Sound of alphabets in english

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With this alphabet chart, understand how to say the names of the letters and read about all the sounds of each letter from the alphabet. These are the basic phonetic sounds for American English. To learn important sounds using free videos online, go to Pronunciation in English: 500 Words.


Sound of Letter Name

All sounds of letter


A, a

ā-ee (long a to long e, also spell "ay")

, ā, ah, ā-uh, uh

cat, late, all, and, around

B, b




C, c


kuh, suh

cake, city

D, d




E, e


eh, ee, silent

bed, free, late

F, f




G, g


guh, juh

glad, large

H, h


huh, silent

hotel, what

I, i


ah-ee, ĭ

light, sit

J, j




K, k




L, l


luh, ul

lot, full

M, m




N, n




O, o

ō (oh)

ah, ō, uh, oo, ů

hot, slow, computer, fool, good

P, p




Q, q

Kyoo (kyū)



R, r


ruh, ur

race, stir

S, s


suh, zuh

stick, is

T, t


tuh, duh, N, silent, stopped tuh

table, better, mountain, interview, hot

U, u

Yoo (yū)

uh, yoo, oo,  ů

up, use, flute, full

V, v




W, w


wuh, silent

well, slow

X, x


ks, zuh

box, xylophone

Y, y


yuh, ee, ah-ee (i), ĭ

yes, happy, try, cylinder

Z, z





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Learning the building blocks of words - sounds, their spellings, and word parts

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If you want to store a large, complex system such as the English spelling system in a finite human brain, you have to organise it well.

To organise something, you first need an organising principle or principles.

If you want to use the relationship between letters and sounds as your organising principle for spelling (and most sensible people do), you can start from the letters and work to the sounds, or start from the sounds and work to the letters.

Starting from the letters

There are 26 letters in the English alphabet, but English also has a whole stack of letter combinations that can represent individual sounds:

  • Two letter combinations, like “oo” as in “book”, “er” as in “her”, “ph” as in “phone” and “ey” as in “key”
  • Three letter combinations, like “igh” as in “high”, “dge” as in “bridge”, “tch” as in “catch” and “ere” as in “here”.
  • Four letter combinations, like “eigh” as in “eight”, “aigh” as in “straight”, “augh” as in “caught”, and “ough” as in “bought”, “drought”, “dough”, “through”, “thorough” (but not “cough” or “tough”, where the “ou” and the “gh” represent different sounds, and just happen to be next to each other).

To add to the complexity, many letters and letter combinations can represent more than one sound, for example, the letter “y” represents four different sounds in the words “yes”, “by”, “baby” and “gym”. The spelling “ea” represents three different sounds in the words “beach”, “dead” and “break”.

As well as more common letter-sound patterns, there are letter-sound patterns that only occur in one or two words, like the “sth” in “asthma” and “isthmus”, and the “xe” in “axe”, “deluxe” and “annexe”.

It's an almost impossible task to use letters and letter patterns to organise your thinking about spelling, as there are simply so many of them and their relationships with sounds are so complex.

After a while it starts to seem that there must be thousands of sounds in English, whereas there are only 44[1] . So let's try using sounds as our organising principle.

Starting from sounds

The sounds of English are:

Three pairs of consonants made by stopping airflow in the mouth then letting it go:

  • “p” as in pop, puppy and cantaloupe (voiceless lip sound).
  • “b” as in bob, rubber, build and cupboard (voiced lip sound).
  • “t” as in tot, butter, backed, joked, laundrette, torte, Thomas, receipt, debt, yacht, indict and pizza (voiceless tongue tip sound).
  • “d” as in did, muddy, wagged, aide and jodhpurs (voiced tongue tip sound).
  • “k” as in cot, king, luck, quit, chrome, mosque, khaki, liquor, accord, excel, Bourke, trekking, acquaint, racquet and zucchini (voiceless back of the tongue sound).
  • “g” as in go, biggest, guide, ghoul and morgue (voiced back of the tongue sound).

Three pairs of consonants made through your nose using your voice:

  • “m” as in mum, hammer, limb, autumn, programme and paradigm (lip sound).
  • “n” as in non, runner, know, reign, cayenne, pneumonia and mnemonic (tongue tip sound).
  • “ng” as in wing, think and tongue (back of the tongue sound).

Four pairs of friction sounds made by squeezing air through narrow spaces in the mouth:

  • “th” as in thin, Matthew and phthalates (voiceless tongue-between-teeth sound).
  • “th” as in this and breathe  (voiced tongue-between-teeth sound).
  • “f” as in far, sniff, phone, cough, Chekhov, gaffe, carafe and often[2] (voiceless teeth on lip sound).
  • “v” as in vat, love, skivvy, of, Stephen and Louvre (voiced teeth on lip sound).
  • “s” as in sell, city, voice, house, scent, pass, whistle, psychologist, quartz, coalesce, mousse, sword, asthma, and waltz.
  • “z” as in zip, is, pause, dazzling, bronze, xylophone, dessert, business and tsar/czar.
  • “sh” as in ash, lotion, passion, pension, facial, chef, schnitzel, moustache, ocean, sugar, appreciate, initiate, conscience, tissue, cushion, crescendo and fuchsia.
  • “zh” as in beige, vision, pleasure, aubergine, déjà vu, seizure, equation and casuarina.

One pair of sounds made by stopping the air and then releasing it through a narrow space in the mouth:

  • “ch” (a combination of “t” and “sh”) as in chair, hutch, creature, bocconcini, cappuccino, kitsch, luncheon, question, righteous, ciao and Czech.
  • “j” (a combination of “d” and “zh”) as in jar, gem, sponge, ridge, budgie, religion, adjust, suggest, educate, soldier and hajj.

Four semi-vowels:

  • “w” as in we, when, quack, one, marijuana and ouija.
  • “y” as in yum, onion, hallelujah, tortilla and El Niño.
  • “r” as in rip, wrist, barrel, rhubarb, diarrhoea and Warwick.
  • “l” as in look, doll, grille, aisle, island and kohl.

One friction sound that has no pair:

  • “h”, made by squeezing air through the back of your throat, as in hat, who, jojoba and junta.

So that makes 24 consonant sounds. Then there are 20 vowels:

Six “checked” vowels that require a consonant sound after them in English (sometimes called "short" vowels):

  • “a” as in at, plait, salmon, meringue and Fahrenheit.
  • “e” as in wet, deaf, any, said, says, friend, haemmorhage, leopard, leisure, bury and Geoff.
  • “i” as in in, myth, passage, pretty, breeches, busy, marriage, sieve, women and bream.
  • “o” as in on, swan, because, entree, cough, John, lingerie and bureaucracy.
  • “u” as in up, front, young, blood, does and laksa.
  • “oo” as in pull, good, could, wolf, tour and Worcestershire.

Six other vowels that are sometimes called “long vowels” (they're not really long, but they can be the last sound in a word):

  • “ay” as in same, sail, say, danger, weigh, vein, they, café, reggae, great, purée, fete, straight, gauge, gaol, laissez-faire and lingerie.
  • “I” as in like, hi, by, pie, high, type, chai, feisty, bye, height, kayak, eye, iron, maestro and naive.
  • “oh” as in rope, no, boat, goes, glow, plateau, soul, mauve, though, yolk, brooch, owe, sew and Renault.
  • “ooh” as in food, June, chew, brutal, youth, clue, fruit, to, sleuth, shoe, roux, coup, pooh, through, two, manoeuvre and bouillion.
  • “you” (a combination of “y” and “ooh”) as in use, few, cue, feud, tulip, beauty, pursuit, ewe and vacuum.
  • “ee” as in bee, eat, field, me, these, jelly, taxi, turkey, ceiling, marine, paediatric, amoeba, quay, people, Grand Prix, fjord, ratatouille and Leigh.

Seven other vowels, some of which are called "r-controlled" vowels in some spelling books:

  • “ar” as in arm, past, calf, blah, charred, are, baa, clerk, aunt, heart, bazaar and bizarre.
  • “er” as in fern, curl, dirt, word, pearl, purr, err, whirred, slurred, masseur, journalist, milieu, were, colonel, myrrh, myrtle and hors d’oeuvre.
  • “aw” as in saw, cord, more, court, faun, bought, wart, all, door, chalk, taught, board, dinosaur, baulk, sure, broad, awesome, you’re, corps, extraordinaire, hors d’oeuvre and assurance.
  • “ou” as in out, cow, drought, kauri, Maori and miaow.
  • “oy” as in boy, soil, Freud, lawyer and Despoja.
  • “air” as in care, fair, pear, parent, aerial, solitaire, there, sombrero, heir, their, they’re, prayer, mayor and yeah.
  • “ear” as in dear, beer, tier, ere, bacteria, souvenir, Hampshire, weird and Shakespeare.

One unstressed vowel, heard mostly in multisyllable words:

  • “uh” as in fire, super, metre, buzzard, tractor, odour, jealous, nature, mynah, violent, pencil, cherub, delicate, granite, purpose, minute, restaurant, aesthetic, martyr, mischievous, borough, portrait, foreign, papier-mache, cupboard, sulphur, porpoise, circuit, tapir

The unstressed vowel also occurs in spoken sentences in small, grammatical words like "a" and "the". Because these words occur very frequently, this can be a source of much confusion about how basic vowels are spelt.

This is still a long list, but at least it's possible to put a lid on it, by teaching the main spellings for all the sounds in one-syllable words, then the main additional spellings in longer words.

Eventually you find you've got most words covered, and there's just a list of weird ones for each sound that don't follow any major pattern, and are therefore also memorable.

Learners can make up a spelling collection with a page for each sound, and list all the spellings they know in groups. In fact there are books you can buy for this purpose such as Soundasaurus, but I generally quibble with some of the categories, and prefer to use my own Spelling Collection. Crossings-out, sticky notes and/or extra pages added in later are good evidence that learners have been actively thinking and learning about the relationship between sounds and letters.


[1] Linguists will always argue about how many sounds there are in English, because the mouth is a mushy place without clear boundaries – for example, the “l” sound at the start of “look” is phonetically different from the one at the end of “hall”, and the sound “ay” in “play” and “ie” as in “time” are technically two sounds, but slicing things that finely doesn’t really help with learning spelling. Most people say there are between 42 and 44 sounds for the purposes of teaching spelling (depending on whether you call "ear" and "air" separate spellings or not).



[2] and lieutenant if you speak British English, but actually this word comes from French and means someone standing in (in lieu) for the tenant or office-holder, so the American pronunciation (“loo-tenant”, not “leff-tenant”) is closer to the original French.







« Spelling rules

English alphabet with pronunciation, transcription and translation (letters and sounds)

Pronunciation of the English alphabet with the names of letters in English and Russian:

Below is a table where we have outlined the English alphabet with translation - transcription and pronunciation in Russian.

nine0014 nine0024[tiː] nine0024 zed, zi
Letters of the English alphabet
Letter Transcription pronunciation of
a [eɪ] hey
B b [biː] bi
C c [siː] and
D d [diː] di
e [iː] and
F [ɛf] eff
G g [dʒiː] ji
h h [eɪtʃ] h
i [aɪ] ai
J [dʒeɪ] jay
K k [keɪ] key
L l [ɛl] el
M m [ɛm] em
N n [ɛn] en
O o [əʊ] ou
P p [piː] pi
Q q [kjuː] cue
R r [ɑː] or [ɑɹ] a:, ar
S s [ɛs] es
t and
U u [juː] y
V v ​​ [viː] and
w w [ˈdʌb(ə)l juː] double
x [ɛks] ex
Y y [waɪ] wye
Z z [zɛd], [ziː]

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How many letters are in the English alphabet

The modern English alphabet contains 26 letters. English sounds were first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet as early as the 5th century. Christian missionaries brought to the island not only their religion, but also the Latin alphabet, which began to replace the runic alphabet around the 7th century. For a long time, these two alphabets existed in parallel. nine0005

The modern English alphabet (The English alphabet [ˈalfəbɛt]) is based on the Latin alphabet or "Latin". So what is the number in the English alphabet? Unlike the Russian language, which has 33 letters, the English alphabet consists of 26 letters:

  • 6 letters can represent vowels: "A", "E", "I", "O", "U", "Y »;
  • 21 letters can represent consonants: "B", "C", "D", "F", "G", "H", "J", "K", "L", "M", "N" ”, “P”, “Q”, “R”, “S”, “T”, “V”, “W”, “X”, “Y”, “Z”. nine0246

Below we have added a table where you can see the entire English alphabet with the numbering of letters in order.

nine0014 nine0024 12
Number of letters in the English alphabet
Direct number Letter Reverse number
1 a 26
2 B b 25
3 C c 24
4 D 23
5 e 22
6 F 21
7 G g 20
8 H h 19
9 I i 18
9 I i 18
10 J 17
11 K k 16
12 L l 15
13 M m 14
14 N n 13
15 Or
16 P 11
17 Q q 10
18 r 9
19 S s 8
20 T t 7
21 U u 6
22 V v 5
23 W w 4
24 X x 3
25 Y y 2
26 Z z 1

By the way, the letter Y can stand for both a vowel and a consonant, and therefore refers to both vowels and consonants.

Almost all letters of the English alphabet are pronounced the same by Americans and Brits, except for the last one. The American alphabet differs in that the letter Z is pronounced as "zi" [ziː], and in the British - "zed" [zed]. nine0005

Sounds of the English alphabet

We start learning English letters even before we come across foreign language lessons. We know them even before we start learning English: we meet them at work, when we play computer games or surf the Internet. English words are found everywhere: on advertising posters, in the names of goods, in store signs.

Although the letters may be visually familiar to us, they are not always pronounced the way they are written. The alphabet of the English language for beginners with pronunciation, numbering and translation will help here, because even those who are fluent in foreign languages ​​find it difficult to speak correctly. A typical situation is to spell an English word, for example, to give an email address, your name or street in English. This is where the difficulties begin, and we try to explain ourselves with images and associations: i - “like a stick with a dot”, H - “like a Russian n”, s - “like a dollar”, v - “like a tick. nine0005

From here it is better to memorize not only the letters, but also their pronunciation. The latter is written by transcription and enclosed in square brackets. At first, it will be easier for you to memorize transcription with Russian pronunciation, but gradually you need to give it up and focus only on English transcription.

How to Learn the English Alphabet

Learning the alphabet is not just memorizing the order of the alphabet in English, Russian or Spanish, or knowing how many non-letters there are. To know the alphabet is to be able to pronounce sounds, as well as to write lowercase and uppercase letters correctly. In order to learn the entire alphabet of the English language easily, quickly and forever, follow these rules:

  1. Memorize both uppercase and lowercase letters of the English alphabet at the same time, pay attention to how English letters are written.
  2. Learn both the name of English letters and the correct pronunciation, use the alphabet with transcription. It is easier to remember this at the same time than to relearn it later.
  3. Use all available resources: use audio recordings, videos of examples of correct pronunciation, printed texts, Internet resources.
  4. Learn the English alphabet in order, like in the ABC. Then change tactics: start studying the letters backwards, randomly, grouping. nine0246
  5. Practice regularly, preferably every day for at least a few minutes. If you are tired of learning the same letters, take any children's book in English. Maybe you will not understand the meaning of what is written, but you will definitely be able to recognize and name this or that letter.

Another good way to learn the alphabet is to memorize a special rhyme. It is very short, but it will help to know every letter by heart:

Do you know your ABC?

You can learn along with me! nine0005

A, B, C, D, E, F, G,

H, I, J, K,

L, M, N, O, P U, V,

W, X, Y and Z

Now, I know my ABC's.

Next time won't you sing with me?

And the last piece of advice. Divide all letters into three large groups and learn them in three stages: the first group is 6 vowels: Aa, Her, Ii, Oo, Uu, Yy. Do not forget about transcription and remember that in English vowels can change their sound depending on the type of syllables, stress and other conditions; the second group of letters includes those that are written and pronounced similarly to Russian letters. They are easy to remember: Bb, Cc, Dd, Kk, Ll, Mm, Nn, Pp, Ss, Tt, Xx; the third group consists of those letters that sound and are written unfamiliar to native Russian speakers: Ff, Gg, Hh, Jj, Qq, Rr, Vv, Ww, Zz. nine0005

Methods and techniques for memorizing the English alphabet

There are many ways to learn the English alphabet from scratch that are suitable for both adults and children.

The most popular way to learn the English alphabet is through tables. You can print the English alphabet tables from this article or search for others: English alphabet by numbers; English alphabet with numbering of letters, etc. Hang them over your desk and browse and read aloud whenever you have a free moment. The main thing is to memorize the alphabet with the pronunciation of sounds. nine0005

One of the most effective ways is to make colored cards with the letters and words that begin with them and place them in a prominent place. These cards can be made by yourself or bought in the store. It is better to use well-known words, for example, the names of animals.

You can train with special exercises, for example, this one: get a special notebook and write down the letters in it several lines - both uppercase and lowercase letters of the English alphabet. And when writing, dictate to yourself aloud the name of the letter. This exercise includes all three main types of memory: auditory, visual and motor. nine0005

Don't forget about games that will help you learn the English alphabet. For example, Spell the word or “Spell the word” - whoever spells it wrong first loses. And you can also read the alphabet at speed, write letters correctly by ear, pronounce the letters written on the card, and so on. The audio alphabet of the English language with pronunciation has proven itself well. A student can independently master the letters and sounds just by listening to the recording. The main thing is to be systematic. nine0005

Interesting facts about the English alphabet

Learning the sounds and letters of the English language will be more fun if you know a few interesting facts about the alphabet:

  1. The English alphabet can be called by its first letters "ABC";
  2. The English word alphabet comes from Latin, where alpha and beta were the first letters of the alphabet. But even before the Latin alphabet, they were the first letters of the Phoenician alphabet (alef and bet), which arose in 1050 BC. e.
  3. The article the is the most common word in the English language. nine0246
  4. The most common letter in the English alphabet is E, and the most common consonant is T. The letters S and T are most common at the beginning of English words. The rarest letters in the alphabet are Q and Z.
  5. In English there are only 5 vowels and as many as 20 vowels! For example, the letters Y and W can be pronounced as vowels (try, my, cow, few). The same letter can be read in several ways, for example, in the words cat [kæt], place [pleis], dark [daːk], air [ɛə].
  6. All 26 letters of the English alphabet can be put into a sentence or pangram that shows how each letter of the font will look like: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" (loosely translated: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." English analogue - "Eat some more of these soft French rolls and drink tea"). nine0246


English speakers remember their alphabet much more often than Russian speakers, because in English the pronunciation of a word often does not match its spelling. Especially in geographical names and surnames. Then they spell these words (to spell). Therefore, in order to learn the entire English alphabet with the correct pronunciation for an adult, to speak English well and understand native speakers, it is necessary to learn how to spell words. And the phrase "Please spell this word!" ("Please spell") to help you. nine0005

Check if you know the top 100 English words

Listen to the letters of the English alphabet

Start learning English with the alphabet, because it contains letters that will help you learn to read and write.

Origin of the alphabet and pronunciation of English letters

The basis of the modern English alphabet is the Latin alphabet, but the names of the English letters differ significantly from the original Latin ones, so they must be learned by heart. The fact is that the English alphabet consists of 26 letters, and in the language itself there are 44 sounds (according to some studies, up to 49). This means that the same letter can express several sounds . Conversely, one sound can be written in different letters . That is, we can talk about the pronunciation of a letter only in a specific word. Take for example the sound [f], it can be expressed by the letter f> fish (fish) , as well as combinations of letters ph> philosophy (philosophy) or gh> laughter (laughter) .

This means that the name of the letter and its pronunciation are not at all the same thing. When we talk about the alphabet, we mean the names of the letters. nine0005

American English Alphabet with Pronunciation

First, listen to each letter of the English alphabet separately. Click on the letter and she will name herself! Pay attention to transcription. The American name for the letter Z sounds like [zi], the British one like [zad].

Aa[eɪ] Bb[biː] Cc[siː] Dd[diː]
Ee[iː] Ff[ɛf] Gg[ʤiː] Hh[eɪʧ]
Ii[aɪ] Jj[ʤeɪ] Kk[keɪ] Ll[ɛl]
Mm[ɛm] Nn[ɛn] Oo[oʊ] Pp[piː]
Qq[kjuː] Rr[ɑr]/[ɑː] Ss[ɛs] Tt[tiː]
Uu[juː] Vv[viː] Ww[ˈdʌbljuː] Xx[ɛks]
Yy[waɪ] Zz[zi]/[zɛd] American: [zi] or British (international) version: [zed]

Now listen to the whole alphabet

Try to learn the English alphabet by heart. Why this is necessary and how to learn it better, you will find out by reading this page to the end.

Why know the alphabet by heart?

The alphabet is a very important element of language learning. It must be memorized so that it "flies off the teeth." Firstly, it will greatly facilitate the process of learning the language - reading, writing, working with dictionaries, will help to master pronunciation. Secondly, the alphabet will also be useful in oral communication, because the British, like the Americans, are very fond of abbreviations, and most of them are spelled. Knowing the alphabet and popular abbreviations, you will not be confused when you hear: LA (L-Hey), DC (DC), FBI (FBI), CIA (CIA) or NYPD (NWY- Pee Dee). If you have to work with lists or tables, then it will be much easier for you to search for the desired text, since tables and lists are most often sorted alphabetically. nine0005

During a telephone conversation, you can often hear: Can you spell your name, please? , which means something like this: I can't understand your foreign name, please spell .

How to learn the English alphabet?

Each letter must be known “by sight”, but the letters of the alphabet cannot be taught separately, it is much easier to learn them in a “legalized sequence”, the alphabet must flow like a song, the letters must be connected and inseparable like train cars. nine0005

Pay attention to how the letter "Z" sounds in the American version of the alphabet, remember the group
ZZ top ? Or maybe you met somewhere the letter combination EZ ? Now you'll know what it means easy - that's how all are just !

At the beginning of this page, we listened to the alphabet, and now we can look at the handwritten version of the spelling of English letters.

Handwritten Letters of the English Alphabet

Here you see one of the options for writing the letters of the English alphabet. This is exactly the option, since the variety of handwriting and individual characteristics of writing letters tends to infinity, ranging from simple “copying” printed letters to calligraphic delights in retro style.

Learn more