Learning articulatory descriptions & IPA symbols; distinguishing English phonemes

University of Iowa Video & Animations of Sounds Animated libraries of the phonetic sounds of English, German, and Spanish. Available for each consonant and vowel is an animated articulatory diagram, a step-by-step description, and video-audio of the sound spoken in context. It is intended for student of phonetics, linguistics, and foreign language. There is also an interactive diagram of the articulatory anatomy.

Interactive Sagittal Section by Daniel C. Hall

Displays mid-sagittal sections and IPA transcriptions for user-specified articulations.

University of Victoria Audio Illustrations of the IPA

An IPA chart that will play a sound when you click on it (as well as providing the articulatory description of the sound).

English Accent Coach Practice consonants or vowels or pick a few specific ones to focus on. You will hear multiple speakers using the sound(s) you are practicing; click on the one you hear and get immediate feedback. This uses IPA symbols, so you can also use it to practice those. Beware though, that it uses wedge but not schwa and does not distinguish the low back vowel from the mid back lax rounded one (so you cannot use it to practice distinguishing those two sounds; both are labelled /ɑ/).
Eight primary cardinal vowels Recording of Daniel Jones producing the eight primary cardinal vowels

Transcription resources



Free downloadable software for Macintosh or Windows that allows the user to analyze, synthesize, and manipulate speech.
Praat plugin Free plugin for Praat that makes manipulating recorded speech much easier.
Additional Praat scripts UCLA site with lots of scripts to automate various Praat tasks that I haven't checked out; includes instructions for how to run them up top!
Still more Praat scripts University of Barcelona site with more bunches of scripts that I also haven't checked out.



Aids in transcription of digitized sound files. Besides normal playback features (Play, FF, Rew, Pause), it also includes features specifically for transcription such as "walking," which plays a small stretch of the file several times, then advances to a new piece that overlaps slightly with the previous one. Originally developed by Eric Breck for MICASE.

Interactive Unicode IPA chart Allows you to click on symbols in the chart and then select, copy and then paste IPA into any document without needing a special font

Articulation videos

Voicing, U of Washington Speech & hearing clinic

Video of the vocal folds in action!!!
Slow-motion vocal fold vibration Slow-motion video of the vocal folds in action so you can actually see what the vibrating looks like

Places of articulation, A Course in Phonetics

x-ray movie showing places of articulation

Many sounds... A Course in Phonetics

x-ray movie showing many different sounds

Other cool resources

Laryngeal anatomy Color photos with various parts of the laryngeal system marked

UCLA Phonetics Lab Data An archival record of materials for use with older editions of two of Peter Ladefoged's textbooks. Sound files can be accessed by looking up particular languages or particular types of sounds.

UCLA Phonetics Lab Archive Recordings of many of the languages that have been investigated by members of the UCLA Phonetics Lab or have been made available to the lab by other scholars. Sound files can also be accessed by looking up particular languages or particular types of sounds.

McGurk effect

The bimodal nature of speech understanding - a demonstration of the famous "hearing lips , seeing voices" experiment. Click on McGurk Effect Demo to actually experience the McGurk effect. What you see affects what you hear!

Phoneme restoration effect

Do you hear the /s/?

Phoneme restoration effect, more complex example

William Knapp's example. Do some sounds work better than others?
WHYY the pulse sound illusion

Another example of how top-down processing can affect our perception.

SineWave Synthesis

An interactive demonstration of time-varying SineWave Synthesis and related research. This section lets you take part in an online perception test by listening to the synthesized tokens in the Sentences area.

Synthesized speech Examples of different types of speech synthesis in a number of languages.

Research on language variation

Varieties of English This website contains information not only on general topics such as phonetics, phonology, and IPA transcription, but also information on different varieties of English, such as Southern States English, African-American English, and British English.

Speech Accent Archive This site examines the speech of speakers from many different language backgrounds reading the same sample paragraph.