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help your child
Pronunciation chart
Pronunciation activities
phonetics focus
Phonetics Focus by Cambridge English Online is a set of fun online activities to help you improve your pronunciation and learn about the phonetic alphabet.
pronunciation tips
Lots of resources on the BBC's Learning English pages. You'll find radio programmes about pronunciation, and exercises. These are aimed at adult learners, but will be useful for you if you are interested in improving your pronunciation.
help your child learn english

Kim Ashmore, British Council, United Kingdom

It can be difficult to know how new words are pronounced in English, especially if you don't have a teacher to ask. As you know, the way a word is written does not always tell you how it is pronounced (for example, 'ear' in 'pear' and 'fear').

There is a system which is used to show people how words are pronounced. The system (called the 'phonemic alphabet') uses a symbol to represent each of the 44 sounds in English. Learners' dictionaries often use these symbols, and if you know what each word sounds like, it can give you an idea of how to pronounce a word in English.

Have a look at Cambridge Dictionaries Online for example. If you look up a word, you can click on 'show phonetics' next to the word. This gives you the symbols to show you how the word is pronounced. These symbols are always written between slashes, like this //.

Below you will an interactive version of the phonemic alphabet. Click on each symbol to hear the sound.

It is probably best if you use the phonemic chart yourself first. Once you are familiar you could slowly introduce children to the phonemic chart. Your child will then be able to look up words themselves. One way to do this is to treat it like a secret code. If your child likes puzzles they will probably enjoy deciphering words from the phonemic script or writing ‘secret messages’ using the phonemic script.

You can also download the free pronunciation chart to install on your own computer and use offline. To download the chart, simply click on the link below and then click on 'Save'. You can then save the file to your desktop. You can then just click on the file to open it at any time.
Download the phonemic chart (1.6MB exe)

Copyright information. © British Council. This pronunciation chart is free for you to use and share for educational purposes. The chart should in no way be used or circulated for financial gain. The chart was developed for the British Council by Cambridge English Online.

These phonemes are part of the phonetic chart that is used to describe the sounds of many languages. They have been established by the International Phonetic Association (IPA). For more information about the IPA and their work visit:- http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/IPA/ipa.html

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