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How to read transcriptions in English?

People who begin to learn foreign languages ​​are often interested in how to read the transcription in English. In the school program or the program of special language courses, one or several special lessons are given to this issue.

The following explains how to read the transcriptions of English consonants and vowels.

Basic rules for reading transcriptions

Transcription is reproduced using special characters. Thanks to it, it becomes clear how a word is read in any language. Using transcription, you will quickly learn the pronunciation and learn the language - more about this in our article How to read English words.

Transcription is given opposite each word in the English-Russian dictionary. To begin to learn to read the transcription of English words you need to study the characters that convey the phonetic sound of letters in words.

Vowel sounds

Vowel sounds in English transcriptions are transmitted by the following characters:

  • [a:] - reads like a long sound "a";
  • [æ] - pronounced as the average between "a" and "e";
  • [i:] - long sound “and”;
  • [i] - short “and”;
  • [e] and [ə] - read as "e";
  • [ɔ] - pronounced short "o";
  • [ə:] and [3] - a sound close to the Russian "ё";
  • [ʌ] - corresponds to the short "a";
  • [u] and [u:] - respectively, short and long "y";
  • [ai], [ei], [ɔi], [au], [əu], [iə], [uə], [ɛə] - correspond to the sounds “ai”, “her”, “oh”, “ay”, “Ay”, “oh”, “ie”, “ue”, “ea”.

Consonant sounds

  • [l] - “l”;
  • [p] - "p";
  • [b] - “b”;
  • [t] - "t";
  • [d] - “d”;
  • [m] - "m";
  • [k] - “to”;
  • [g] - "g";
  • [n] - "n";
  • [ʃ] - “w”;
  • [f] - "f";
  • [v] - "in";
  • [s] - "with";
  • [z] - “z”;
  • [ʒ] - “Well”;
  • [tʃ] - “h”;
  • [dʒ] - “j”;
  • [r] - “p”;
  • [h] - "x";
  • [j] - “d”;
  • [ju:] - "yu";
  • [je] - “e”;
  • [jz] - "ё";
  • [jʌ] - “I”;
  • [w] - "in";
  • [ŋ] - nasal sound "n";
  • [θ] is the sound average between “c” and “f”;
  • [ð] - the average sound between "s" and "s".

The English transcription indicates a syllable that is stressed.

Remembering these notations, you will understand how to read the transcription in English.


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