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International Phonetic Alphabet

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an academic standard created by the International Phonetic Association.

IPA is a phonetic notation system that uses a set of symbols to represent each distinct sound that exists in human spoken language. It encompasses all languages spoken on earth.

The system was created in 1886 and was last updated in 2005. It consists of 107 letters, 52 diacritics, and four prosodic marks.

To view the chart, and/or hear the sounds associated with each symbol, please go to our IPA chart with sounds.

The IPA is based on the Latin alphabet, but includes some non-Latin characters as well.

A “diacritical mark” or “diacritical point”, “diacritical signis” is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph.

Diacritical marks are added above, under or within a letter. They sometimes can also be placed in between two letters.

Prosody is a representation of the rhythm, stress, and intonation of speech.

International Phonetic Association
The International Phonetic Association was founded in 1886 and is the oldest organization for phoneticians. The association’s mission is to “promote the scientific study of phonetics”. Link to the association’s official website. Available on the site is membership information, journal back issues, conference schedules and more.

Several important dates in IPA history were recently commemorated. 2011 was the 125th anniversary of the founding of the IPA. In 2013, the International Phonetic Association celebrated 125 years since the first publication of the International Phonetic Alphabet.