Word Stress in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

Apr 10, 2019 | Uncategorized

Georgie Harding

Founder & Head Speech Pathologist

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So, how is word stress written in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)?

English word stress can be on any syllable in a multi-syllable word – the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th syllable!

You cannot tell by looking at the word where the stress will be. Word stress is not indicated by the spelling of a word.

In order to check where the word stress is in a word it is very helpful to use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system used to show the EXACT way to pronounce words.

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an extremely helpful tool for improving and developing your English pronunciation skills. If you are not sure where the word stress / syllable stress is in a word, check using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

See all the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols for English sounds, with examples of each sound in English words and record your own speech and compare it with a native speaker here – All the Sounds in English in the IPA.

Word stress is marked with a dash, like this /ˈ/ before the stressed syllable.

Look at the word banana /bəˈnɑː.nə/. Can you see the dash is before the 2nd syllable which is stressed? This dash/ˈ/ tells us that the next syllable is stressed.

Here are a few more words for you to check how the word stress is marked in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

carpet /ˈkɑː.pət/
paper /ˈpeɪ.pə/

computer /kəmˈpjuː.tə/
amazing /əˈmeɪ.zɪŋ/

The best most reliable online dictionary to use with the IPA is the Cambridge Online Dictionary. Check the IPA in the Cambridge Online Dictionary. You can see the IPA and listen to words pronounced in British English and American English.

Would you like more free resources?

Make sure you join our free English Pronunciation Course.  It’s the perfect place to start improving!

Listen to all the sounds in English and record your own speech and compare it to a native English speaker.

Open your ears and listen carefully to the way people around you speak English. Listen as much as you can to the sounds they make.

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Good luck!

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Listen to the pronunciation of words and see the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) at the Cambridge Online Dictionary.

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