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The Phonetic Alphabet

Learn to transcribe spoken English using the International Phonetic Alphabet found in good dictionaries:

Self-correcting (interactive) tests to practise English vowel and consonant sounds

  1. Sounds and spelling - match the phonemic script with the corresponding English word
  2. Sounds and spelling - match the phoneme with the vowel sound in the first syllable of the word
  3. Sounds and spelling - select the consonant phoneme / θ / or / ð / contained within the word
  4. Sounds and spelling - select the consonant phoneme /ʃ/ , /ʧ/ or /ʤ/ contained within the word
  5. Sounds and spelling - match the vowel sound in the first syllable of the word with the phonemes / ɪ / , / i: / or / e /
  6. Sounds and spelling - identify whether the initial consonant sound of the word is / g / , / j / or the voiced postalveolar affricate / ʤ /

Sing-along pronunciation songs with texts and audio (wma)

  1. Claudia Wins Again [phonemic transcription] - practise reading phonemic script by singing along to the audio
  2. Claudia Wins Again [normal song text] - long vowel sound / i: /---diphthongs / aʊ / and / eɪ / and / aɪ /
  3. The No No Song - The diphthong / əʊ / as in "don't go!"
  4. No Need For Vampires Tonight - /z/ voiced alveolar fricative: 's' pronounced as /z/---'TH' pronounced as / ð / voiced dental fricative

NEW: Minimal Pairs - word lists for comparing English sounds


Links to John Maidment's excellent practice materials on University College London's web site

Vowel sounds (English and French)

English Vowel Sounds (Received Pronunciation) - Example: using the table of 20 symbols for RP English Vowel Sounds, click on the symbol for the vowel in the word "cat".

English Vowel Sounds (Received Pronunciation) - Example: Check all the tick-boxes next to words (from a choice of 12) containing the vowel sound / i: /

English Vowel Sounds (Northern British English) - Example: using the table of 21 symbols for Northern British English Vowel Sounds, click on the symbol for the vowel in the word "grass".

French Vowel Sounds - Example: using the table of 16 symbols for French Vowel sounds, click on the symbol for the vowel in the word "chat".

Consonant sounds (English and French)

English Consonant Sounds (Received Pronunciation) - Example: provide the full label or description for the phonemic symbol, checking the appropriate boxes to indicate (1) Voiced of Voiceless (2) Place of articulation (3) Manner of articulation.

English Consonant Sounds (Received Pronunciation) - Example: given the full label or description indicating (1) Voiced of Voiceless (2) Place of articulation (3) Manner of articulation, tick the matching phonemic symbol from a table of 20 symbols.

French Consonant Sounds - Example: given the full label or description indicating (1) Voiced of Voiceless (2) Place of articulation (3) Manner of articulation, tick the matching phonemic symbol from a table of 21 symbols.


English speech rhythm

English Speech Rhythm and the Foreign Learner by Corinne Adams (Moulton 1979)

Timing and rhythm in speech - a bibliography edited by Peter Roach of the University of Reading.

Prosodic Systems and Intonation in English by David Crystal (Cambridge 1976)

English Intonation

Intonation practice using audio clips

Practice drills (orginally from J.D.O'Connor & G.F.Arnold's "Intonation of Colloquial English" Longman 1973) adapted for learning on the computer.


Phonetics [IPA]

practise all the symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet i.e. covering the sounds for all known languages.

IPA Consonant Sounds - Example: provide the full label or description for the phonetic symbol, checking the appropriate boxes to indicate (1) Voiced of Voiceless (2) Place of articulation (3) Manner of articulation.

Phonetics Tutorials on basic voicing for consonant sounds + more on articulation,voicing and aspiration for plosives.


Notes:

Displaying phonemic and phonetic symbols on your computer

Please Note: in order for the phonetic symbols in these exercises to display on your computer monitor, your web browser must support Unicode fonts - version 4 or later of Netscape or Internet Explorer.

You will also need to have one or both of the following fonts in your C:/WINDOWS/FONTS folder [or the folder where fonts are stored on your hard disk]:
1. "Arial Unicode MS" - this is available as part of Microsoft Office XP and Microsoft Publisher 2002
2. "Lucida Sans Unicode"

If you have not got the above and / or the MS Windows XP Operating System - for example, you are using MS Windows 98 operating system - the quickest way to get a phonetic font display is as follows:

Download "Lucida Sans Unicode" - a quick download of 316 KB offered freely at THE INTERNATIONAL PHONETIC ALPHABET IN UNICODE. This helpful site, authored by John Wells at University College London, provides both for learners who want to display phonetic symbols on their computer and for authors of web pages who want to supply relevant study material.

Educational resources for phonetics and phonology from University College London, including helpful Phonetics Tutorials.

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