Help:IPA Usage

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Outlined here are the general guidelines for IPA usage. Conventions for specific languages will be outlined in the sections following the general usage.

See the IPA template for formatting text with IPA characters.

  • Place phonemic transcriptions in between two slashes, e.g. /kæt/.
  • Place phonetic transcriptions in between two square brackets, e.g. [kʰæt].
  • Place graphemic transcriptions in between two angular brackets: e.g. ⟨cat⟩.
  • Phonemic or phonetic transcriptions with multiple syllables can show syllable breaks and stress:
    • use a period ⟨.⟩ for general syllable breaks, e.g. ⟨river⟩ /ɹɪ.vəɹ/.
    • use a primary stress mark ⟨ˈ⟩ to indicate where the primary stress occurs, e.g. ⟨forever⟩ /fəˈɹɛ.vəɹ/.
    • use a secondary stress mark ⟨ˌ⟩ where a word has a secondary stress, e.g. ⟨organisation⟩ /ɔːɹ.ɡən.aɪˌzeɪ.ʃən/.
  • Syllable breaks and stress marks can be ignored unless in the following circumstances:
    • syllable breaks ⟨.⟩ must be used to show breaks that occur outside of the normal conventions of a given language, e.g. hiatus where one would normally expect a diphthong.
    • primary stress ⟨ˈ⟩ must be used to indicate stress that occurs anywhere other than word-initial position.

See the Leipzig Glossing Rules for more information about syllable conventions. A common syllable convention to consider is the Maximum Onset Principle.


Where the same glyph is used for velarised and palatalised counterparts, the acute accent ⟨´⟩ should follow directly after the glyph in order to mark it as the palatalised counterpart, e.g. /b/ being the velarised voiced bilabial plosive and /b´/ being the palatalised voiced bilabial plosive.

Modern Irish

Specific usage for Modern Irish