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Arpabet is a phonetic transcription code developed by Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) as a part of their Speech Understanding Project (1971–1976). It represents each phoneme of General American English with a distinct sequence of ASCII characters. Arpabet has been used in several speech synthesizers, including Computalker for the S-100 (Altair) system, SAM for the Commodore 64, SAY for the Amiga and TextAssist for the PC and Speakeasy from Intelligent Artefacts (see ST_Robotics) which used the Votrax SC01 speech synthesiser IC. It is also used in the CMU Pronouncing Dictionary.


In Arpabet, every phoneme is represented by one or two capital letters. Digits are used as stress indicators and are placed at the end of the stressed syllabic vowel. Punctuation marks are used like in the written language, to represent intonation changes at the end of clauses and sentences. The stress values are:


Value Description
0 No stress
1 Primary stress
2 Secondary stress


Arpabet IPA Word examples
AO ɔ off (AO1 F); fall (F AO1 L); frost (F R AO1 S T)
AA ɑ father (F AA1 DH ER), cot (K AA1 T)
IY i bee (B IY1); she (SH IY1)
UW u you (Y UW1); new (N UW1); food (F UW1 D)
EH ɛ red (R EH1 D); men (M EH1 N)
IH ɪ big (B IH1 G); win (W IH1 N)
UH ʊ should (SH UH1 D), could (K UH1 D)
AH ʌ but (B AH1 T), sun (S AH1 N)
ə sofa (S OW1 F AH0), alone (AH0 L OW1 N)
AX discus (D IH1 S K AX0 S); note distinction from discuss (D IH0 S K AH1 S)
AE æ at (AE1 T); fast (F AE1 S T)
Arpabet IPA Word Examples
EY say (S EY1); eight (EY1 T)
AY my (M AY1); why (W AY1); ride (R AY1 D)
OW show (SH OW1); coat (K OW1 T)
AW how (HH AW1); now (N AW1)
OY ɔɪ boy (B OY1); toy (T OY1)
R-colored vowels
Arpabet IPA Word Examples
ER ɝ her (HH ER0); bird (B ER1 D); hurt (HH ER1 T), nurse (N ER1 S)
AXR ɚ father (F AA1 DH ER); coward (K AW1 ER D)
EH R ɛr air (EH1 R); where (W EH1 R); hair (HH EH1 R)
UH R ʊr cure (K Y UH1 R); bureau (B Y UH1 R OW0), deter (D IH0 T UH1 R)
AO R ɔr more (M AO1 R); bored (B AO1 R D); chord (K AO1 R D)
AA R ɑr large (L AA1 R JH); hard (HH AA1 R D)
IH R or IY R ɪr ear (IY1 R); near (N IH1 R)
AW R aʊr This seems to be a rarely used r-controlled vowel. In some dialects flower (F L AW1 R; in other dialects F L AW1 ER0)


Arpabet IPA Word Examples
P p pay (P EY1)
B b buy (B AY1)
T t take (T EY1 K)
D d day (D EY1)
K k key (K IY1)
G ɡ go (G OW1)
Arpabet IPA Word Examples
CH chair (CH EH1 R)
JH just (JH AH1 S T); gym (JH IH1 M)
Arpabet IPA Word Examples
F f for (F AO1 R)
V v very (V EH1 R IY0)
TH θ thanks (TH AE1 NG K S); Thursday (TH ER1 Z D EY2)
DH ð that (DH AE1 T); the (DH AH0); them (DH EH1 M)
S s say (S EY1)
Z z zoo (Z UW1)
SH ʃ show (SH OW1)
ZH ʒ measure (M EH1 ZH ER0); pleasure (P L EH1 ZH ER)
HH h house (HH AW1 S)
Arpabet IPA Word Examples
M m man (M AE1 N)
EM keep 'em (K IY1 P EM)
N n no (N OW1)
EN button (B AH1 T EN)
NG ŋ sing (S IH1 NG)
ENG ŋ̍ Washington (W AO1 SH ENG T EN)
Arpabet IPA Word Examples
L ɫ late (L EY1 T)
EL ɫ̩ bottle (B AO1 DX EL)
R r or ɹ run (R AH1 N)
DX ɾ wetter (W EH1 DX AXR)
NX ɾ̃ wintergreen (W IY2 NX AXR G R IY1 N)
Arpabet IPA Word Examples
Y j yes (Y EH1 S)
W w way (W EY1)
Q ʔ glottal stop (uh-oh - ʔʌʔoʊ)
(missing) hw or ʍ "when" etc. in some dialects


See also

Other ASCII phonetic codes: