English CONSONANTS IPA & EXAMPLES
By Georgie Harding – Founder & Head Speech Pathologist
English Consonant Sounds IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet)
With Voice Recorder & Audio Files
See examples of each of the IPA Consonant Sounds with examples in common English words. You can listen to each English consonant sound pronounced by a native English speaker and practise your pronunciation of each consonant sound.
What are the English Consonant Sound IPA symbols (International Phonetic Alphabet)? English has 24 consonant sounds. Some consonants have voice from the voicebox and some don’t. These consonants are voiced and voiceless pairs /p/ /b/, /t/ /d/, /k/ /g/, /f/ /v/, /s/ /z/, /θ/ /ð/, /ʃ/ /ʒ/, /ʈʃ/ /dʒ/. These consonants are voiced /h/, /w/, /n/, /m/, /r/, /j/, /ŋ/, /l/.
I understand that for many people, the IPA symbols can look a little overwhelming. But remember, you don’t have to know every IPA symbol for it to be seriously helpful for improving your English pronunciation.
Watch this video lesson on English consonant sounds with IPA, the International Phonetic Symbols to revise all the consonants in English.
Before we get started, let’s go over two things you need to know about the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
Even if you don’t know all the English Consonant IPA symbols, still use the IPA for important information such as:
– when you see the two dots /:/ it means the sound is long
– each symbol represents a sound
– when you see this dash /’/ it means the next syllable is stressed
Why is the IPA so helpful for English pronunciation? The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a very helpful tool for learners of English because English is not a phonetic language. The spelling of an English word doesn’t tell us how to pronounce it. In English, several different letter combinations can be used to spell the same sound and there are silent letters. The IPA tells us exactly the correct sounds and word stress for pronouncing English words.
RECORD & PRACTICE English Consonant Sounds Examples
VOICED & UNVOICED CONSONANT SOUNDS
Let’s talk about voicing. Voiced and unvoiced pairs.
The first 8 boxes below show the consonant sounds IPA symbols for voiced and unvoiced consonant pairs.
English consonants can be unvoiced and voiced.
An unvoiced consonant means that there is is no vibration or voice coming from the voicebox when the sound is pronounced. Examples of unvoiced consonant sounds are /s/, /p/ and /t/.
A voiced consonant means that there is voice or vibration coming from the voicebox when the sound is pronounced. Examples of voiced consonant sounds are /v/, /b/ and /g/.
A consonant pair is when the mouth position required to make two sounds is the same, but one sound in unvoiced and one sound is voiced.
We have put the voiced and unvoiced pairs in the box together. Remember that the mouth position for the pair is exactly the same, the only difference is that one is voiced and one isn’t.
For example, the mouth position required to make the sounds /p/ and /b/ is exactly the same, /p/ has no voice and /b/ is voiced.
/f/ and /v/ require exactly the same mouth position, /f/ is unvoiced and /v/ is voiced.
Refresh your consonant sounds ipa symbols now with the tools below.
TOP TIPS FOR REVISING CONSONANT SOUNDS IPA SYMBOLS WITH EXAMPLES
Don’t worry too much about voicing. It is not really very important for how clear your English is to listeners.
You need to focus on your mouth position. Are you pronouncing each consonant clearly?
Pay careful attention to consonant sounds at the ends of words. Consonant sounds at the ends of words are very important for speaking clearly in English.
For example, when pronouncing /k/ in the word ‘back’, make sure you can clearly hear the /k/ sound at the end. It is strong or stressed but it does need t be there.
Consonant Sounds – Voiced & Unvoiced Pairs With International Phonetic Symbols – IPA
Consonant Sounds – Voiced Consonants
The consonant sounds IPA symbols below are all voiced but do not have a voiced pair.
The consonant IPA symbols /m/, /n/ and /ŋ/ are all called nasal sounds, because when we make them the air passes through our nose, not out of the mouth. As you go through these sounds, check your /m/ and /n/ at the ends of words.
IPA Consonant Sounds Chart pdf
Would you like to download a consonant sounds chart with examples in the IPA International Phonetic Alphabet in .pdf?
Click to download a .pdf all the consonant sounds chart with IPA symbols and examples in words.
Print it and put it on your wall to learn and revise all the IPA symbols for consonant sounds in English. You’ll see the IPA symbol for each consonant and also examples of each consonant in words. See the full IPA for each word on the consonant sounds chart pdf.
More IPA Consonant Sounds With Examples
Here are some more examples of consonants sounds in the IPA with full IPA transcription for words with each consonant sound.
See the full IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) symbols for each consonant sound here:
/p/ pet /pet/ paper /ˈpeɪ.pə/ top /tɒp/
/b/ bet /bet/ trouble /ˈtrʌ.bəl/ rub /rʌb/
/t/ Tim /tɪm/ better /ˈbe.tə/ hot /hɒt/
/d/ dim /dɪm/ order /ˈɔː.də/ bad /bæd/
/k/ came /keɪm/ talking /ˈtɔː.kɪŋ/ back /bæk/
/g/ game /geɪm/ bigger /ˈbɪ.gə/ bag /bæg/
/f/ fine /faɪn/ offer /ˈɒf.ə/ off /ɒf/
/v/ vine /vaɪn/ saving /ˈseɪ.vɪŋ/ of /ɒv/
/s/ seal /si:l/ missing /ˈmɪ.sɪŋ/ face /feɪs/
/z/ zeal /zi:l/ crazy /ˈkreɪ.zi/ phase /feɪz/
/ʃ/ show /ʃoʊ/ pushing /ˈpʊ.ʃɪŋ/ rush /rʌʃ/
/ʒ/ measure /ˈme.ʒə/ vision /ˈvɪ.ʒən/ asia /ˈeɪ.ʒə/
/ʧ/ choke /ʧoʊk/ watching /wɒ.tʃɪŋ/ catch /kætʃ/
/ʤ/ joke /ʤoʊk/ damage /ˈdæ.mɪdʒ/ large /lɑːdʒ/
/θ/ thin /θɪn/ method /ˈme.θəd/ both /boʊθ/
/ð / then /ðen/ other /ˈʌ.ðə/ with /wɪð/
/l/ love /lʌv/ follow /ˈfɒː.loʊ/ well /wel/
/m/ mail /meɪl/ humour /ˈhjuː.mə/ some /sʌm/
/n/ nail /neɪl/ funny /ˈfʌ.ni/ fine /faɪn/
/ŋ/ sing /sɪŋ/ singer /ˈsɪ.ŋə/
/h/ heal /hi:l/ perhaps /pəˈhæps/
/r/ real /ri:l/ correct /kəˈrekt/
/j/ you /ju:/ beyond /biˈjɒnd/
/w/ we /wi/ showing /ˈʃoʊ.wɪŋ/
Here are the answers to questions we are often asked by students who are revising consonants sounds IPA.
What is the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)? The IPA is set of symbols where each symbol represents a speech sound or tells us where the word stress is. The IPA for English has 44 symbols. The dash /ˈ/ indicates that the next syllable is stressed.
Should I learn the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)? If you are serious about improving your English pronunciation then it is helpful to learn the IPA. The IPA is the most reliable way to find out the correct pronunciation of English words. It provides important information such as where the word stress is and which consonant and vowel sounds to use in every word.
Do I need to learn all the IPA symbols? No, I suggest you just learn the IPA symbols for the sounds that you have difficulty with. Try and identify which sounds are difficult for you and learn the IPA symbols for them. Also you remember that the two dots /:/ are a long vowel, when you see two vowel symbols it means it’s a double or diphthong, when you see this dash /’/ it means the next syllable is stressed.
What is the best way for me to see the IPA? The best way to check the IPA is using a reliable dictionary. I have found the most reliable source to be the Cambridge Online Dictionary. The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) dictionary is excellent, you can see clearer the each IPA symbol and the word stress marked in. You can also click to hear the word in a British and American style English.
Why are the IPA symbols sometimes different for UK / British and US / American English? Different styles of English have slightly different sounds. Usually the difference between English accents, such as American, British or Australian English, occurs in the vowel sounds. These differences are quite subtle. The consonant sounds are almost always the same and the word stress placement is usually the same too.
I hope this has helped you better understand the IPA for consonant sounds in English and has given you a good idea of how knowing the IPA can help you improve your English pronunciation.
Here are some other articles that I’ve written that might help you.
English Word Stress Exercises: videos, audio and voice recorder exercises to help you improve your word stress and emphasis in English.
Checklist For Choosing Accent Reduction Training.
Would you like more help with your English Pronunciation? Contact us to find out more about our English Pronunciation Courses. Our training is tailored specifically for speakers of your language background. See more about our course for speakers of your first language here – Speech Active Course List
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All the best
English Consonant Sounds IPA International Phonetic Alphabet
Georgie Harding has assisted thousands of people from all over the world with improving their clarity and spoken English skills. A Speech Pathology degree (BAppSc(SpPath) and CELTA qualifications and over 15 years of experience providing 1:1, group and online training make Georgie a leader in her field.
Georgie is the creator the world’s leading English Pronunciation online courses that are tailored to the language background of the student and presents regularly at Universities.
If you’ve ever met Georgie or completed her award winning courses you’ll know how passionate she is about helping people move forward with better spoken English and more confidence.
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