This resource is a collection of interactive International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) charts, in PDF format with clickable IPA symbols to let you hear a recording of each phone. They were inspired by a similar chart at ipachart.com, and have been re-created as a set of IPA charts, customized to cover the phonemic inventories of the most frequent languages of students in The Ohio State University’s ESL Spoken English Program (as of 2022).
These charts have several advantages over existing interactive IPA charts:
- Whereas existing interactive IPA charts typically exclude (or relegate them to a supplemental chart at the bottom of the page) certain phones that involve a suprasegmental articulation (such as aspiration) or are composed of multiple phones (such as affricates), these charts include them if they are phonemes in a given language.
- Whereas existing interactive IPA charts include many more sounds than are in the phonemic inventory of any particular language, these charts omit the visual clutter of numerous sounds that are not in a given language’s phonemic inventory.
- Whereas existing interactive IPA charts typically don’t show how phonemes are written in a given language (if a written form exists), many of these charts are presented in two versions: One with IPA symbols, and one with characters from a writing system typically used to represent the given language.
These properties allow students or instructors to easily see which phones and phonemes common to multiple languages, and those that are in one phonetic or phonemic inventory but not in another, by opening different charts in different tabs and toggling between them.
To use these charts, you will need to download the charts for the languages of interest and open them with Adobe Acrobat. (Unfortunately, unlike other interactive IPA charts, these cannot be used within a browser, but the PDF format allows for easier updating and correcting of the charts.)
Unless otherwise noted, phones that are part of multiple languages are linked to the same sound file. This may result in slight phonetic divergences from typical speaker pronunciations. For example, both English and Korean have voiceless and aspirated voiceless stops, but in Korean, the difference in voice onset time between aspirated and non-aspirated stops is greater than in English. Even so, the sounds recorded (by an English speaker) are used for both English and Korean.
Sources are listed on the final page of each PDF.
Corrections, or suggestions for improvement or other languages to cover, should be sent to Dr. Philip Neal Whitman, email@example.com.
(Please download the PDF and open it with Adobe Acrobat)