Sounds of the International Phonetic Alphabet

What's the difference between [l-with-a-looped-belt]
and [l-with-a-swung-crossbar]; -- what does a retroflex flap sound like? -- how is cardinal 15 (ram's-horns) different from card. 16 (turned m)?
(Answers at the bottom of this page)

Listen to a demonstration of ALL the sounds on the current IPA Chart!

The Sounds of the IPA is now available on audio cassette, audio CD or interactive CD-ROM. On it you can hear just what every symbol on the Chart represents.

Every consonant sound is presented in the frames [_a] and [a_a]; every vowel sound is said first on a falling tone and then on a level tone.

The sounds are presented in the exact order in which they are shown on the 1993 Chart. They are spoken by John Wells, Professor of Phonetics at University College London and former Secretary of the IPA, and Jill House Senior Lecturer in Phonetics at UCL.

The audio recording available on audio cassette or audio CD comes complete with a full script so that you can follow along. View the script (PDF format). The interactive CD-ROM contains the original audio recording synchronised to a clickable script and clickable charts. Browse the recording by scrolling the script. Compare sounds by clicking directly on symbols. CD-ROM application built with VoiScript for Windows computers only.

The cassette, CD and CD-ROM are published on behalf of the International Phonetic Association by the Department of Speech Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, University College London.

Audio Cassette version only £7 (about US$12)  

Audio CD version only £10 (about US$17)  

*Interactive CD-ROM (Windows only) only £10 (about US$17)  

Prices include tax, postage and packing.

* Please note that if purchasing the CD-ROM version of this product: it includes the font
also advertised on these pages and it would not be necessary to order that additionally.


  • Both are laterals: the first is a voiceless fricative, the second a voiced velarized approximant. Hear them on the tape.
  • You can hear it in Hindi, in Norwegian, and ... on the tape.
  • Both are back and unrounded, close-mid and close respectively. Get a Vietnamese speaker to demonstrate, or ... listen to the tape.

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