the word "about".

It should be noted that the standard set of symbols used to show the pronunciation of English words in Wikipedia is the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The IPA has significant advantages over the respelling system described here, as it can be used to accurately represent pronunciations from any language in the world, and (being an international standard) is often more familiar to non-native speakers of English. On the other hand, the IPA (being designed to represent sounds from any language in the world) is not as intuitive for those chiefly familiar with English orthography, for whom this respelling system is likely to be easier for English words and names. Articles often provide pronunciations in both systems (see documentation at the template {{Respell}} for more examples and for instructions on using the template).

Syllables and stress

Syllables are separated by hyphens ("-") in the display. The stress on a syllable is indicated by bold capital letters in the display. For example, the word "pronunciation" (/prəˌnʌnsiˈʃən/) is respelled prə-NUN-see-AY-shən. In this example, the primary and secondary stress are not distinguished, as the difference is automatic. When primary stress precedes secondary stress, however, it is advised to not indicate the secondary stress and to write, for example, KOWN-tər-fit instead of KOWN-tər-FIT because the latter would not distinguish between /ˈkntərˌfɪt/ and /ˌkntərˈfɪt/.

Key

Vowels
Rspl. Example(s) IPA
a[1] trap /æ/
ah palm /ɑː/
air[2] square, scarce /ɛər/
ar[2] start /ɑːr/
arr marry[3] /ær/
aw thought, fall, straw[4] /ɔː/
ay face, fail, vein, pay /eɪ/
e[1] dress /ɛ/
eh[5] prestige
ee fleece, meter, sea /iː/
happy, serious[6] /i/
eer[2] near, fierce /ɪər/
err error /ɛr/
ew[7] cute, beauty, dew[8] /juː/
ewr[2][7] cure /jʊər/
eye[9] item /aɪ/
i[1] kit /ɪ/
ih[10] historic
ire[2] hire /aɪər/
irr mirror /ɪr/
o[1] lot[11] /ɒ/
oh goat, mode, toe /oʊ/
oir[2] coir /ɔɪər/
oo goose, you /uː/
situation[12] /u/
oor[2] poor, tourist[13] /ʊər/
or[2] north, war, force, more[13] /ɔːr/
orr moral /ɒr/
ow[14] mouth, how /aʊ/
owr[2] flour /aʊər/
oy choice, boy /ɔɪ/
u[1] cut, tough /ʌ/
uh[15] frustration
ur[2] nurse, word, girl, fern /ɜːr/
urr hurry /ʌr/
uu[1] foot, full /ʊ/
uurr courier /ʊr/
y[9] price /aɪ/
ər[2] letter, picture, Oxford /ər/
ə comma, pencil, mountain /ə/
Consonants
Rspl. Example(s) IPA
b buy, cab /b/
ch[16] church, nature /tʃ/
d dye, cad /d/
dh this, breathe /ð/
f fool, graph /f/
g go, bag /ɡ/
gh[17] guess, guitar
h high, ahead /h/
j jam, giant, badge /dʒ/
k quiz, sky, crack /k/
kh loch, Chanukah[18] /x/
l lie, bell /l/
m man, smile, cam /m/
n no, snow, tin /n/
ng[19] ring, singer /ŋ/
p pen, spin, tip /p/
r run, try, very /r/
s see, past /s/
ss[20] ice, tense
sh she, emotion, cache /ʃ/
t two, sting, bet /t/
tch[16] church, natural /tʃ/
th thing, teeth /θ/
v voice, of /v/
w we, quick /w/
wh which[21] /hw/
y yes /j/
z zoo, rose, lens /z/
zh pleasure, vision, beige[22] /ʒ/

Optional sounds

When a certain sound is pronounced by some speakers but not by others, the sound is put inside parentheses (round brackets). For example, the word "fuchsia" (/ˈfjuːʃiə, -ʃə/) could be respelled FEW-sh(ee-)ə, which can be pronounced either FEW-shee-ə or FEW-shə.

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f /æ, ɛ, ɪ, ɒ, ʌ, ʊ/ (a, e(h), i(h), o, u(h), uu) are checked vowels, meaning never occurring word-finally or before a vowel. While, in IPA, a consonant between a checked vowel and another vowel is usually attributed to the same syllable as the second vowel, in this respelling system, it is usually attributed to the same syllable as the first.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k In non-rhotic accents such as Received Pronunciation, r in syllable-final positions is not pronounced unless followed by a vowel.
  3. ^ arr is pronounced the same as err (as in "merry") in dialects with the Marymarrymerry merger.
  4. ^ aw is pronounced the same as o (as in "lot") in dialects with the cotcaught merger such as some varieties of General American.
  5. ^ /ɛ/ is sometimes respelled eh instead of e in syllable-final positions, so as to avoid confusion with such sounds as ee and ay.
  6. ^ ee at the end of a word or before a vowel is pronounced the same as i in accents with happy tensing. While it is transcribed as /i/ in IPA, this distinction is not made in this respelling system.
  7. ^ a b ew(r) is for when /juː/ (or /jʊər/) takes place right after a consonant within the same syllable. When /juː/ (or /jʊər/) happens at the beginning of a syllable (e.g. "youth", "Europe"), use yoo(r).
  8. ^ In dialects with yod-dropping, ew is pronounced oo after t, d, s, z, n, th and l, so "tune" and "dew" are pronounced the same as "toon" and "do".
  9. ^ a b /aɪ/ is respelled y when preceded by a consonant and otherwise eye. When it is followed by a consonant within the same syllable, place an e after the consonant as necessary: "price" pryse, "tight" tyte
  10. ^ /ɪ/ is sometimes respelled ih instead of i in syllable-final positions, so as to avoid confusion with such sounds as eye.
  11. ^ o is pronounced the same as ah (as in "palm") in dialects with the fatherbother merger such as General American.
  12. ^ u before a vowel is pronounced either oo or uu depending on the dialect. While it is transcribed as /u/ in IPA, this distinction is not made in this respelling system.
  13. ^ a b oor is pronounced the same as or in dialects with the pourpoor merger, including those spoken by younger speakers.
  14. ^ Respelling this sound could prove problematic as there are a variety of monosyllabic words spelled with "ow" that are pronounced with the oh sound: blow, blown, bow, bowl, clow, crow, flow, flown, glow, grow, grown, growth, low, mow, mown, own, owt, row, show, slow, snow, sow, sown, stow, strow, throw, tow, trow, and any combination of one of these words plus s or z at the end. While owt may be replaced with out, there is no universal solution to this problem and so respelling a word including this sound may be best avoided altogether.
  15. ^ /ʌ/ is sometimes respelled uh instead of u in syllable-final positions, so as to avoid confusion with such sounds as uu.
  16. ^ a b /tʃ/ is respelled tch instead of ch in syllable-final positions, so as to avoid confusion with such sounds as k and kh.
  17. ^ gh in lieu of g is used when otherwise there might be confusion with j.
  18. ^ In most dialects, /x/ (kh) is replaced by /k/ in most words, including "loch". Where the sound begins a word, such as "Chanukah", it is sometimes replaced with /h/.
  19. ^ Sequence /ŋk/ (as in "sink") is respelled nk instead of ngk, since the assimilation is obvious, except beyond a syllable boundary: "tinker" ting-ker
  20. ^ ss in lieu of s is used when otherwise there might be confusion with z: "ice" eyess, "tense" tenss (compare eyes, tens)
  21. ^ wh is pronounced the same as w in many dialects with the winewhine merger.
  22. ^ A number of English words, such as "genre" and "garage", are pronounced with either j or zh.

See also