English Vowel Sounds Chart

Although there are only 5 vowel letters in English, there are actually 15 unique vowel sounds. This chart shows all those vowel sounds according to their standard North American pronunciation. See also: Consonant Sounds Chart

North American
Dictionary Symbol

Phonetic Alphabet

Example word
with main spelling

Example word(s)
with alternate spellings

Short a

a æ hat

Long a

ā ei hate

rain, say, steak, they, eight, vein, straight

Short e

e ɛ pet

bread, said

Long e

ē i: Pete

meet, meat, chief, he, key, sunny

Short i

i ɪ kit


Long i

ī ɑi kite

lied, wild, night, height, fly

Short o

o ɑ hop

fraud, law, talk, father, fought, taught

Long o

ō ou hope

toe, boat, most, grow, though, soul

Short u

u u cut

touch, some, about

Long u

ū ɪu: cute

cue, pupil, few

Short oo

oo ʊ book

would, bush

Long oo

ōō u: boot

blue, new, suit, flute, soup, shoe, do, through


oy oi boy



ow ɑu cow

out, drought


ir ɹ bird

turn, work, syrup, dollar, faster, learn

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