Advanced search

I need to learn the phonetic alphabet!

(27 Posts)
smedrock Sun 22-Sep-13 20:32:44

Anyone found any good resources for this where you can actually hear the sounds? All I can find are in American accents...? Thanks! First week of my eldest in reception...

toomuchicecream Sat 28-Sep-13 20:10:33

The Oxford Owl website has videos of the sounds being said properly.

AHotDenseState Sat 28-Sep-13 13:33:01

If you want to learn alongside a child starting reception then this is useful

Gives the 'pure' sound alongside action.


smedrock Sat 28-Sep-13 13:28:22

thanks all. what drama!!

Hulababy Mon 23-Sep-13 18:04:25

This is a video clip of Debbie Hepplewhite - she produced one of the Government funded phonics schemes for schools: Floppy Phonics and also Phonics International.

Skip to about 2 minutes in and you can hear her same some of the first sounds including all the single letter sounds a-z

mrz Mon 23-Sep-13 17:48:32

No masha it isn't because you favour spelling reform that people know you don't know much about English spelling ... it's the evidence from your lists!

Mashabell Mon 23-Sep-13 15:41:43

Because u know that I favour modernisation of English spelling, u find it hard to accept that I know much about the English spelling system, but I do. I spent many years analysing it.

The concept of 'schwa' or unstressed vowels (the 44th sound) is a little tricky to grasp. (English is unusual in generally having just one stressed vowel per word, e.g. abAndon, invEstigate, Animal). But this is not of great importance with beginners learning to read and write, as most of the words they are first introduced to consist of just one syllable.

I hope that the list I pasted in makes the other 43 sounds as clear as possible. The first letter, or combination of letters shown first, is the main spelling for each of them, also shown in the first word. The other words show the alternative spellings for each of them. I have simply tried to provide a concise summary of the English spelling system.

There are a few regional differences in pronunciation.
1)Many Liverpudleans don't distinguish between the short /u/ of 'bus, but, cut' and that of 'put, pull, push'. They use just the latter.

2)Southerners pronounce the 'a' of 'bath, path, grass' with the same sound as in 'father' (not with that of 'cat, mat, sat'), but many others don't.

3)In Scotland the long oo of 'pool, fool, school' tends to be shorter.

4)The Irish and the Americans pronounce the r ending of 'mother, father, other', (known as rhotic but most UK speakers don't.

sparklekitty Mon 23-Sep-13 14:52:10

Mr Thorne on you tube will give you the correct pronunciation of all the phonemes.

Lots of other programs teach the sounds slightly wrong, for example duh instead of a short d for 'd'.

He is very annoying but stick with it as it's the best out there IMO

Ferguson Mon 23-Sep-13 14:38:08


A very good book I always recommend is the Oxford Phonics Spelling Dictionary. It lists words by order of the initial SOUND, not just by LETTER as in 'normal' dictionaries. It will serve a child right through primary school, and gives lots of guidelines about spelling and letter combinations. It is a book, so doesn't give you the actual sounds so that you can hear them, but if you have a reasonable understanding of the English language and how words are pronounced, you will be able to understand how the phonics system works. (If English is not your first language, it may be a bit more difficult for you, but even so you should be able to understand enough to support your child in Reception.)

The book costs something under £7, and you can see sample pages on Amazon HERE:

JustBecauseICan Mon 23-Sep-13 11:14:14

(perhaps for the benefit of posters who may not have come across you and your "system" before, you could introduce yourself, and explain a little bit about your didactic aims, you know, all that rationalising spelling stuff. You might find some takers....but I object a bit to your presenting it all as fact, when what it is is your own personal crusade to modify spelling and pronunciation. That's fine, and if it's what rocks your boat, then go ahead, but I think it's a bit disingenuous to proffer your stuff as something parents at UK primary schools whose children are getting to grips with phonics need to follow.)

JustBecauseICan Mon 23-Sep-13 11:06:31

decide [dI]
divide [dI]
indulge [In]
endure [en]


PS The de in decide and the di in divide aren't prefixes. Not unless the language has generated the verbs "to cide" and "to vide" over the weekend.

I rest my case.

Mashabell Mon 23-Sep-13 10:59:01

Show me where decide/divide/indulge/endure have a schwa Masha.

Despite your insulting tone, I'll try to put them into bold for u:
d*e*cide, d*i*vide, indulge, endure.
But as that does not always work for single letters on this system, I'll capitalise them as well:
dEcide, dIvide, Indulge, Endure.

MinnieMousse Mon 23-Sep-13 09:32:03

Look up the Jolly phonics songs on you tube

Lots of schools use these too.

SummerSevern Mon 23-Sep-13 07:27:29

Also have a look at

JustBecauseICan Mon 23-Sep-13 06:47:24

OP- lots of good reading schemes around, and lots of info on the primary threads.

JustBecauseICan Mon 23-Sep-13 06:45:53

Just when you thought it was safe to open a phonics thread, she's baaaaaaack.

Show me where decide/divide/indulge/endure have a schwa Masha. With reference to an acknowledged source like the Oxford English Dictionary not your own bizarre and totally arbitrary lists compiled according to the MashaBell Way Of Pronouncing English.

3birthdaybunnies Mon 23-Sep-13 06:38:48

Read Write Phonics app has proved popular with ds and seems to have quite a few of the two/three letter phenomes too. You have to pay a small amount for full access.

Mashabell Mon 23-Sep-13 06:33:29

Below is a list of the 44 English sounds and the different ways they can be spelt.
(The figures in brackets show how many of the 7,000 most used English words which I have analysed use that spelling - and how many spell it differently.)

1. a: cat – plait, meringue (466 – 3)
2. a-e: plate – wait, weight, straight, great, table dahlia, fete (338 – 69)
-ain: rain – lane, vein, reign, champagne (39 – 19)
-ay: play – they, weigh,ballet,cafe, matinee (35 – 20)
3. air: care – hair, bear, aerial, their, there, questionnaire (31-are – 27 other)
4. ar: car – are + (Southern Engl. bath) (138 – 1)
5. au: sauce – caught, bought,always, tall, crawl (44 au – 76 other)
-aw: saw – (0)- but in UK 11-aw + 40 awe, or, four, sore, war
6. b: bed (0)
7. ca/o/u: cat, cot, cut – character, kangaroo, queue (1022 – 33)
cr/cl: crab/ clot – chrome, chlorine (192 – 10)
-c: lilac –stomach, anorak (89 – 9)
-ck: neck –cheque, rec (62 – 6)
k: kite/ kept – chemistry (124 – 7)
-k: seek –unique (36 – 5)
-sk: risk –disc, mosque (86 – 10)
qu: quick – acquire, choir (78 – 4)
x: fix – accept, except, exhibit (98 – 15)

8. ch: chest – cello (155 – 1)
-tch: clutch – much (24 – 7)
9 d: dad – add, blonde (1,010 – 3)

10. e: end– head, any, said, Wednesday, friend, leisure,
leopard, bury (301 – 67)
11. er: her – turn, bird, learn, word, journey (70er – 124)
12. ee: eat– eel, even, ceiling, field, police,people,
me, key,ski, debris, quay (152ea – 304)
--y: jolly– trolley, movie, corgi (475 – 39)

13. f: fish– photo, stuff, rough (580 - 44)
14. g: garden– ghastly, guard (171– 28)
15. h: house– who (237 – 4)

16. i: ink– mystery, pretty, sieve, women, busy, build (421 – 53)
17. i-e: bite – might, style, mild, kind, eider, height, climb
island indict sign (278 – 76)
-y: my – high,pie, rye, buy, I, eye (17 – 14)

18. j: jam/ jog/ jug (0)
jelly, jig – gentle, ginger (18 – 20)
-ge: gorge (0)
-dg: fidget– digit (29 – 11)

19. l: last– llama (1,945 – 1)
20: m: mum– dumb, autumn (1,128 – 19)
21. n: nose– knot, gone, gnome, mnemonic (2,312 – 34)
22. -ng: ring (0) 22
23. o: on– cough, sausage, gone(357 – 5)
want – wont (19 – 1); quarrel– quod (10 -1)
24. o-e: mole – bowl, roll, soul; old – mould
boast, most, goes, mauve (171 – 100)
-o: no –toe, dough, sew, cocoa, pharaoh, oh, depot (106 – 59)
25. oi: oil– oyster (29 –1)
-oy: toy –buoy (12 – 1)
26. oo (long): food– rude, shrewd, move, group, fruit, truth, tomb,
blue, do, shoe,through, manoeuvre (94 – 108)

27. oo (short): good– would, put, woman, courier (15 -21)
28. or: order– board, court; wart, quart– worn, quorn (188 – 16)
-ore:more – soar, door, four, war, swore,abhor (23– 17)
+ (14 –aw/awe in UK)
29. ou: out– town (74 – 24);
-ow: now – plough (11 – 4)

30. p: pin (0)
31. r: rug– rhubarb, write (1,670 – 27)
32. s: sun – centre,scene (138 – 49)
-ce: face – case; fancy– fantasy (153 – 65)

33. sh: shop – chute, sure, moustache, liquorice (166 – 30)
-tion: ignition– mission, pension, suspicion,fashion (216 – 81)

34. t: tap, pet – pterodactyl, two, debt (1,398 – 4)
--te: delicate – democrat (52 – 3)

35. th (sharp): this (0)
36. th (soft): thing (0)

37. u: up– front, some, couple, blood (308 – 68)
38. u-e: cute – you,newt, neutral, suit, beauty, Tuesday, nuclear (137 – 21)
-ue: cue –few, view,menu (20– 22)

39. v: van (0)
-ve: have –spiv (116– 3) [80 with surplus –e]
-v-: river– chivvy (73 – 7) – v/vv after short vowel

40. w: window– which (216 – 31)
41. y: yak– use (31 – 11)
42. z: zip– xylophone (16 – 1)
-se: rose –froze (85– 33)
wise– size (UK 31 – 3, US 11 – 22)
43. zh: -si-/-su-: vision, measure – azure (20 – 3)

44. Unstressed, unclear vowel sound (or schwa),
occurring mainly in 8 endings and 2 prefixes:
-able: loveable– credible(33 – 17)
-ccle: bundle (2 consonants + -le for -l) (0)
-al: vertical– novel, anvil, petrol (200+ – 32)
-ary: ordinary– machinery, inventory, century,carpentry(37 – 55)
-en: fasten– abandon, truncheon, orphan, goblin, certain (73 – 132)
-ence: absence– balance (33 – 26)
-ent: absent – pleasant (176 – 58)
-er: father –author, armour, nectar, centre, injure,quota (UK 340, US 346 – 135/129)
butcher – picture (42 –ure)
de-: decide – divide (57 – 29)
in-: indulge – endure (73 – 30)

Masha Bell

Isthatwhatdemonsdo Sun 22-Sep-13 21:44:47

BBC alpha blocks does phonics.

Periwinkle007 Sun 22-Sep-13 21:38:14

Periwinkle007 Sun 22-Sep-13 21:38:04

Periwinkle007 Sun 22-Sep-13 21:09:00

erm our school gave us a link - give me a few minutes and I will find it

Euphemia Sun 22-Sep-13 20:58:29

Try the Jolly Phonics website - you can listen to them there.

smedrock Sun 22-Sep-13 20:38:08

Phonics...not army ! Though I might need that later...

smedrock Sun 22-Sep-13 20:36:38

Ah, no! First time in this corner. Thx for the tip--will look now

meditrina Sun 22-Sep-13 20:36:09

Do you mean phonics?

Or the international phonetic alphabet: alpha, bravo, charlie, delta, etc? (I can type out the rest of this is the one you mean).

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now