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Pronunciation tips
The sounds of English


Download Sounds of English video (24.8 MB mp4)

Learning the sounds
These are the symbols for the sounds of English. Clicking on a symbol will take you to another page where you can watch a video about that particular sound.

The sounds are organised into the following different groups:
Short vowels
Long vowels
Diphthongs (double vowel sounds)
Voiceless consonants
Voiced consonants
Other consonants

Download this chart (144 K)

To listen to the sounds of English you can also try our audio chart. The chart will open in a pop-up window.

Listen to the sounds of English

Please note:
To watch the videos in the page you will need the free Flash Player software for your computer. You can get Flash here.*

*The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.
About the videos
Alex BellemThe videos in the Pronunciation Tips section of this site are presented by Alex Bellem.

Alex has an undergraduate degree in Arabic and Turkish. She followed this with an MA in (Theoretical) Linguistics at University College London (UCL) and a PhD in Linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) where she focused on Arabic phonology and phonetics.

She's also a CELTA-qualified English language teacher and spent a few years teaching English as a Foreign Language. At the time these videos were made in early 2008 Alex was lecturing part-time in the Linguistics Department at SOAS and was working as a Pronunciation Linguist in the BBC's Pronunciation Unit.

The videos were shot by J-P Newman and many thanks to Matt Cleghorn for his enormous contribution to their editing.

Thanks also to Professor J C Wells for his insights.