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Misconceptions[edit]

"The 'true' IPA is that which describes speech as closely as possible."

"There are only two kinds of phonetic transcription, broad (phonemic) and narrow (allophonic)."

"The International Phonetic Alphabet is, at its core, a phonetic alphabet."

"There is one correct way to syllabify English words."

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Pronunciation sources[edit]

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Weirdly prescriptive and often inaccurate

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The Chaos[edit]

"The Chaos" by Gerard Nolst Trenité:[1][2]

I will teach you in my verse
/ wɪl t j ɪn m vɜːrs/
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.
/sndz lk kɔːrps kɔːr hɔːrs ən wɜːrs/
It will keep you, Susy, busy,
/ɪt wɪl kp j ˈszi ˈbɪzi/
Make your head with[3] heat grow dizzy;
/mk jʊər hɛd wɪð ht ɡr ˈdɪzi/
Tear in eye your dress you'll tear.
/tɪər ɪn jʊər drɛs jl tɛər/
So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer,
/s ʃəl hɪər m prɛər/
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it?
/mk m kt lʊk nj dɪər s ɪt/
Just compare heart, beard and heard,
/ʌst kəmˈpɛər hɑːrt bɪərd ən hɜːrd/
Dies and diet, lord and word,
/dz ən ˈdət lɔːrd ən wɜːrd/
Sword and sward, retain and Britain,
/sɔːrd ən swɔːrd rɪˈtn ən ˈbrɪtən/
(Mind the latter, how it's written!)
/mnd ðə ˈlætər h ɪts ˈrɪtən/
Made has not the sound of bade,
/md həz nɒt ðə snd əv bæd/
Say—said, pay—paid, laid, but plaid.
/s sɛd p pd ld bət plæd/
Now I surely will not plague you
/n ˈʃʊərli wɪl nɒt plɡ j/
But be careful how you speak,
/bət b ˈkɛərfəl h j spk/
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak,
/s brk stk bət blk ən strk/
Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir,
/pp snp ˈrɛsɪpi ən kwaɪər/
Cloven, oven; how and low;
/ˈklvən ˈʌvən h ən l/
Script, receipt; shoe, poem, toe,
/skrɪpt rɪˈst ʃ ˈpɪm t/
Hear me say, devoid of trickery:
/hɪər m s dɪˈvɔɪd əv ˈtrɪkəri/
Daughter, laughter[5] and Terpsichore,
/ˈdɔːtər ˈlɑːftər ən tɜːrpˈsɪkəri/
Typhoid; measles, topsails, aisles;
/ˈtfɔɪd ˈmzəlz ˈtɒpsəlz lz/
Wholly, holly; signal, signing;
/ˈhli ˈhɒli ˈsɪɡnəl ˈsnɪŋ/
Thames; examining, combining;
/tɛmz ɪɡˈzæmɪnɪŋ kəmˈbnɪŋ/
From "desire": desirableadmirable from "admire";
/frəm dɪˈzaɪər dɪˈzaɪərəbəl ˈædmərəbəl frəm ədˈmaɪər/
Lumber, plumber; bier but brier;
/ˈlʌmbər ˈplʌmər bɪər bət braɪər/
Chatham, brougham;[7] renown but known,
/ˈætəm brm rɪˈnn bət nn/
Knowledge; done, but gone[8] and tone,
/ˈnɒlɪ dʌn bət ɡɒn ən tn/
One, anemone; Balmoral;
/wʌn əˈnɛməni bælˈmɒrəl/
Kitchen, lichen; laundry, laurel;
/ˈkɪɪn ˈlkən ˈlɔːndri ˈlɒrəl/
Scene, Melpomene, mankind;
/sn mɛlˈpɒmɪni mænˈknd/
Tortoise, turquoise,[9] chamois-leather,
/ˈtɔːrtəs ˈtɜːrkwɑːz ˈʃæmi ˈlɛðər/
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.
/ˈrdɪŋ ˈrɛdɪŋ ˈhðən ˈhɛðər/
Gives moss,[11] gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.
/ɡɪvz mɒs ɡrs brʊk br nnθ plɪnθ/
Billet does not end like ballet;[12]
/ˈbɪlɪt dəz nɒt ɛnd lk ˈbæl/
Blood and flood are not like food,
/blʌd ən flʌd ɑːr nɒt lk fd/
Nor is mould like should and would.
/nɔːr ɪz mld lk ʃʊd ən wʊd/[10]
Which is said to rime with[3] "darky".
/hwɪ ɪz sɛd tə rm wɪð ˈdɑːrki/
Viscous, viscount; load and broad;
/ˈvɪskəs ˈvknt ld ən brɔːd/
Toward, to forward, to reward,
/tɔːrd tə ˈfɔːrwərd t rɪˈwɔːrd/
When you say correctly croquet;[16]
/hwɛn j s kəˈrɛktli ˈkrk/
Rounded, wounded; grieve and sieve;
/ˈrndɪd ˈwndɪd ɡrv ən sɪv/
Friend and fiend; alive and live;
/frɛnd ən fnd əˈlv ən lɪv/
Liberty, library; heave and heaven;
/ˈlɪbərti ˈlbrəri hv ən ˈhɛvən/
We say hallowed, but allowed;
/w s ˈhæld bət əˈld/
People, leopard; towed, but vowed
/ˈppəl ˈlɛpərd td bət vd/
Mark the difference, moreover,
/mɑːrk ðə ˈdɪfərəns mɔːrˈvər/
Leeches, breeches;[18] wise, precise;
/ˈlɪz ˈbrɪɪz wz prɪˈss/
Chalice but police and lice.
/ˈælɪs bət pəˈls ən ls/
Wait, surmise,[20] plait,[21] promise; pal.
/wt sɜːrˈmz plæt ˈprɒmɪs pæl/
Rime with[3] "shirk it" and "beyond it",
/rm wɪð ʃɜːrk ɪt ən biˈɒnd ɪt/
But it is not hard to tell,
/bət ɪt ɪz nɒt hɑːrd tə tɛl/
Why it's pall, mall, but Pall Mall.
/hw ɪts pɔːl mɔːl bət pɛl mɛl/
Muscle, muscular; gaol; iron;
/ˈmʌsəl ˈmʌskjʊlər l aɪərn/
Timber, climber; bullion, lion,
/ˈtɪmbər ˈklmər ˈbʊliən ˈlən/
Worm and storm; chaise, chaos, chair;
/wɜːrm ən stɔːrm ʃz ˈkɒs ɛər/
Ivy, privy; famous, clamour
/ˈvi ˈprɪvi ˈfməs ˈklæmər/
And enamour rime with[3] "hammer."
/ənd ɪˈnæmər rm wɪð ˈhæmər/
Pussy, hussy and possess.
/ˈpʊsi ˈhʌsi ən pəˈzɛs/
Golf,[26] wolf; countenance; lieutenants[27]
/ɡɒlf wʊlf ˈkntənəns lɛfˈtɛnənts/
Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.
/hɔɪst ɪn lj əv flæɡz lɛft ˈpɛnənts/
River, rival; tomb, bomb, comb;
/ˈrɪvər ˈrvəl tm bɒm km/
Doll[28] and roll and some and home.
/dɒl ən rl ən sʌm ən hm/
Soul, but foul and gaunt, but aunt;[30]
/sl bət fl ən ɡɔːnt bət ɑːnt/
Font, front, wont;[31] want,[32] grand, and, grant,[33]
/fɒnt frʌnt wnt wɒnt ɡrænd ənd ɡrɑːnt/
Shoes, goes, does.[34] *) Now first say: finger,
/ʃz ɡz dʌz n fɜːrst s ˈfɪŋɡər/
Real, zeal; mauve,[35] gauze and gauge;
/ˈrəl zl mv ɡɔːz ən ɡ/
Nor does fury sound like bury.
/nɔːr dəz ˈfjʊəri snd lk ˈbɛri/
Dost, lost,[38] post and doth, cloth,[39] loth;
/dʌst lɒst pst ən dʌθ klɒθ lθ/
Job, Job, blossom, bosom, oath.
/ɒb b ˈblɒsəm ˈbʊzəm θ/
Though the difference seems little,
/ð ðə ˈdɪfərəns smz ˈlɪtəl/
We say actual, but victual,
/w s ˈækuəl bət ˈvɪtəl/
Seat, sweat, chaste, caste;[40] Leigh, eight, height;
/st swɛt st kɑːst l t ht/
Put, nut; granite, but unite.
/pʊt nʌt ˈɡrænɪt bət jˈnt/
Reefer does not rime with[3] "deafer,"
/ˈrfər dəz nɒt rm wɪð ˈdɛfər/
Feoffer[41] does, and zephyr, heifer.
/ˈfɛfər dʌz ən ˈzɛfər ˈhɛfər/
Dull, bull; Geoffrey, George; ate,[42] late;
/dʌl bʊl ˈɛfri ɔːr ɛt lt/
Hint, pint; senate, but sedate;
/hɪnt pnt ˈsɛnət bət sɪˈdt/
Science, conscience, scientific;
/ˈsəns ˈkɒnʃəns ˌsənˈtɪfɪk/
Tour, but our, and succour, four;
/tʊər bət aʊər ən ˈsʌkər fɔːr/
Youth, south, southern; cleanse and clean;
/jθ sθ ˈsʌðərn klɛnz ən kln/
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
/ˈdɒktrɪn ˈtɜːrpəntn məˈrn/
Sally with[3] ally; yea, ye,
/ˈsæli wɪð ˈæl j j/
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay!
/ hw k k/
Never guess—it is not safe;
/ˈnɛvər ɡɛs ɪt ɪz nɒt sf/
We say calves,[45] valves, half,[46] but Ralf!
/w s kɑːvz vælvz hɑːf bət rf/
Crevice, and device, and eyrie;[48]
/ˈkrɛvɪs ən dɪˈvs ənd ˈɛəri/
Face but preface, but efface,
/fs bət ˈprɛfəs bət ɪˈfs/
Phlegm, phlegmatic; ass, glass,[49] bass;
/flɛm flɛɡˈmætɪk æs ɡlɑːs bs/
Ought, out, joust and scour, but scourging;
/ɔːt t st ən skaʊər bət ˈskɜːrɪŋ/
Ear, but earn; and wear and tear
/ɪər bət ɜːrn ən wɛər ən tɛər/
Do not rime with[3] "here", but "ere".
/d nɒt rm wɪð hɪər bət ɛər/
Seven is right, but so is even;
/ˈsɛvən ɪz rt bət s ɪz ˈvən/
Hyphen, roughen, nephew,[50] Stephen;
/ˈhfən ˈrʌfən ˈnɛvj ˈstvən/
Asp, grasp,[52] wasp; and cork and work.
/æsp ɡrɑːsp wɒsp ən kɔːrk ən wɜːrk/
Pronunciation—think of psyche!—
/prəˌnʌnsiˈʃən θɪŋk əv ˈski/
Is a paling, stout and spikey;
/ɪz ə ˈplɪŋ stt ən ˈspki/
Won't it make you lose your wits,
/wnt ɪt mk j lz jʊər wɪts/
Writing "groats" and saying groats?[53]
/ˈrtɪŋ ɡrts ən ˈsɪŋ ɡrɪts/
It's a dark abyss or tunnel,
/ɪts ə dɑːrk əˈbɪs ɔːr ˈtʌnəl/
Strewn with[3] stones, like rowlock, gunwale,
/strn wɪð stnz lk ˈrɒlək ˈɡʌnəl/
Islington and Isle of Wight,
/ˈɪzlɪŋtən ən l əv wt/
Housewife, verdict and indict!
/ˈhʌzɪf ˈvɜːrdɪkt ən ɪnˈdt/
Finally: which rimes with[3] "enough,"
/ˈfnəli hwɪ rmz wɪð ɪˈnʌf/
Though, through, plough, cough,[56] hough, or tough?
/ð θr pl kɒf hɒk ɔːr tʌf/
Hiccough has the sound of "cup"......
/ˈhɪkʌp həz ðə snd əv kʌp/
My advice is—give it up!
/m ədˈvs ɪz ɡɪv ɪt ʌp/

*) No, you are wrong.[57] This is the plural of "doe".
/n j ɑːr rɒŋ ðɪs ɪz ðə ˈplʊərəl əv d/

  1. ^ As printed in Charivarius, 1922, Ruize-rijmen (Wikisource).
  2. ^ The stress is lexical.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o GenAm: /wɪθ/
  4. ^ alt. /ˈvə/
  5. ^ GenAm: /ˈlæftər/
  6. ^ alt. /ˈɛɡzlz/
  7. ^ alt. /ˈbrəm/
  8. ^ GenAm: /ɡɔːn/
  9. ^ alt. /ˈtɜːrkwɔɪz, -kɔɪz/
  10. ^ a b c d Imperfect rhymes.
  11. ^ GenAm: /mɔːs/
  12. ^ GenAm: /bæˈl/
  13. ^ alt. /bˈk, ˈbk/, GenAm alt. /bˈk/
  14. ^ GenAm: /ʃæˈl/
  15. ^ alt. /ˈpɑːrk, pɑːrˈk/
  16. ^ alt. /ˈkrki, krˈk/
  17. ^ GenAm: /ˈmʌstæʃ/
  18. ^ alt. /ˈbrɪz/
  19. ^ alt. /ˈkɒnstəbəl/
  20. ^ alt. /ˈsɜːrmz/
  21. ^ GenAm alt. /plt/
  22. ^ alt. /ˈkɒndjuɪt, ˈkʌn-/
  23. ^ GenAm: /ˈspɛkttər/
  24. ^ alt. /ˈmər/
  25. ^ GenAm alt. /ˈædrɛs/
  26. ^ GenAm alt. /ɡɔːlf/
  27. ^ GenAm: /lˈtɛnənts/
  28. ^ GenAm alt. /dɔːl/
  29. ^ a b alt. /ˈnðər/
  30. ^ GenAm: /ænt/
  31. ^ GenAm: /wɔːnt/
  32. ^ GenAm: /wɔːnt/
  33. ^ GenAm: /ɡrænt/
  34. ^ The footnote is just messing with you. If does here was actually the plural of doe, it wouldn't contrast with goes.
  35. ^ GenAm alt. /mɔːv/
  36. ^ alt. /mɪˈrɑːʒ/
  37. ^ GenAm alt. /ˈkwɛri/
  38. ^ GenAm: /lɔːst/
  39. ^ GenAm: /klɔːθ/
  40. ^ GenAm: /kæst/
  41. ^ alt. /ˈffər/
  42. ^ alt. /t/
  43. ^ alt. /əˈlæs/
  44. ^ GenAm: /ˈlʒər/
  45. ^ GenAm: /kævz/
  46. ^ GenAm: /hæf/
  47. ^ GenAm alt. /ˈɡrnəri/
  48. ^ alt. /ˈɪəri, ˈaɪəri/
  49. ^ GenAm: /ɡlæs/
  50. ^ alt. /ˈnɛfj/
  51. ^ GenAm: /klɜːrk/
  52. ^ GenAm: /ɡræsp/
  53. ^ alt. /ɡrts/
  54. ^ GenAm: /ˈræðər/
  55. ^ alt. /ˈlæðər/
  56. ^ GenAm: /kɔːf/
  57. ^ GenAm: /rɔːŋ/

Things that shouldn't matter in an ideal world but do in this one[edit]

heThis user's pronouns are masculine gender pronouns.
Gay flag.svgThis user identifies as queer.
ain'tThis user believes that prescriptive grammar rules stem from linguistic ignorance and are used to enforce economic class distinctions
That this is absurd does not prevent its happening.
— J. C. Wells, Accents of English (1982), p. 106