From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: International Phonetic Alphabet.

The Extended SAM Phonetic Alphabet (X-SAMPA) is a variant of SAMPA developed in 1995 by John C. Wells, professor of phonetics at the University of London. It was designed to unify the individual language SAMPA alphabets, and extend SAMPA to cover the entire range of characters in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

The result is a SAMPA-inspired recasting of the IPA into 7-bit ASCII.



  • The IPA symbols that are ordinary lower-case letters have the same value in X-SAMPA as they do in the IPA.
  • X-SAMPA uses a following backslash as an escape character to create a new symbol. For example O is a distinct sound from O\, to which it bears no relation. (Note that it is a convention among some conlangers to use an asterisk (e.g., O*) instead of backslash).
  • X-SAMPA diacritics follow the symbols they modify. Except for ~ for nasalization, = for syllabicity, and ` for retroflexion and rhotacization, diacritics are joined to the character with the underscore character _.
  • The underscore character is also used to encode the IPA tiebar.
  • The numbers _1 to _6 are reserved diacritics as shorthand for language-specific tone numbers.

Lowercase symbols[edit]

XS IPA IPA Description Examples
a a open front unrounded vowel French dame [dam], Spanish padre ["paD4e]
b b voiced bilabial plosive English bed [bEd], French bon [bO~]
b_< ɓ voiced bilabial implosive  
c c voiceless palatal plosive Hungarian latyak ["lAcAk]
d d voiced alveolar plosive English dig [dIg], French doigt [dwa]
d` ɖ voiced retroflex plosive Swedish hord [hu:d`]
d_< ɗ voiced alveolar implosive  
e e close-mid front unrounded vowel French ses [se]
f f voiceless labiodental fricative English five [faIv], French femme [fam]
g ɡ voiced velar plosive English game [geIm], French longue [lO~g]
g_< ɠ voiced velar implosive  
h h voiceless glottal fricative English house [haUs]
h\ ɦ voiced glottal fricative  
i i close front unrounded vowel English be [bi:], French oui [wi], Spanish si [si]
j j palatal approximant English yes [jEs], French yeux [j2]
j\ ʝ voiced palatal fricative Greek γειά [j\a]
k k voiceless velar plosive English cat [k{t], Spanish carro ["kar:o]
l l alveolar lateral approximant English lay [leI], French mal [mal]
l` ɭ retroflex lateral approximant Svealand Swedish sorl [so:l`]
l\ ɺ alveolar lateral flap Japanese phoneme /r/
m m bilabial nasal English mouse [maUs], French homme [Om]
n n alveolar nasal English nap [n{p], French non [nO~]
n` ɳ retroflex nasal Swedish hörn [h2:n`]
o o close-mid back rounded vowel French gros [gRo]
p p voiceless bilabial plosive English leap [li:p], French pose [poz], Spanish perro ["per:o]
p\ ɸ voiceless bilabial fricative Japanese fuku [p\M_0kM]
q q voiceless uvular plosive Arabic qasbah ["qQs_Gba]
r r alveolar trill Spanish perro ["per:o]
r` ɽ retroflex flap  
r\ ɹ alveolar approximant English red [r\Ed]
r\` ɻ retroflex approximant  
s s voiceless alveolar fricative English seem [si:m], French session [se"sjO~]
s` ʂ voiceless retroflex fricative Swedish mars [mas`]
s\ ɕ voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative Polish świerszcz [s\v'ErStS]
t t voiceless alveolar plosive English too [tu:], French raté [Ra"te], Spanish tuyo ["tujo]
t` ʈ voiceless retroflex plosive Swedish mört [m2t`]
u u close back rounded vowel English boom [bu:m], Spanish su [su]
v v voiced labiodental fricative English vest [vEst], French voix [vwa]
v\ (or P) ʋ labiodental approximant Dutch west [v\Est]/[PEst]
w w labial-velar approximant English west [wEst], French oui [wi]
x x voiceless velar fricative Scots loch [lQx]
x\ ɧ voiceless palatal-velar fricative Swedish sjal [x\A:l]
y y close front rounded vowel French tu [ty] German über ["y:b6]
z z voiced alveolar fricative English zoo [zu:], French azote [a"zOt]
z` ʐ voiced retroflex fricative  
z\ ʑ voiced alveolo-palatal fricative Polish źrebak ["z\rEbak]

Uppercase symbols[edit]

XS IPA IPA Description Example
A ɑ open back unrounded vowel English father ["fA:D@(r\)] (RP and Gen.Am.)
B β voiced bilabial fricative Spanish lavar [la"Ba4]
B\ ʙ bilabial trill Reminiscent of shivering ("brrr")
C ç voiceless palatal fricative German ich [IC], English human ["Cum@n] (broad transcription uses [hj-])
D ð voiced dental fricative English then [DEn]
E ɛ open-mid front unrounded vowel French même [mEm], English met [mEt]
F ɱ labiodental nasal English emphasis ["EFf@sIs] (spoken quickly, otherwise uses [Emf-])
G ɣ voiced velar fricative Greek γωνία [Go"nia], Danish vælge ["vElG@]
G\ ɢ voiced uvular plosive  
G\_< ʛ voiced uvular implosive  
H ɥ labial-palatal approximant French huit [Hi]
H\ ʜ voiceless epiglottal fricative  
I ɪ near-close near-front unrounded vowel English kit [kIt]
I\ Ɨ central lax close unrounded vowel, not in IPA  
J ɲ palatal nasal Spanish año ["aJo], English canyon ["k{J@n] (broad transcription uses [-nj-])
J\ ɟ voiced palatal plosive Hungarian egy [EJ\]
J\_< ʄ voiced palatal implosive  
K ɬ voiceless alveolar lateral fricative Welsh llaw [KaU_^]
K\ ɮ voiced alveolar lateral fricative  
L ʎ palatal lateral approximant Italian famiglia [fa"miLa], Castilian llamar [La"mar], English million ["mIL@n] (broad transcription uses [-lj-])
L\ ʟ velar lateral approximant English phoneme /5/
M ɯ close back unrounded vowel Korean (eu)
M\ ɰ velar approximant Spanish fuego ["fweM\o]
N ŋ velar nasal English thing [TIN]
N\ ɴ uvular nasal Japanese san [saN\]
O ɔ open-mid back rounded vowel British English thought [TO:t], American English off [O:f]
O\ ʘ bilabial click  
P (or v\) ʋ labiodental approximant Dutch west [PEst]/[v\Est], allophone of English phoneme /r\/
Q ɒ open back rounded vowel British English lot [lQt]
R ʁ voiced uvular fricative French roi [Rwa]
R\ ʀ uvular trill German phoneme /r/
S ʃ voiceless postalveolar fricative English ship [SIp]
T θ voiceless dental fricative English thin [TIn]
U ʊ near-close near-back rounded vowel English foot [fUt]
U\ ʊ̵ central lax close rounded vowel, not in IPA  
V ʌ open-mid back unrounded vowel English strut [str\Vt]
W ʍ voiceless labial-velar fricative Scots when [WEn]
X χ voiceless uvular fricative Welsh bach [baX]
X\ ħ voiceless pharyngeal fricative Arabic ha’ [X\?]
Y ʏ near-close near-front rounded vowel German hübsch [hYpS]
Z ʒ voiced postalveolar fricative English vision ["vIZ@n]

Other symbols[edit]

XS IPA IPA Description Example
. . syllable break  
" ˈ primary stress  
% ˌ secondary stress  
' (or _j) ʲ palatalized  
: ː long  
:\ ˑ half long Estonian differentiates three vowel lengths
-     separator  
@ ə schwa English arena [@"r`i:n@]
@\ ɘ close-mid central unrounded vowel  
{ æ near-open front unrounded vowel English trap [tr\{p]
} ʉ close central rounded vowel Swedish sju [x\}:]
1 ɨ close central unrounded vowel Welsh tu [t1], American English rose's ["r\oUz1z]
2 ø close-mid front rounded vowel Danish købe ["k2:b@], French deux [d2]
3 ɜ open-mid central unrounded vowel English nurse [n3:s] (RP) or [n3`s] (Gen.Am.)
3\ ɞ open-mid central rounded vowel  
4 ɾ alveolar flap Spanish pero ["pe4o], American English better ["bE4@`]
5 ɫ velarized alveolar lateral approximant; also see _e English milk [mI5k]
6 ɐ near-open central vowel German besser ["bEs6], Australian English mud [m6d]
7 ɤ close-mid back unrounded vowel Estonian kõik [k7ik], Occurs in Vietnamese
8 ɵ close-mid central rounded vowel Swedish buss [b8s]
9 œ open-mid front rounded vowel French neuf [n9f], Danish drømme [dR9m@]
& ɶ open front rounded vowel
? ʔ glottal stop Danish stød [sd2?], Cockney English bottle ["bQ?l]
?\ ʕ voiced pharyngeal fricative Arabic ayn
*     undefined escape character, SAMPA's "conjunctor", used by some conlangers instead of \  
/     indeterminacy in French vowels  
<     begin nonsegmental notation (eg. SAMPROSA)  
<\ ʢ voiced epiglottal fricative  
>     end nonsegmental notation  
>\ ʡ epiglottal plosive  
^ upstep  
! downstep  
!\ ǃ postalveolar click  
| | minor (foot) group  
|\ ǀ dental click  
|| major (intonation) group  
|\|\ ǁ lateral alveolar click  
=\ ǂ palatal click  
-\ ̮ linking mark  


XS IPA IPA Description
_"   ̈ centralized
_+   ̟ advanced
_-   ̠ retracted
_/ ˇ rising tone
_0   ̥ voiceless
_<     implosive (IPA uses separate symbols for implosives)
= (or _=)   ̩ syllabic
_> ʼ ejective
_?\ ˤ pharyngealized
_\ ˆ   falling tone
_^   ̯ non-syllabic
_}   ̚ no audible release
` ˞ rhotacization in vowels, retroflexion in consonants (IPA uses separate symbols for consonants, see t` for an example)
~ (or _~)   ̃ nasalization
_A   ̘ advanced tongue root
_a   ̺ apical
_B   ̏ extra low tone
_B_L   low rising tone
_c   ̜ less rounded
_d   ̪ dental
_e   ̴ velarized or pharyngealized; also see 5
<F>   global fall
_F   ̂ falling tone
_G ˠ velarized
_H   ́ high tone
_H_T   high rising tone
_h ʰ aspirated
_j (or ') ʲ palatalized
_k   ̰ creaky voice
_L   ̀ low tone
_l ˡ lateral release
_M   ̄ mid tone
_m   ̻ laminal
_N   ̼ linguolabial
_n nasal release
_O   ̹ more rounded
_o   ̞ lowered
_q   ̙ retracted tongue root
<R>   global rise
_R   ̌ rising tone
_R_F   rising falling tone
_r   ̝ raised
_T   ̋ extra high tone
_t   ̤ breathy voice
_v   ̬ voiced
_w ʷ labialized
_X   ̆ extra-short
_x   ̽ mid-centralized

See also[edit]