The International Phonetic Alphabet, or IPA in short, will help you
learn how to pronounce correctly each and every word in English! But
first, you need to learn what it is, and how to use it. Read the
following explanation, and watch the videos. Answer the
questions in the end to test your understanding.
The English language may have only 26 letters, but
it has over 40
different sounds! You need to be familiar with each sound,
and its proper pronunciation in order for you to speak natural
So, how can you learn the sounds of English?
There is a special system that uses a group of symbols to
represent each sound.
Follow our tutorial to learn what sound
each symbol indicates,
and how to pronounce thatsound correctly.
That way, you will learn and practice the actual sounds of
Here is the place to mention that this tutorial covers American
The system of symbols is called International
Alphabet, or IPA
Phonetic means "using
special signs to represent the sounds of speech".
It comes from the Greek word phone
which means "sound".
is a sound we make when the breath flows out through the mouth
freely, without being blocked. The English letters a, e, i, o, u are
called vowels, because they represent such sounds.
It comes from the Latin word vox
which means "voice".
Diphthong is a vowel sound
made by pronouncing two vowels quickly one after the other. For
example, the vowel sound in "loud" is a diphthong.
It comes from the Latin word diphthongus
which means "two sounds".
Consonant is a sound we make
that is not a vowel. The breath is somehow blocked on its way out of
the mouth. For example, the sound B is made when breath flow is
stopped with the lips. All the English letters which are not
vowels are called consonants. These are: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l,
m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z.
Watch the following video to
learn how to use the International Phonetic Alphabet. It also gives
a quick review of the sounds we will learn later.
Have you read the explanations and watched the videos?
You are almost ready to move on to the next lesson, but before
that, make sure you know the answers to the following questions:
How many sounds (more or less) are there in the English
What is the IPA?
How can the IPA help YOU?
What is a vowel?
What is a diphthong?
What is a consonant?
Have you answered the questions? Awesome!
Well done! You have completed the International Phonetic Alphabet