Is the first dictionary pronunciation the best one?

  • Is the First Dictionary Pronunciation the Best One?
    What happens when a word ends in /t/ and the next word begins with a /j/ sound?

  • Is the First Dictionary Pronunciation the Best One?
    How do we pronounce words beginning with /h/ in natural spoken English?

  • Is the First Dictionary Pronunciation the Best One?
    How do we pronounce words beginning with /h/ in natural spoken English?

  • Is the First Dictionary Pronunciation the Best One?
    How do we pronounce 'have' when it's an auxiliary verb?

  • Is the First Dictionary Pronunciation the Best One?
    What happens when one word ends in a /d/ sound and the next one begins in /b/?

  • Is the First Dictionary Pronunciation the Best One?
    How the phrase 'would you…?' is pronounced in natural English

  • Is the First Dictionary Pronunciation the Best One?
    What happens when a word ends in a /t/ sound and the next word starts with /t/?

  • Is the First Dictionary Pronunciation the Best One?
    How do we pronounce 'from' in natural English?

  • Is the First Dictionary Pronunciation the Best One?
    What happens when one word ends in /s/ and the next begins in /j/ or /ʃ/?

  • Is the First Dictionary Pronunciation the Best One?
    How do fluent speakers of English pronounce the word 'been' in natural speech? Tim explains…

  • Tim looks at what the linking /j/ is – and when it appears

  • Tim demonstrates two different ways to pronounce the word 'the'

  • What are plosives – and how do fluent speakers of English pronounce them? Tim explains…

  • How do fluent speakers of English pronounce the word 'can' in natural speech? Tim explains…

  • What happens when a word that ends with a /d/ sound is followed by a word beginning with a /g/ or a /k/? Tim explains…

  • What happens in pronunciation when one word ends in a consonant sound and the next word begins with a vowel sound? Tim explains…

  • How do fluent speakers pronounce 'was' in natural speech? Tim explains…

  • How do fluent speakers of English pronounce the word 'and' in natural speech? Tim explains…

  • How do fluent speakers pronounce 'have to' when it's a modal verb of obligation? Tim explains…

  • What happens when a word or syllable ending in the sound /nd/ is followed by a word or syllable starting with a consonant sound? Tim explains…

  • Tim looks at an aspect of connected speech called 'elision of /d/'.

  • Tim looks at an aspect of connected speech called assimilation of /n/ followed by /p/.

  • Tim shows us how to join words together in spoken English with a linking /w/

  • Tim's looking at an aspect of spoken English called 'schwa'

  • Tim's talking about sounds that you can hear, even when they don't – or shouldn't – exist!

  • What happens in everyday speech when a /t/ sound comes in between two consonant sounds?

  • What happens when one word ends in an /s/ sound and the next word begins with an /s/ sound?

  • Tim is looking at an aspect of connected speech called linking /r/.

  • Tim talks pronunication: words that end with a /t/ sound

  • This is the eighth diphthong programme in our series of 45 pronunciation videos that explore the sounds of English.

  • This is the seventh diphthong programme in our series of 45 pronunciation videos that explore the sounds of English.

  • This is the sixth diphthong programme in our series of 45 pronunciation videos that explore the sounds of English.

  • This is the fifth diphthong programme in our series of 45 pronunciation videos that explore the sounds of English.

  • This is the fourth diphthong programme in our series of 45 pronunciation videos that explore the sounds of English.

  • This is the third diphthong programme in our series of 45 pronunciation videos that explore the sounds of English.

  • This is the second diphthong programme in our series of 45 pronunciation videos that explore the sounds of English.

  • This is the first diphthong programme in our series of 45 pronunciation videos that explore the sounds of English.

  • This is the introductory video to our The sounds of English series

Pronunciation Guide (American English Dictionary)

All pronunciations in the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary are American pronunciations.

In the written pronunciations, the following symbols are used:

i see /si/ p pen /pɛn/
ɪ sit /sɪt/ b bad /bæd/
ɛ ten /tɛn/ t tea /ti/
æ cat /kæt/ butter /ˈbʌt̮ər/
ɑ hot /hɑt/ d did /dɪd/
ɔ saw /sɔ/ k cat /kæt/
ʊ put /pʊt/ g got /ɡɑt/
u too /tu/ chin /tʃɪn/
ʌ cup /kʌp/ June /dʒun/
ə about /əˈbaʊt/ f fall /fɔl/
say /seɪ/ v voice /vɔɪs/
five /faɪv/ ɵ thin /θɪn/
ɔɪ boy /bɔɪ/ ð then /ðɛn/
now /naʊ/ s so /soʊ/
go /ɡoʊ/ z zoo /zu/
ər bird /bərd/ ʃ she /ʃi/
ɪr near /nɪr/ ʒ vision /ˈvɪʒn/
ɛr hair /hɛr/ h how /haʊ/
ɑr car /kɑr/ m man /mæn/
ɔr north /nɔrθ/ n no /noʊ/
ʊr tour /tʊr/ ŋ sing /sɪŋ/
l leg /lɛɡ/
r red /rɛd/
y yes /yɛs/
w wet /wɛt/
x Chanukah /ˈxɑnəkə/

If more than one written pronunciation is given for a word, they are all acceptable, but the first form given is the most common. Not all possible American pronunciations are shown in this dictionary.

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For example, some speakers only use the sound /ɔ/ when it is followed by /r/ (as in horse /hɔrs/) and use /ɑ/ in all other words that are shown with /ɔ/ in this dictionary, so that they pronounce both caught and cot as /kɑt/.

/ ˈ / shows the strong stress in a word or group of words. It is in front of the part (or syllable) that you say most strongly. For example, any /ˈɛni/ has a stress on the first syllable; depend /dɪˈpɛnd/ has a stress on the second syllable.

/ ˌ / shows a weaker (or secondary) stress. Many longer words have a syllable that is pronounced with a secondary stress as well as a syllable with strong (or main) stress. So in the word pronunciation /prəˌnʌnsiˈeɪʃn/, the main stress is on the syllable /ˈeɪ/, and the secondary stress is on the syllable /ˌnʌn/.

Key to pronunciation | Oxford English Dictionary

Home How to use the OED Key to pronunciation

To hear any pronunciation spoken aloud, click the blue play icon to the left of each transcription.

The pronunciations given are those in use among educated urban speakers of standard English in Britain and the United States. While avoiding strongly regionally or socially marked forms, they are intended to include the most common variants for each word. The keywords given in this key are to be understood as pronounced in such speech.

Words particularly associated with other parts of the English-speaking world are also given pronunciations in the appropriate global variety of English. Keys and details of each model can be found here.

Vowels

British U.S. As in…
i fleece
i i happy
ɪ ɪ kit
ɛ ɛ dress
a ɛ carry
a æ trap
ɑː ɑ father
ɒ ɑ lot
ɔː ɔ, ɑ hawk
ʌ ə cup
ʊ ʊ foot
u goose
ə ə alpha
ɔː ɔr force 
əː ər nurse 
ɪə ɪ(ə)r here
ɛː ɛ(ə)r square
ʊə ʊ(ə)r cure
face 
ʌɪ price
mouth
əʊ goat 
ɔɪ ɔɪ choice
ã æ̃ fin de siècle 
ɒ̃ ɑ̃ bon mot 

ᵻ represents free variation between /ɪ/ and /ə/
ᵿ represents free variation between /ʊ/ and /ə/

Consonants

As in…
b big /bɪɡ/
d dig /dɪɡ/ 
jet /dʒɛt/
ð then /ðɛn/
f fig /fɪɡ/
ɡ get /ɡɛt/
h how /haʊ/
j yes /jɛs/
k kit /kɪt/
l leg /lɛɡ/
m main /meɪn/
n net /nɛt/
ŋ thing /θɪŋ/
p pit /pɪt/
r rain /reɪn/
s sit /sɪt/
ʃ ship /ʃɪp/
t tame /teɪm/
chip /tʃɪp/
θ thin /θɪn/
v vet /vɛt/
w win /wɪn/
z zip /zɪp/
ʒ vision /ˈvɪʒ(ə)n/
x (Scottish) loch /lɒx/
ɬ (Welsh) penillion /pɛˈnɪɬɪən/

The consonants l, m, and n can take on the function of a vowel in some unstressed syllables. It should generally be clear when this interpretation is intended, but in cases of potential ambiguity, the consonant symbol appears with a diacritic, as l̩, m̩ and n̩, as e.g. meddle /ˈmɛdl/, meddling /ˈmɛdl̩ɪŋ/.

After a vowel, U.S. English can have /r/ regardless of the sound which follows, whereas British English retains the /r/ only when it is followed by a vowel. Compare U.S. mar /mɑr/, marring /ˈmɑrɪŋ/ with British mar /mɑː/, marring /ˈmɑːrɪŋ/

Between vowels, except at the start of a stressed syllable, U.S. English has /d/ where British English has /t/. Compare U.S. butter /ˈbədər/, and waiting /ˈweɪdɪŋ/ (as against wait /weɪt/) with British butter /ˈbʌtə/, waiting /ˈweɪtɪŋ/, wait /weɪt/.

P5: Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange

This chapter defines a module for encoding lexical resources of all kinds, in particular human-oriented monolingual and multilingual dictionaries, glossaries, and similar documents.

The elements described here may also be useful in the encoding of computational lexica and similar resources intended for use by language-processing software; they may also be used to provide a rich encoding for wordlists, lexica, glossaries, etc. included within other documents.

Dictionaries are most familiar in their printed form; however, increasing numbers of dictionaries exist also in electronic forms which are independent of any particular printed form, but from which various displays can be produced.

Both typographically and structurally, print dictionaries are extremely complex. Such lexical resources are moreover of interest to many communities with different and sometimes conflicting goals.

As a result, many general problems of text encoding are particularly pronounced here, and more compromises and alternatives within the encoding scheme may be required in the future.

36 Two problems are particularly prominent.

First, because the structure of dictionary entries varies widely both among and within dictionaries, the simplest way for an encoding scheme to accommodate the entire range of structures actually encountered is to allow virtually any element to appear virtually anywhere in a dictionary entry.

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It is clear, however, that strong and consistent structural principles do govern the vast majority of conventional dictionaries, as well as many or most entries even in more ‘exotic’ dictionaries; encoding guidelines should include these structural principles.

We therefore define two distinct elements for dictionary entries, one (entry) which captures the regularities of many conventional dictionary entries, and a second (entryFree) which uses the same elements, but allows them to combine much more freely. It is however recommended that entry be used in preference to entryFree wherever possible.

These elements and their contents are described in sections 9.2 The Structure of Dictionary Entries, 9.6 Unstructured Entries, and 9.4 Headword and Pronunciation References.

Second, since so much of the information in printed dictionaries is implicit or highly compressed, their encoding requires clear thought about whether it is to capture the precise typographic form of the source text or the underlying structure of the information it presents.

Since both of these views of the dictionary may be of interest, it proves necessary to develop methods of recording both, and of recording the interrelationship between them as well.

Users interested mainly in the printed format of the dictionary will require an encoding to be faithful to an original printed version.

However, other users will be interested primarily in capturing the lexical information in a dictionary in a form suitable for further processing, which may demand the expansion or rearrangement of the information contained in the printed form.

Further, some users wish to encode both of these views of the data, and retain the links between related elements of the two encodings. Problems of recording these two different views of dictionary data are discussed in section 9.5 Typographic and Lexical Information in Dictionary Data, together with mechanisms for retaining both views when this is desired.

To deal with this complexity, and in particular to account for the wide variety of linguistic contexts within which a dictionary may be designed, it can be necessary to customize or change the schema by providing more restriction or possibly alternate content models for the elements defined in this chapter. Section 9.3.2 Grammatical Information illustrates this with the provision of a closed set of values for grammatical descriptors.

This chapter contains a large number of examples taken from existing print dictionaries; in each case, the original source is identified. In presenting such examples, we have tried to retain the original typographic appearance of the example as well as presenting a suggested encoding for it.

Where this has not been possible (for example in the display of pronunciation) we have adopted the transliteration found in the electronic edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

Also, the middle dot in quoted entries is rendered with a full stop, while within the sample transcriptions hyphenation and syllabification points are indicated by a vertical bar |, regardless of their appearance in the source text.

Overall, dictionaries have the same structure of front matter, body, and back matter familiar from other texts. In addition, this module defines entry, entryFree, and superEntry as component-level elements which can occur directly within a text division or the text body.

The following tags can therefore be used to mark the gross structure of a printed dictionary; the dictionary-specific tags are discussed further in the following section.

  • text contains a single text of any kind, whether unitary or composite, for example a poem or drama, a collection of essays, a novel, a dictionary, or a corpus sample.
  • front (front matter) contains any prefatory matter (headers, abstracts, title page, prefaces, dedications, etc.) found at the start of a document, before the main body.
  • body (text body) contains the whole body of a single unitary text, excluding any front or back matter.
  • back (back matter) contains any appendixes, etc. following the main part of a text.
  • div (text division) contains a subdivision of the front, body, or back of a text.
  • entry contains a single structured entry in any kind of lexical resource, such as a dictionary or lexicon.
  • entryFree (unstructured entry) contains a single unstructured entry in any kind of lexical resource, such as a dictionary or lexicon.
  • superEntry groups a sequence of entries within any kind of lexical resource, such as a dictionary or lexicon which function as a single unit, for example a set of homographs.

Comparison of English dictionaries

These tables compare modern and notable English dictionaries, split by market segment. Unless noted after the edition number, all are single-volume works.

Number of entries

Note that the publisher's definition of an entry differs. Some publishers count derivatives as separate entries while others count expressions consisting of more than one word as separate entries. The number of entries is basically a marketing term that should never be used to compare dictionaries.

See also:  The ampersand

As an example, the 6th Edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (SOED6, 2007) contains approximately:[citation needed]

  • 104,000 entries (where only the word “back” is listed.)
  • 125,000 entries when parts of speech are separately listed (“back” is listed 5 times, 2 times as a noun, as an adjective, as a verb, and also as an adverb.)
  • 172,000 entries when derivatives are also counted.
  • 600,000 entries when different meanings (12 meanings for the first “back” noun listing alone) and phrases (at the back of, back and edge, behind one's back, etc.) are also counted.

The 2nd Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) includes more historical entries because it also lists words that have been obsolete for centuries (back to the 7th century) due to changes in meaning and orthography. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary only covers usage back to the 18th century.

Learner's dictionaries typically contain 40,000 to 50,000 words, which is half to one-third of the current usage, but still claim hundreds of thousands of “entries”.

Full-size

These dictionaries generally aim for extensive coverage of the language for native speakers. They typically only cover one variety of English, either British or American.

Title

Publisher

First
published

Latest edition

Year

Pages

Entries
(approx.)

Main dialect

Pronunciation
guide

American Heritage Dictionary (AHD) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 1969 5th (ISBN 0-547-04101-2) 2011 2,074 70,000 American Diacritical
The Chambers Dictionary Chambers Harrap 1872 13th (ISBN 9781473602250) 2014 1,920 62,500[1] British Diacritical
Collins English Dictionary HarperCollins 1979 12th (ISBN 9780007522743) 2014 2,340 100,000 British IPA
Concise Oxford English Dictionary (COED) Oxford University Press 1911 12th (ISBN 9780199601080) 2011 1,728 240,000 British IPA
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (MWD) Merriam-Webster 1828 18th (ISBN 978-0-87779-668-8) 2016 720 (trade), 960 (mass-market) 75,000 American Diacritical
New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD) Oxford University Press 2001 3rd (ISBN 0-19-539288-4) 2010 2,096 350,000 American Diacritical
Oxford Dictionary of English Oxford University Press 1998 3rd (ISBN 0-19-957112-0) 2010 2,112 355,000 British IPA
Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Oxford University Press 1895 2nd (20 vols., ISBN 0-19-861186-2) 1989 21,730 291,500 British IPA
Random House Webster's Random House 1966 2nd (rev., ISBN 978-0375425998) 2002 2,256 315,000 American Diacritical
Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (SOED) Oxford University Press 1933 6th (2 vol., ISBN 9780199206872) 2007 3,804 125,000 British IPA
Webster's Third New International Dictionary (W3) Merriam-Webster 1961 3rd (ISBN 0-87-779201-1) 2002 2,783 263,000 American Diacritical

Collegiate

These dictionaries generally contain fewer entries (and fewer definitions per entry) than their full-size counterparts but may contain additional material, such as biographical or geopolitical information, that would be useful to a college student. They may be revised more often and thus contain more up to date usage. Sometimes the term collegiate or college is used merely to indicate a physically smaller, more economically printed dictionary.

Title

Publisher

First
published

Latest edition

Year

Pages

Entries
(approx.)

Main dialect

Pronunciation
guide

American Heritage College Dictionary Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2002 4th[2] (ISBN 0-547-24766-4) 2010 1,664 American Diacritical
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Merriam-Webster 1898 11th (ISBN 0-8777-9809-5) 2003 1,664 165,000 American Diacritical
Webster's New World College Dictionary Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 1953 5th 2014 1,736 163,000 American Diacritical

Learner's

'Learner's dictionary' redirects here.

For other uses, see Monolingual learner's dictionary and Advanced learner's dictionary

These dictionaries generally contain fewer entries than full-size or collegiate dictionaries but contain additional information that would be useful to a learner of English, such as more extensive usage notes, example sentences or phrases, collocations, and both British and American pronunciations (sometimes multiple variants of the latter). In addition, definitions are usually restricted to a simpler core vocabulary than that expected of a native speaker. All use the IPA to indicate pronunciation.

Title

Publisher

First
published

Latest edition

Year

Pages

Usage examples
(approx.)

Main dialect

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary Cambridge University Press 2003[3] 4th (ISBN 9781107619500) 2013 1,856 140,000 British
Collins COBUILD Advanced Dictionary Collins Cobuild 1987 9th (ISBN 9780008253219) 2018 1,904 British
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Pearson-Longman 1978 6th (ISBN 9781447954194) 2014 2,224 165,000 British
Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners Macmillan Education 2002 2nd (ISBN 9781405025263) 2012 1,748 British
Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's English Dictionary Merriam-Webster 2008 2nd (ISBN 9780877797364) 2016 1,994 160,000 American
Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary Oxford University Press 1948 10th (ISBN 9780194799485) 2015 1,960 185,000 British

Notes

  1. ^ Kaminski, Mariusz (2013). A History of the Chambers Dictionary. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 95–96.
  2. ^ The 2010 “4th edition” of The American Heritage College Dictionary (ISBN 0-547-24766-4) is the second revision of the original “4th edition” published in 2002; it was originally derived from the 4th edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, which was published in 2000.[1]
  3. ^ Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary was originally published as Cambridge International Dictionary of English in 1995.

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