Pronunciation in Wikipedia should be transcribed using the International Phonetic Alphabet
(IPA), except in the particular cases noted below.
For English pronunciations, broad transcriptions
should be used; these are intended to provide a correct interpretation regardless of the reader's accent. The system for doing this is outlined at Help:IPA/English
, and the first instance should include a link to that page; for example: England (). This should be done using the template . The Wikipedia respelling system
, using the template, can be used in addition to the IPA.
Phonetic transcriptions are not always the best way to render pronunciation. For brand names which are intended to be respellings of an existing word, it is better to provide that word than a phonetic transcription. Similarly, initialisms are better spelled out than transcribed. In both situations this will generally be unambiguous, and accessible to more of our readers.
For foreign-language pronunciations, a phonetic
transcription is normally used, with a link to Help:IPA
or to various language-specific IPA keys. If phonemic
transcriptions are used, these require a link to a description of the phonology
of the language in question, as otherwise the symbols used may be ambiguous.
Other options are to link to the corresponding entry in Wiktionary
, or to include an audio file
together with the transcription. Consider that Wikipedia is not a dictionary
when thinking of adding a pronunciation to an article; also, if the pronunciation is included in the main article, it is best not to repeat it in various sub-articles. Besides the clutter, subsequent edits may result in contradictory pronunciations.
—a non-technical introduction to the symbols used in the IPA for languages other than English
*The more detailed International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects
—a good place for English-speakers to start learning IPA
*Help:IPA/Conventions for English
—this compares Wikipedia's IPA conventions with the in-house conventions found in various dictionaries
*Pronunciation respelling for English
—this compares the IPA with non-IPA transcriptions found in various American dictionaries
—explains the difference between phonemic, phonetic, and morphological transcriptions, and broad vs narrow transcriptions
Normally, pronunciation is given only for the subject of the article in its lead section
. For foreign words and names, use the pronunciation key for the appropriate language. If a common English rendering of the foreign name exists (Venice
, Nikita Khrushchev
), its pronunciation, if necessary, should be indicated before the foreign one. For English words and names, pronunciation should normally be omitted for common words or when obvious from the spelling; use it only for foreign loanwords (coup d'etat
), names with counterintuitive pronunciation (Leicester
, Ralph Fiennes
), or very unusual words (synecdoche
Pronunciation should be indicated sparingly, as parenthetical information disturbs the normal flow of the text and introduces clutter. In the article text, it should be indicated only where it is directly relevant to the subject matter, such as describing a word's etymology or explaining a pun. Less important pronunciations should be omitted altogether, relegated to a footnote, or to a dedicated section in the article or infobox. Articles about phonology
and other aspects of a language may normally use pronunciation keys throughout the text, as appropriate.
Do not include pronunciations for names of foreign countries whose pronunciations are well known in English (France, Poland). Do not include them for common English words just because they have pronunciations that might be counterintuitive for those learning the English language (laughter, sword). If the name consists of more than one word, include pronunciation only for the words that need it (all of Jean van Heijenoort
but only ''Cholmondeley'' in Thomas P. G. Cholmondeley
Whenever the IPA appears in an article, it should be contained within the template. This allows registered users to assign a different font to display the IPA symbols. The rackets
should be inside the template for uniformity of the font.
When using the IPA, provide an explanation for the reader. If there are multiple instances of IPA in an article, you may want to use the template at the top of the page. However, if there are only a few instances of IPA, you may instead wish to use a template to link the first to one of the help keys, such as:
yields the same in smaller font:
There is a large number of
templates dedicated to specific languages. For example, is customized specifically to French, and links to a dedicated Help:IPA/French
key. If a template for the language in question is not available, use instead.
With the IPA-xx templates, various codes may be entered after the IPA, separated by a pipe, to change the default introductory text. A simple pipe cancels the lead text, as above.
Audio samples may be included in the IPA template. In the case of the various IPA-xx templates, it appears after the text code.
When a specific phonetic
pronunciation is indicated, as in foreign names, this is marked by square brackets. Normally a reader will not know the structure of the language in question well enough for a phonemic
transcription in slashes to be useful. The use of slashes is only permitted in cases where the pronunciation represents phoneme
s, as in broad transcriptions of English. However, phonetic transcriptions of English may be useful to represent a specific accent, local or historical pronunciations, or how a person pronounces their own name. For example, the English name ''Florence'' would normally be given the generic transcription , but in the case of Florence Nightingale
we have a recording of her saying her name, and she pronounces it , with a flapped ar that is no longer the norm in English. Non-universal pronunciations such as these should be clearly marked for what they are.
Distinction between varieties of English
It is often possible to transcribe a word in a generic way that is not specific to any one accent, e.g. ''Oxford'' as . Speakers of non-rhotic
accents, as in much of Australia, England, New Zealand, and Wales, will pronounce the second syllable , those with the ''father''–''bother'' merger
, as in much of the US and Canada, will pronounce the first syllable , and those with the ''cot''–''caught'' merger
but without the ''father''–''bother'' merger, as in Scotland and Boston, will pronounce the first syllable , but since such variation on the part of the speaker is automatic, it need not be spelled out in a simple pronunciation guide to a key word in an article. Indeed, the Help:IPA/English
key, designed for readers who are unfamiliar with the IPA, simply defines the sequence as the sound at the end of ''letter'', and warns that it may not be distinct from for many people. That is, there is little point in transcribing ''Oxford'' as , and this would add a considerable amount of clutter to the article.
If the pronunciation in a specific accent is desired, square brackets may be used, perhaps with a link to IPA chart for English dialects
, which describes several national standards, or with a comment that the pronunciation is General American
, Received Pronunciation
, Australian English
, etc. Local pronunciations are of particular interest in the case of place names. If there are both local and national or international standards, it may be beneficial to list both.
When a foreign name has a set English pronunciation (or pronunciations), include both the English and foreign-language pronunciations; the English transcription must always be first. If the native name is different from the English name, the native transcription must appear after the native name.
es|República Bolivariana de Venezuela,
Venezuela (; es|República Bolivariana de Venezuela, )
Nikita Khrushchev (;
rus|Никита Хрущёв )
Nikita Khrushchev (; rus|Никита Хрущёв )
Transcriptions should always have a label identifying which language they are transcribing, with the exception of English. They are normally given in the national or international standard of the language in question, unless there is a reason to give a more local pronunciation. For example, the Help:IPA/Spanish key generally uses Castilian Spanish as its standard, for ''Venezuela'' , but the local pronunciation of may be considered more relevant. If a local pronunciation is transcribed, it should be marked as such:
Language-specific templates should not be used for local pronunciations, unless the keys they link to cover the IPA symbols that are used. (In this case, either IPA-es or IPA-all would work.)
However, in language articles such as Spanish phonology, where the phonology is made explicit, examples may be given in either phonetic or phonemic notation, depending on the point being made, as the reader will have the information available to make sense of either. If for some reason it is desired to indicate the pronunciation of a foreign word phonemically in a non-linguistic article, a link should be provided to the phonology of the language in question.
Tone should always be included in the transcriptions of tonal languages. Because tone numbers are ambiguous—the reader may not know whether is supposed to be high tone, low tone, or a tone number, for example—IPA transcriptions should use diacritic marks () or tone letters (), unless the article explains the numbering system.
Other transcription systems
If a language is not usually written in the Latin alphabet, an official romanization may exist for it. For example, pinyin for Standard Chinese and the Royal Thai General System of Transcription. In such cases, both the romanisation and the IPA rendering may be given.
For English words, transcriptions based on English spelling ("pronunciation respellings") such as (using ) may be used, but only in addition to the IPA (). Any transcription, whatever system is used, should link to an explanation of the symbols, which are not universally understood.
For other languages, only the IPA is normally used. Respelling foreign pronunciations into English is inadequate and misleading. If an English respelling is given for a Welsh or Māori name, not only would it be bad Welsh or Māori but the implication would be that it's the ''English'' pronunciation. Nonetheless, an ''ad hoc'' description of a foreign-language word in that language is permitted. An example is Renault 4CV. This is called the ''Quatre chevaux'' in French, but the ''re'' is elided, so the French pronunciation can be clarified with "pronounced ''quat'chevaux''" (this appearing with the French IPA transcription , assuming the editor finds that worth including).
''Ad hoc'' descriptions such as "rhymes with ''both''" or "rhymes with ''paid''" may be useful for describing English sounds, but many such descriptions (e.g. "rhymes with ''bath''", "rhymes with ''caught''") will be interpreted differently depending on the reader's accent, so caution is advised, and this approach should not be used alone.
However, when a name is ''intended'' to be a homonym of an existing English word or phrase, as is the case with many brand names and entertainers' names, giving that word or phrase may be all that is needed:
The Motorola Razr (styled RAZR, pronounced "razor") produces: The Motorola Razr (styled RAZR, pronounced "razor")
Nonetheless, even here some cases may be ambiguous. For example:
Kioti Tractor ( "coyote") produces: Kioti Tractor ( "coyote")
If the IPA was omitted, it would not be clear which of the pronunciations of ''coyote'' is intended. In such cases, combining the IPA with the intended homonym may be needed. These should ''not'' be formatted with the template, as they do not follow that format. For example:
Peter John Coke ( "cook") produces: Peter John Coke ( "cook")
There, the "cook" should not be formatted with the template, because then it would need to be
(giving ) to match the key it is linked to.
Places where other systems without the IPA are often appropriate are initialisms and names composed of numbers or symbols. This is because the names of the letters, numbers, and symbols can be spelled out in normal English orthography in a way that makes the pronunciation unambiguous across dialects. For example, Dead on arrival (DOA) may be better explained as "(an initialism: ''D-O-A'')" rather than as the equally correct but less accessible . Similarly:
C++ ( "cee plus plus")
produces: C++ ( "cee plus plus")
Rather than solely using the less accessible . Similarly:
javac (pronounced "java-cee") produces: javac (pronounced "java-cee")
See English alphabet#Letters for how the names of the letters of the alphabet are spelled.
Similarly, the dispute over how to pronounce the ''X'' in Mac OS X may be better described as ''ten'' versus ''ex'' rather than as versus . In the case of ''Z'', spelling out the letter as ''zee'' or ''zed'' is sufficient, if only one is considered correct.
Respelling should also be avoided when a respelled syllable would be the same as an existing word that is pronounced differently. "Maui" respelled as , "metonymy" as , and "cobalt" as are susceptible to being misinterpreted as , , and , because of the existing words "mow", "ton", and "bolt", so only IPA should be provided for such words, if any.
Opening of lead
Transcriptions are frequently placed immediately after the head words of the article in dictionary format:
:London ( ) is the...
:London is the...
This method is good when the pronunciation can be adequately covered in a short parenthetic string. However, this method can become distracting, especially when alternate transcription conventions are used, if there are regional differences, or if the pronunciation is otherwise not straightforward. In such cases, other options are better. Some articles, such as ''Halley's Comet'', have a naming or pronunciation section that covers pronunciation explicitly. In other cases the pronunciation is given in the lead, but in a second dedicated sentence, leaving the first sentence unencumbered to define the term.
Another possibility is to relegate everything beyond the most common pronunciation to a footnote, or to remove all of it to a footnote.
Compare, for example:
:Greenwich Village ( , , , ),
[American Heritage Dictionary entry "Greenwich Village"]
/ref> in New York often simply called "the Village",
:Franklin Delano Roosevelt ( or ; January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945)
:Greenwich Village, in New York often simply called "the Village",
:Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882–1945), also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945)
In the latter, the pronunciation is given at the bottom of the page in a footnote:
See WP:REFNOTE for help with embedding references within footnotes like this.
Several infobox templates provide for a pronunciation entry. In such articles there is generally no need to repeat it in the lead. Examples:
* :Template:Infobox medical condition: psoriasis
* Template:Infobox (chemical) element: Tungsten
* :Template:Infobox scientist (Using meta-infobox Template:Infobox person): Albert Einstein
IPA templates on Wikipedia
The IPA should always be either enclosed within an IPA template, or placed in a table defined as
class="wikitable IPA". This ensures proper formatting across browsers; it also enables editors to more easily find and review IPA transcriptions.
There are several types of IPA template. The simplest is , which merely formats the enclosed text the way class="wikitable IPA" does for tables. It is normally used when the reader can be expected to follow the IPA, either because it's found in an article on phonology where the symbols are defined, because the article is tagged with , or because an earlier instance of IPA in the text was enclosed with one of the following templates, which are designed to be more useful to the reader than the generic IPA notice.
For more aid to the reader, there are multiple templates specific to various languages. For generic English, should be used, which will link the notation to Help:IPA/English, which is a key of established conventions for transcription of English on Wikipedia, and automates conversion to IPA and provides mouse-over keys. A description of the various parameters of these templates, such as marking a pronunciation as American, British, or local, or adding sound files, can be found on the template page. When using any key-linking IPA template such as these, English or foreign, an editor should transcribe using the conventions of the key it links to; for example, the generic English ar sound is transcribed in Wikipedia articles, not , and is used where speakers of rhotic dialects would pronounce it, even in personal and place names. (These diaphonemic conventions, which are not specific to any one dialect or national standard, are covered at the top of the Help:IPA/English key.)
accepts both IPA and SAMPA. Each phoneme, including rhotic vowels, should receive its own cell (such as the 'ou' here), and not broken up, or the wrong popups will appear. See the template page for details.
Technical Latin or Greco-Latin words in fields such as biology, astronomy, mythology and medicine cause frequent problems. If there is one generally accepted pronunciation in the field, use that. However, there are often multiple pronunciations heard, along a cline from highly anglicized pronunciations, as found in Shakespeare, to attempts to remain faithful to the Latin or Greek pronunciation. For example, Io may be pronounced either or . Both are "correct". However, it may be impractical to list all possible pronunciations. In such cases, the traditional (literary) pronunciation is the most difficult as well as the most anglicized and is therefore the one that should be transcribed. Other conventions are generally straightforward and can all be covered, simultaneously, by including the Latin or Greek orthography, or the Greek in Latin transcription. As long as Latin long vowels ''ā ē ī ō ū ȳ'' are indicated, readers will be able to pronounce the word according to the convention of their choice. (Note that both the Latin and Greek alphabets are defective when it comes to vowel length, which determines the location of English stress in these words.)
To transcribe the pronunciation of a particular individual or dialect, or to use transcription conventions other than those of the IPA-for-English key, or can be used, as the former links to the IPA chart for English dialects and the latter to a generic IPA key that is not restricted to any one dialect or language. It is often useful to add a link to a phonological description of the dialect being transcribed; if this is done, there will normally not be any need for the generic IPA key. Such links may be done manually, as in:
The distinction between /slashes/ used for generic English and racketsfor individual or dialectical pronunciations using the IPA-all template is intentional: A phonemic transcription (between slashes) is not meaningful without a description of the phonology of the speech variant, whereas a phonetic transcription (between brackets) can stand on its own, and allowing a choice between slashes or brackets in a template leads to frequent misuse of the symbols. As long as the phonology of the speech variety is accessible to the reader, as with the example above, slashes may be used (), but this will need to be done manually. Place any brackets or slashes within the IPA template, so that they are formatted in the same size and font as the enclosed transcription. (This may be individuated at your CSS code by adding a line such as .)
Other languages have dedicated IPA-xx templates, where xx is the 2-letter ISO 639-1 code or the 3-letter ISO 639-3 code for the language in question, as in for Greek or for Persian. A number of languages also have dedicated templates that automatically convert ordinary letters (or conventional ASCII equivalents) to IPA characters that are used to transcribe the language in question, such as for French and for Mandarin Chinese. These languages and templates are listed at . Again, if the language you're transcribing has such an IPA key, use the conventions of that key. If you wish to change those conventions, bring it up for discussion on the key's talk page. Creating transcriptions unsupported by the key or changing the key so that it no longer conforms to existing transcriptions will confuse readers.
If a language does not have an IPA-xx template and there is a potential use for one, consider creating it yourself. Use the 2-letter code if the language has one; otherwise use the 3-letter identification code used by ''Ethnologue'', and add your template to . The template should link to Help:IPA and be categorized as a future IPA template. If the template is used by a sufficient number of articles, a dedicated key for that language can be created under Help:IPA/. Once the key is ready, change the link in the template to that key and add it to .
For languages which are too obscure to ever be likely to have a dedicated template, for dialects of templated languages which do not follow the phonology assumed by the existing IPA key for that language, or for transcriptions which do not presume any particular language, can be used. It links to the generic Help:IPA key.
To link a single-phone transcription to an article on that phone, use ; for example, . The template provides brackets for phonetic transcriptions, and provides slashes, for phonemic transcriptions. For an extended transcription, the template may be used at the beginning of the text, with the transcription itself formatted only with .
If you're not sure how to fix a messed-up, provincial, or ambiguous transcription, there are several cleanup templates, which are monitored by editors who do. These are:
*, an inline tag for pronunciations which do not include the IPA, for which an attempt at the IPA is inadequate (this includes correct IPA for what appears to be an incorrect pronunciation) or articles with IPA problems;
* if you wish to have a pronunciation and none is provided.
Note that a simple pronunciation hint, such as an unambiguous rhyme ("rhymes with ''kind''"), an unambiguous homonym ("pronounced like ''Smith''"), or a spelled-out acronym ("pronounced ''S-O-S''"), does not generally need an IPA transcription. However, more elaborate transcriptions, such as ''ad hoc'' respellings and US-dictionary formats, should be replaced by the IPA.
Entering IPA characters
Many IPA characters cannot be typed with a regular keyboard layout, but there are various ways to enter them.
;Beneath the edit box on Wikipedia is a character map (see for more information).
:Choose IPA in the drop down box on the left, then just click on the symbol you want, and it will be added at the insertion point in the edit box.
;Copy and paste from an online IPA keyboard
:Utilities like th
IPA character picker 19
IPA Chart keyboard
cover the complete range of IPA symbols and diacritics which are not available from the Wikipedia IPA character map.
;Copy and paste them from elsewhere (other articles or websites, for example)
:This method sometimes fails when copying characters with diacritics.
;Many of the familiar Latin letters can be typed with a normal English keyboard layout. However,
:: ( ) note the length mark is a different character from a colon
:: ( ) note the primary stress mark is a different character from a typewriter apostrophe
:: ( ) note the symbol for the voiced velar stop is a different character from the lowercase English letter g
:On Mac English keyboard layouts, a few special characters can be typed:
:: ''option-c'' for
:: ''option-o'' for
:: ''option-q'' for
:: ''option- for
;Enter them using a special character utility
:On macOS, use th
choose the "Phonetic Symbols" category and double-click on a character to enter it
;Type them with a custom keyboard layout
:For macOS, download th
IPA-SIL keyboard layout
The following methods require you to know the Unicode code point of the character you wish to enter: for example, the IPA symbol is represented by the hexadecimal value . See the resources links below for reference charts.
;Enter them using a numeric keyboard input method
:On most Windows keyboard layouts, type ''alt-0–2–5–2'' for (Note: Requires you to first set the registry key HKCU\Control Panel\Input Method\EnableHexNumpad to type REG_SZ and value 1 and reboot.)
:On macOS, use th
Unicode Hex Input
keyboard layout, type ''option-0–2–5–2'' for
:On macOS Yosemite 10.10.5 you can hold down a key for a second and a number of diacritics will appear above the cursor as clickable options. 'a' for example offers à á â ä æ ã å and ā.
;Enter them into wikitext as HTML character entities:
:List of XML and HTML character entity references: enter ''æ'' for
:Numeric character reference (decimal): enter ''ɒ'' for
:Numeric character reference (hexadecimal): enter ''ɒ'' for
Complete guide for using IPA on computers, Windows, macOS, and Linux
SIL: Some tools and resources for character input
Unicode chart for IPA extensions
Unicode chart for IPA spacing modifier letters
Unicode chart including IPA combining diacritical marks
Tables of symbol names and HTML codes at PennState.
IPA Unicode "keyboard"
for point-and-click entry of IPA characters
* allows proper display of IPA characters.
** has square brackets and a link to Help:IPA; it is useful for foreign languages and specific accents of English.
** has slashes and a link to Help:IPA/English; it accepts ASCII input and displays a mouse-over key to the IPA. This is the preferred template for generic English.
** uses brackets and links to Help:IPA; it is useful for specific accents of English.
* is a message that warns the reader of the presence of IPA characters
* is an inline template noting need for a single instance of transcription.
Specific templates for foreign languages include (see :Category:IPA language templates for a complete list):
* for German
* for Spanish
* for French
* for Irish
* for Polish (accepts either Polish orthography or IPA)
* for Portuguese
* for Russian
(See the documentation on any of these templates for other supported languages.)
*Pronunciation respelling for English
*International Phonetic Alphabet
*IPA pulmonic consonant chart with audio
*IPA vowel chart with audio
*Help:Pronunciation respelling key (used by )
Category:Wikipedia Manual of Style (formatting)