Help:IPA/Estonian and Finnish

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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Estonian and Finnish pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. See Finnish phonology and Estonian phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of these languages.

IPA Examples English approximation
b[1] Finnish bussi big
ç[2] Finnish vihma, lyhty human, huge
d Finnish ladot adept
f[1] Finnish filmi film
g[1] Finnish gorilla go
h hevonen horse
ɦ[2] vaha ahead
j joulu yoyo
k kala scold
l laulu lack
[3] Estonian only: lk leep
m metsä, onpa may
n nenä nanny
ŋ vangita, ken[4] eating
[3] Estonian only: vann onion
p puu spill
r rauta rolled r
s sinä sole
ʃ[1] Finnish šakki shy
[3] Estonian only: vastik super (some dialects)
t tina stand
[3] Estonian only: vatt RP stew
ʋ viha Between v and w
x[2] Finnish kahvi yech, Scottish English loch
ʔ Finnish vaaan, linja-auto the pause in uh-oh
ˈ hevonen Normally placed on the first syllable.
Both first syllables in some compound words.
tule! [ˈtuˈle] Both syllables in two-syllable imperatives.
IPA Examples English approximation
ɑ pouta Like father, but shorter. GA hot
ɑː poutaa father
æ pöytä cat
æː päivää mad
e terve let
eesti émigré
i viha GA happy
siika feed
o oksa like thought but shorter
koostaa saw
ø pöly No English equivalent; somewhat like bird but shorter. French feu
øː säröön Somewhat like bird; German schön
ɤ Estonian only: õlu Somewhat like wood; RP long ago
ɤː Estonian only: õõnsus Same as above but longer
u surma wood
suu, ruoan coop
y Finnish kesy
Estonian küla
No English equivalent; somewhat like cube. French une
Finnish ryyppy
Estonian rüüpa
Somewhat like too. German über

Finnish diphthongs[edit]

IPA Examples English approximation
ɑj aika aisle, eye
ɑw aura how (RP)
æj äiti main in some Australian dialects
æɥ täytyy down (GA)
ej ei, hei heyday
ew neutraali No English equivalent. Spanish and Italian neutro.
keskeytyä No English equivalent
ie̯ kieli No English equivalent. Somewhat like Spanish tierra.
iw viulu somewhat like kiwi
IPA Examples English approximation
siistiytyä No English equivalent
oj koittaa, koettaa coin
ow outo American pronunciation of no, oh
øj töi No English equivalent. French feuille.
øɥ pöyristyä roughly like the British pronunciation of no, oh
uj muita No English equivalent. Spanish muy, French grenouille, Portuguese anuis, Italian lui.
uo̯ Suomi Somewhat like woah. Italian suo (but with diphthong)
yj syi No English equivalent. Somewhat like French huit.
yø̯ , t No English equivalent. French pollueuse (but with diphthong)

Estonian diphthongs[edit]

/ɑe/, /ɑi/, /ɑo/, /ɑu/, /æe/, /æi/, /æo/, /æu/, /eɑ/, /ei/, /eo/, /iu/, /oɑ/, /oe/, /oi/, /ou/, /ɤɑ/, /ɤe/, /ɤi/, /ɤo/, /ɤu/, /øɑ/, /øe/, /øi/, /ui/, /yi/.


  1. ^ a b c d /b/, /f/, /g/, and /ʃ/ only occur in loanwords. In casual speech, /b/, /g/, and /ʃ/ may be replaced with /p/, /k/, and /s/, respectively.
  2. ^ a b c /ç/, /ɦ/, and /x/ can be pronounced as /h/.
  3. ^ a b c d In Estonian, palatalized consonants, /tʲ nʲ sʲ lʲ/, are pronounced like their non-palatalized counterparts, but the tongue is constricted towards the hard palate as if a simultaneous /j/ were being pronounced.
  4. ^ Allophone of /n/ before /k/.


  • Asu, Eva Liina; Teras, Pire (2009), "Estonian" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 39 (3): 367–372, doi:10.1017/s002510030999017x
  • Suomi, Kari; Toivanen, Juhani; Ylitalo, Riikka (2008), Finnish sound structure, ISBN 978-951-42-8983-5

External links[edit]