FAQ

Why do some words appear in red, blue or italics?

  • Words in red couldn’t be transcribed. Leave us a comment if you believe the word should be in the dictionary.
  • Transcriptions in blue have more than one reading. Hover the mouse to see alternatives or click the word to cycle through them.
  • Transcriptions appearing in italics are weak forms. “Show weak forms” option should be checked for this to work.

How do I copy the results line by line to Word?

For now “Side by side with English text” is your best option if you are going to copy it somewhere else. For best results you will have to break up the original text by lines though.

Why [r] instead of [ɹ]?

The website provides phonemic transcription. Since there is no rolling [r] sound in English language and therefore no confusion between the two, IPA recommends using ‘r’ for simplicity. Most dictionaries do just that.

Shouldn’t [t] between vowels be a flap [ɾ]?

The website is focusing on phonemic transcriptions, so this particular case is out of scope. On top of that, even if we limit this feature to NAmE, there are too many factors involved. There is just no exact phonological rule for whether the flapping will occur or not.

Why is “let” vowel /e/ replaced by /ɛ/ in BrE?

The actual realisation of the phoneme has shifted to open-mid vowel a while ago, so /ɛ/ better reflects modern British pronunciation. The reason /e/ is still used in BrE transcriptions as a separate phoneme is that it is a part of Gimson convention. While simplicity is the main pro-/e/ argument, using the same character as in diphthong /eɪ/ causes confusion to ESL students. This article might be of interest.

Why are long vowels not marked in NAmE?

Vowel length is not phonemically significant in American English. For this reason the vowel length mark is often omitted in dictionaries and other resources on NAmE phonemic transcriptions. This website also uses the length mark in British transcriptions only, although adding a vowel length option for NAmE is in the roadmap. The iOS version of the app already offers this option.

Can I download the speech audio?

Not at the moment. The speech you hear is generated by your browser, so potentially there might be extensions capturing browser’s audio, but you will have to search extension repository of the browser you are using for that.

Is there an API?

Not at the moment, although not ruled out in the future. We understand it’s a popular feature request, but we need to come up with some logistic solution for managing the server workload.

What is the source of the transcriptions?

American transcriptions were initially based on the Open Carnegie Mellon University Pronouncing Dictionary and this far didn’t deviate that much in relative terms. British transcriptions are backed by a proprietary database with years of corrections and updates to align it with existing modern conventions and actual usage of the language. We are grateful to our users flagging issues and otherwise drawing our attention to discrepancies in the results, thereby driving continuous improvement to the service.

How can I reference this website in my work?

“toPhonetics.com” is just fine or “toPhonetics.com (2013, Mu-Sonic Ltd)” if you need publishing details.

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Eugene
Eugene
29 days ago

Hello. Why are there no long vowel sounds in the American transcription?

nguyen
nguyen
1 month ago

how can I adjust the speaking speed of app

Alejandro
Alejandro
4 months ago

Hello! I am working with the same CMU dictionary and I have a couple questions on how you guys parsed it and created you own version what is the best way to contact you?

chris
chris
5 months ago

I’m using Brave as my browser. Why is Tophonetics not working in big windows? Is there a way to revert it to what it used to be? Thanks.

Oscar
Oscar
6 months ago

Sound doesn’t work under Brave and Chromium on Linux

V.Mori
V.Mori
9 months ago

Is the British pronunciation of ‘dinosaur’ actually
ˈdaɪnəʊsɔː

? According to Cambridge Dictionary, it should be ˈdaɪ.nə.sɔː. THank you always.

Adam H.
10 months ago

WIll you plan to add more accents other than American (General American) or British (Recieved Pronunciation) to this site, like Australian, New Zealander (Kiwi), Canadian, Indian, etc.?

Adam H.
11 months ago

Will you plan on translating this site into more languages? Right now it’s only English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian. I would like to see more languages.

Adam H.
11 months ago
Reply to  toPhonetics

Arabic (my native language), German, Italian, Korean, Greek, Hebrew, Ukrainian, Thai, Polish, Dutch, Turkish, Hindi, Indonesian, and so on.

Ale M
Ale M
9 months ago
Reply to  Adam H.

Yes, I have a Telegram group of over 3k Italian students and I’d like to use tophonetics, if you can do Italian that would be great!

Lea
Lea
1 year ago

When I click on other languages there isn’t german, why?

james howe
james howe
1 year ago

In your IPA transcription, can you place a space between phonetic syllables.