The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabet for representing the correct pronunciation of words.
The English alphabet is not suitable for documenting the precise pronunciation of words in other languages. For starters, there are around 120 distinct consonant and vowel sounds found in languages world-wide (as you will see below). With only 26 letters available in the English alphabet, there is a need for a system that can represent sounds that aren’t found in English.
Even if your conlang only uses English sounds, English spelling is highly inconsistent: a single letter can have multiple different pronunciations (“so” vs “to“). Even if you were to say o is pronounced as in so, not to, this does not account for regional accents. Do not assume everyone speaks a General American accent!
The IPA addresses these problems by having unique symbols for every sound found around the world, and can even account for regional accents.
It’s important to know that Vulgarlang bases everything on IPA: when you are choosing the sound of your language, you are choosing the IPA sounds; when you create custom words for your language, you are writing the words in their pronounced IPA form.
Vulgar does also create a “spelling convention” for the language (which is the bold blue text) which can be controlled in the Spelling options.
Click IPA symbols for audio
Welsh w English
|ɥ Iaai (New Caledonia)
Upper Sorbian (Germany)
a vs. ä
Many well known languages, such as Spanish and Italian, have the vowel ä. However this vowel very is often simply written as a, so long as the language doesn’t have true a, and so long as it is specified that a represents a “central low” vowel for the purpose of the document. This is a fairly normal practice among linguists, to avoid excessive diacritic usage. It may happen with other vowels, and even consonants, although it more common with vowels, and particularly common with this vowel.
IPA for English
Note: Diphthongs (vowels that are made up of two different vowel sounds) do not have their own dedicated audio recordings.
|b||but, web, rubble|
|ʧ||chat, teach, nature|
|d||dot, idea, nod|
|f||fan, left, enough, photo|
|ʤ||joy, agile, age|
|m||man, animal, him|
|n||note, ant, pan|
|p||pen, spin, top, apple|
|s||set, list, ice|
|ʃ||ash, sure, ration|
|θ||thin, nothing, moth|
|ð||this, father, clothe|
|z||zoo, quiz, rose|
|British||General American||Canadian||Australian||New Zealand|
|æ, a||æ||ɛ||bad, cat, ran|
|eɪ, ɛi||eɪ||æe||day, pain|
|ɛə, ɛː||ɛɹ, eɹ||ɛɹ||eː||eə||hair, there|
|ɪ||ɪ, i||ɘ||sit, city, bit|
|ɪ||i||city, very, ready|
|ɪə, ɪː||ɪɹ, iɹ||ɪə, ɪː||iə||near, here, serious|
|aɪ, ɑi||aɪ||aɪ, ʌɪ||ɑe||my, rice|
|ɒ, ɔ||ɑ||ɒ||ɔ||ɒ, ɔ||not, wasp|
|əʊ||oʊ||əʉ||ɐʉ||no, go, hope|
|ɔə, ɔː, oː||oɹ, ɔɹ||ɔɹ||oː||hoarse|
|ɔː, oː||ɔ||ɒ||oː||law, caught|
|ɔɪ, oi||ɔɪ||oe||boy, noise|
|ʊə, ɵː||ʊɹ||ʊə||ʉə||tour, tourism|
|uː||u||ʉː||lose, soon, through|
|aʊ||aʊ, ʌʊ||æo||house, now|
|ʌ||ɐː||run, enough, up|
|ɜː||ɝ, əɹ||ɝ||ɜː||ɵː||fur, bird|