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The Phonetic Chart

What is the Phonetic chart?

The Phonetic Chart shows all the sounds of English. There are 44 symbols. Here they are:


Many teachers dont want to use the phonetic chart because it looks

really scary!!!

The answer to this problem is to introduce only some symbols at first, practice and learn these, then
introduce some more. In this way you and your children will gain confidence using them.
Look at the Teaching Tips downloadable document for a list of example words for all the phonetic
What are the advantages of using phonetic symbols?
o Studies have shown that children are very receptive to learning the sounds of a foreign
language. Introducing phonetic symbols at an early age will help prevent bad pronunciation
habits from forming.
o A knowledge of phonetic symbols means that children can use a dictionary to find the
pronunciation of words. This will make them more independent learners.
o The symbols are highly visual, which is an aid to learning and teaching. It is very easy for you
to correct pronunciation using the symbols. Children can see the difference between two words
very clearly (e.g. /ri:d/ and /red/).
o Using the symbols regularly in classroom activities will help you to learn them.

So how do I choose which symbols to introduce first?

Start by introducing the sounds which cause the most difficulty for Arabic speakers. Here they are.
o These vowel sounds are often confused:

(as in bit)

(as in bet)

(as in dot)

(as in door)

o These consonant sounds are often confused:

(as in pay)

(as in buy)

This leads to spelling mistakes, e.g. hoppy (instead of hobby), byramid (instead of pyramid).

(as in ferry)

(as in very)

o Some sounds are very difficult to pronounce:

(as in thing)

These are 9 symbols. Only 35 more after you have learnt these! But remember that 16 of the
consonant symbols look and sound the same as English letters; p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, s, z, m, n, h, l, w.
If you try some of the activities on the next page youll begin to learn the symbols in no time at all!