Wikipedia:Pronunciation (simple guide to markup, American)

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Some feel that Wikipedia needs a SIMPLE guide to indicate the pronunciation of English words. This article is a proposed response to that perception. Please see the talk page for discussion of need and design philosophy.

Pronunciation refers to the sound of how words are spoken.


Pronunciation can change over time. Dictionaries may list the most commonly used forms of words, but as language changes, dictionaries change as well. At best, any guide to suggested pronunciation can reflect the preponderance of usage. A word like immediately, for example, is variously pronounced by Americans as:

  • ihMEEdeeuhtlee
  • uhMEEdeeuhtlee
  • eeMEEdeeuhtlee

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary suggests the first pronunciation.

Similarly, this pronunciation markup guide will choose the most widely used form.

NOTE: This guide is designed to be simple and easy to use. This can only be achieved by giving up scope and freedom from occasional ambiguity. For a more extensive guide to indicating pronunciation, see below.

Guide to simple American pronunciation markup[edit]

Rev. 0.91 Reference: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary [1]

Vowels Used in Example
aa relax, past rihLAAKS- relax
ay date, same DAYT- date
ah father, far FAHthuhr- father
aw chainsaw, thaw CHAYNsaw- chainsaw
eh federal, pet FEHDuhruhl- federal
ee meander, bleed, feed, speed meeAANduhr- meander
ih swish, trip, snip SWIHSH- swish
iy frightful, side, buy FRIYTfuhl- frightful
oh boneless, know, beau BOHNlehs- boneless
oi destroy, annoy dihSTROI- destroy
oo reunion, rule, fool reeYOONyuhn- reunion
ow flout, noun, sound FLOWT- flout
uh monotony, ton, fun, abut muhNAHtuhnee- monotony
uu wood, would, book WUUD- would
Consonants Used in Example
b baby, bone BAYbee- baby
ch chubby, checker CHUHbee- chubby
d bidder, do, did, done BIHduhr- bidder
f stuff, rough, fluff STUHF- stuff
g got, big, rag GAHT- got
h headwind, hat, hold HEHDwihnd- headwind
j journey, join, jab, nudge JUHRnee- journey
k carrot, cake, kite, ache, book KEHruht- carrot
l valley, cool, flash VAAlee, valley
m mammal, dam, move MAAmuhl- mammal
n never, pan NEHVuhr- never
ng something, sang, sink SUHMthihng- something
p plus, lip, trapper PLUHS- plus
r rambunctious, race, terror raamBUNKshus- rambunctious
s citation, salad, less, city siyTAYshuhn- citation
sh machine, mash, mission, special muhSHEEN- machine
t later, untie, latter LAYtuhr- later
th thing, ether, thoughtful THIHNG- thing
t~h neither, then, this NEEt~hur- neither
v volume, invite VAHLyoom- volume
w away, willing, wander uhWAY- away
wh while, whale, when WHIYL- while
y young, cue, yet YUHNG- young
z raise, zone, breeze RAYZ- raise
zh revision, garage reeVIHzhuhn- revision

See also[edit]