American English



This site illustrates the main phonetic features of American English using snippets of speech extracted from actual conversations. The variety of American English illustrated here is spoken in Columbus, Ohio. The recordings come from the Buckeye Corprpus of conversational speech. Many thanks to the Linguistics Department at the University of California, Berkeley for hosting this site.

Intonation patterns

  1. Declarative Fall
  2. Declarative Fall, further practice
  3. Question Rise
  4. Uncertainty contour
  5. List/continuation
  6. List/continuation, further practice
  7. Truncated
  8. Comparing different intonation contours


  1. The tense vowels [i] [] [ɑ] [] [u]
  2. The lax vowels [ɪ] [ɛ] [æ] [ɔ] [ʊ]
  3. Diphthongs [] [] [ɔɪ]
  4. The Rhotic vowel [ɚ]
  5. Practice your IPA transcription

Word Stress patterns

  1. Two syllable words - 10, 12, 11, 01
  2. Comparisons - two syllable words
  3. Three syllable words - 100, 102, 010
  4. Comparisons - three syllable words
  5. Four syllable words - 1020, 0100, 2010
  6. Comparisons - four syllable words
  7. Five syllables - 20100 pattern
  8. Reduced unstressed syllables
  9. Word Stress self-test


  1. Stops [b] [d] [ɡ],   [p] [t] [k],   [ʧ] [ʤ],   [ʔ]
  2. Fricatives [f] [θ] [s] [ʃ] [h],   [v] [ð] [z] [ʒ]
  3. Approximants [w] [j] [ɹ] [l]
  4. Nasals [m] [n] [ŋ] Syllabic Consonants
  5. Practice your IPA transcription


  1. Here is a Pronouncing Dictionary of 16,000 words of English
  2. A list of practice passages - .pdf .odt .doc
  3. The audio clips in this web page are from: Pitt, M.A., Dilley, L., Johnson, K., Kiesling, S., Raymond, W., Hume, E. and Fosler-Lussier, E. (2007) Buckeye Corpus of Conversational Speech (2nd release) Columbus, OH: Department of Psychology, Ohio State University (Distributor).
  4. Donate to the UC Berkeley Linguistics Annual Fund to help support the hosting of this site.
  5. Interested in Phonetics? Check out Phonwork.

© 2011 Keith Johnson & Erin Diehm