Help:IPA/Australian languages

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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents pronunciations of most Australian Aboriginal languages in Wikipedia articles. Only a few languages on the continent have sounds not in the tables below. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see {{IPA-aus}} and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

IPA English approximation
, b spy, by[1]
, d stool, do[1][2]
d̪̥, width[1][2]
ɖ̥, ɖ strudle, drew[1][3]
ɡ̊, ɡ sky, guy[1]
ɟ̊, ɟ dew (UK), Jew[1][4]
j yes
l[2] lose
[2] wealth
ɭ heirloom[3]
ʎ million, (UK) lewd[4]
m mother
n[2] noose
[2] tenth
ɳ Arnold[3]
ɲ canyon, (UK) new[4]
ŋ sing
r Spanish Río
ɾ setting (US), bury (Scots)
ɹ red
ɽ barter (US)[3]
ɻ red (some Irish or West Country dialects; pronounced with rounded lips)
w water
IPA English approximation
a father
e bade[5]
ə sofa
i, ɪ see, sit[5]
o bore[5]
u, ʊ food, foot[5]
ː (long vowel)


  1. ^ a b c d e f The sounds [b̥ d̪̥ d̥ ɖ̥ ɟ̊ ɡ̊] are often pronounced tenuis, like spy, sty, stew/chew, sky (like French or Spanish p, t, tch/ch, k) at the beginnings of words, and voiced, like buy, die, dew/Jew, guy between vowels, but that is variable, and the distinction is not meaningful in almost all Australian languages.
  2. ^ a b c d e f The plain consonants [d̥ l n] are like English sty, noose, lose, with the tip of the tongue touching the gums, and the consonants with the 'bridge' under them, [d̪̥ l̪ n̪], are like t n l in French or Spanish, with the tip of the tongue touching the teeth and its upper surface touching the gums, giving them a light sound. The alveolardental distinction is very important in most Australian languages.
  3. ^ a b c d The consonants with a 'tail', [ɖ̥ ɭ ɳ ɽ], are pronounced with the tonɡue curled back, which gives them a dark "r"-like retroflex quality
  4. ^ a b c The consonants [ɟ̊ ʎ ɲ] are pronounced with a y-like quality. English dy, ly, ny are similar.
  5. ^ a b c d The vowels i and u typically vary across [i] ~ [ɪ] ~ [e] and [u] ~ [ʊ] ~ [o], respectively. However, a few Australian languages distinguish both sounds.
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