IPA Chart

Below is a chart of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).  These symbols are used to represent all of the possible sounds that can be produced by the human vocal mechanism.  This can be a very helpful tool for figuring out exactly how to pronounce utterances in a new language.  Think of the chart like a cross section of your mouth, with sounds made at the front of your mouth on the left, and sounds made at the back on the right.  Within each box, a sound can be voiced or voiceless.  For example, “t” is voiceless because your vocal chords do not vibrate, so it is to the left in its box, but “d” is voiced because your focal chords vibrate, and is on the right.  To hear what each symbol sounds like, I recommend checking out InternationalPhoneticAlphabet.orgOn this page, they have a clickable chart that will play each sound for you.

When you are studying a language, it can be helpful to find a phonetic guide to pronouncing the sounds in that language.  This will usually involve a list of the letters of the language’s alphabet and possibly some sample words with the IPA symbol written next to it.  If the language you are studying has difficult sounds, take the time to use the clickable chart mentioned above and listen to those sounds.  It can be helpful to compare them to sounds in the same row on the chart to hear the difference.  Listen to the audio, and then imitate it.  Practice pronouncing words from the language you are studying that contain that sound.  This can help you to both improve your own accent and understand native speakers better.

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IPA Chart, http://www.internationalphoneticassociation.org/content/ipa-chart, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License. Copyright © 2015 International Phonetic Association.

I received no incentives or compensation for any content in this post, and have no affiliation with any of the organizations or websites mentioned.

 

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