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1.en.05 Phonetics: Dictionary work and IPA


During English lessons we do a lot of practice trying to pronounce English sounds we are not familiar with. We’ve already learnt to recognize a few phonemes. Let’s see if you remember.


Literature /ˈlɪtərətʃər/






A dictionary gives you lots of information about words, not only their meaning but also, among other things, their pronunciation.

The pronunciation of a word is essential. In many on line dictionaries you can click on a sound icon and listen to the way the word is pronounced.

This monolingual on line dictionary gives you the chance to listen to how the word is pronounced.


When we cannot listen to the way words sound,  we can look at the phonemic transcription of the word, that represents in writing how the word is pronounced.  There is a way to represent how words are pronounced in different languages and that is using IPA, an acronym for International Phonetic Alphabet.

Each phoneme is given a symbol as the one we learnt in class /tʃ/

There are 26 letters in the English alphabet, but there are around 44 phonemes in Standard English. This means that letters cannot represent phonemes so other symbols are used.

Each phoneme is given a symbol so that the pronunciation of any English word can be represented in writing. Here is the English phonetic alphabet  version of the International Phonetic Alphabet or IPA:

Let’s see,

which is the underlined sound in the following 5 words? If you are not sure, go to the on line dictionary and check it.

  1. JEANS
  3. BUT
  4. CHALK

HOMEWORK FOR Thursday, 3rd (1esoE) and Friday, 4th,(1esoD) .  COPY THE ANSWERS IN YOUR NOTEBOOK.

How many phonemes are there in Spanish and in Catalan? are there any differences between the Spanish/Catalan/English alphabets?