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The Extended Speech Assessment Methods 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 is designed to unify the individual language SAMPA alphabets, and extend SAMPA to cover the entire range of characters in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The result is a SAMPA-inspired remapping of the IPA into 7-bit ASCII.

SAMPA was devised as a hack to work around the inability of text encodings to represent IPA symbols. Later, as Unicode support for IPA symbols became more widespread, the necessity for a separate, computer-readable system for representing the IPA in ASCII decreased. However, X-SAMPA is still useful as the basis for an input method for true IPA.



  • 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 backslashes as modifying suffixes to create new symbols. For example O is a distinct sound from O\, to which it bears no relation. Such use of the backslash character can be a problem, since many programs interpret it as an escape character for the character following it. For example, you cannot use such X-SAMPA symbols in EMU, therefore you need to replace backslash with some other symbol (e.g. an asterisk: '*') when adding phonemic transcription to an EMU speech database.
  • 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.clarification needed
  • The numbers _1 to _6 are reserved diacritics as shorthand for language-specific tone numbers.

Lower case symbols

X-SAMPA IPA IPA image Description Examples
a a Xsampa-a.png open front unrounded vowel French dame dam, Spanish padre "paD4e
b b Xsampa-b.png voiced bilabial plosive English bed bEd, French bon bO~
b_< ɓ Xsampa-b lessthan.png voiced bilabial implosive Sindhi ɓarʊ b_<arU
c c Xsampa-c.png voiceless palatal plosive Hungarian latyak "lQcQk
d d Xsampa-d.png voiced alveolar plosive English dig dIg, French doigt dwa
d` ɖ Xsampa-d'.png voiced retroflex plosive Swedish hord hu:d`
d_< ɗ Xsampa-d lessthan.png voiced alveolar implosive Sindhi ɗarʊ d_<arU
e e Xsampa-e.png close-mid front unrounded vowel French ses se, English met met (AusE and NZE)
f f Xsampa-f2.png voiceless labiodental fricative English five faIv, French femme fam
g ɡ Xsampa-g.png voiced velar plosive English game geIm, French longue lO~g
g_< ɠ Xsampa-g lessthan.png voiced velar implosive Sindhi ɠəro g_<@ro
h h Xsampa-h.png voiceless glottal fricative English house haUs
h\ ɦ Xsampa-hslash.png voiced glottal fricative Czech hrad h\rat
i i Xsampa-i.png close front unrounded vowel English be bi:, French oui wi, Spanish si si
j j Xsampa-j2.png palatal approximant English yes jEs, French yeux j2
j\ ʝ Xsampa-jslash2.png voiced palatal fricative Greek γειά j\a
k k Xsampa-k.png voiceless velar plosive English scat sk{t, Spanish carro "kar:o
l l Xsampa-l.png alveolar lateral approximant English lay leI, French mal mal
l` ɭ Xsampa-l'.png retroflex lateral approximant Svealand Swedish sorl so:l`
l\ ɺ Xsampa-lslash.png alveolar lateral flap Japanese rakuten l\akM_0teN\
m m Xsampa-m.png bilabial nasal English mouse maUs, French homme Om
n n Xsampa-n.png alveolar nasal English nap n{p, French non nO~
n` ɳ Xsampa-n'.png retroflex nasal Swedish hörn h2:n`
o o Xsampa-o.png close-mid back rounded vowel French gros gRo
p p Xsampa-p.png voiceless bilabial plosive English speak spik, French pose poz, Spanish perro "per:o
p\ ɸ Xsampa-pslash.png voiceless bilabial fricative Japanese fuku p\M_0kM
q q Xsampa-q.png voiceless uvular plosive Arabic qasbah "qQs_Gba
r r Xsampa-r.png alveolar trill Spanish perro "per:o
r` ɽ Xsampa-r'.png retroflex flap  
r\ ɹ Xsampa-rslash2.png alveolar approximant English red r\Ed
r\` ɻ Xsampa-rslash'.png retroflex approximant Malayalam വഴി "v6r\`i
s s Xsampa-s.png voiceless alveolar fricative English seem si:m, French session se"sjO~
s` ʂ Xsampa-s'.png voiceless retroflex fricative Swedish mars mas`
s\ ɕ Xsampa-sslash.png voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative Polish świerszcz s\v'erStS
t t Xsampa-t.png voiceless alveolar plosive English stew stju:, French raté Ra"te, Spanish tuyo "tujo
t` ʈ Xsampa-t'.png voiceless retroflex plosive Swedish mört m2t`
u u Xsampa-u.png close back rounded vowel English boom bu:m, Spanish su su
v v Xsampa-v.png voiced labiodental fricative English vest vEst, French voix vwa
v\ (or P) ʋ Xsampa-Porvslash.png labiodental approximant Dutch west v\Est/PEst
w w Xsampa-w2.png labial-velar approximant English west wEst, French oui wi
x x Xsampa-x.png voiceless velar fricative Scots loch lOx or 5Ox; German Buch, Dach; Spanish caja, gestión
x\ ɧ Xsampa-xslash2.png voiceless palatal-velar fricative Swedish sjal x\A:l
y y Xsampa-y.png close front rounded vowel French tu ty German über "y:b6
z z Xsampa-z.png voiced alveolar fricative English zoo zu:, French azote a"zOt
z` ʐ Xsampa-z'.png voiced retroflex fricative Mandarin Chinese rang z`aN
z\ ʑ Xsampa-zslash.png voiced alveolo-palatal fricative Polish źrebak "z\rEbak

Capital symbols

X-SAMPA IPA IPA image Description Example
A ɑ Xsampa-A2.png open back unrounded vowel English father "fA:D@(r\)] (RP and Gen.Am.)
B β Xsampa-B2.png voiced bilabial fricative Spanish lavar la"Ba4
B\ ʙ Xsampa-Bslash.png bilabial trill Reminiscent of shivering ("brrr")
C ç Xsampa-C2.png voiceless palatal fricative German ich IC, English human "Cjum@n (broad transcription uses hj-])
D ð Xsampa-D2.png voiced dental fricative English then DEn
E ɛ Xsampa-E2.png open-mid front unrounded vowel French même mEm, English met mEt (RP and Gen.Am.)
F ɱ Xsampa-F.png labiodental nasal English emphasis "EFf@sIs (spoken quickly, otherwise uses Emf-])
G ɣ Xsampa-G2.png voiced velar fricative Greek γωνία Go"nia, Danish vælge "vElG@
G\ ɢ Xsampa-Gslash.png voiced uvular plosive Inuktitut nirivvik niG\ivvik
G\_< ʛ Xsampa-Gslash lessthan.png voiced uvular implosive Mam ʛa G\_<a
H ɥ Xsampa-H.png labial-palatal approximant French huit Hit
H\ ʜ Xsampa-Hslash.png voiceless epiglottal fricative  
I ɪ Xsampa-I2.png near-close near-front unrounded vowel English kit kIt
I\ or ɪ̈   near-close central unrounded vowel Polish ryba rI\bA 
J ɲ Xsampa-J.png palatal nasal Spanish año "aJo, English canyon "k{J@n (broad transcription uses [-nj-])
J\ ɟ Xsampa-Jslash.png voiced palatal plosive Hungarian egy EJ\
J\_< ʄ Xsampa-Jslash lessthan.png voiced palatal implosive Sindhi ʄaro J\_<aro
K ɬ Xsampa-K2.png voiceless alveolar lateral fricative Welsh llaw KaU
K\ ɮ Xsampa-Kslash.png voiced alveolar lateral fricative  
L ʎ Xsampa-L2.png palatal lateral approximant Italian famiglia fa"miLLa, Castilian llamar La"mar, English million "mIL@n (broad transcription uses [-lj-])
L\ ʟ Xsampa-Lslash.png velar lateral approximant
M ɯ Xsampa-M.png close back unrounded vowel Korean (eu)
M\ ɰ Xsampa-Mslash.png velar approximant Spanish fuego "fweM\o
N ŋ Xsampa-N2.png velar nasal English thing TIN
N\ ɴ Xsampa-Nslash.png uvular nasal Japanese san saN\
O ɔ Xsampa-O2.png open-mid back rounded vowel RP thought TO:t, American English off O:f
O\ ʘ Xsampa-Oslash.png bilabial click  
P (or v\) ʋ Xsampa-Porvslash.png labiodental approximant Dutch west PEst/v\Est, allophone of English phoneme /r\/
Q ɒ Xsampa-Q.png open back rounded vowel RP lot lQt
R ʁ Xsampa-R2.png voiced uvular fricative German rein RaIn
R\ ʀ Xsampa-Rslash.png uvular trill French roi R\wa
S ʃ Xsampa-S2.png voiceless postalveolar fricative English ship SIp
T θ Xsampa-T2.png voiceless dental fricative English thin TIn
U ʊ Xsampa-U2.png near-close near-back rounded vowel English foot fUt
U\ ᵿ or ʊ̈ Xsampa-Uslash.png near-close central rounded vowel English euphoria jU\"fO@r\i@
V ʌ Xsampa-V.png open-mid back unrounded vowel RP English strut str\Vt
W ʍ Xsampa-X.png voiceless labial-velar fricative Scots when WEn
X χ Xsampa-x2.png voiceless uvular fricative Klallam sχaʔqʷaʔ sXa?q_wa?
X\ ħ Xsampa-Xslash.png voiceless pharyngeal fricative Arabic <ح>ha’ X\A:
Y ʏ Xsampa-Y2.png near-close near-front rounded vowel German hübsch hYpS
Z ʒ Xsampa-Z2.png voiced postalveolar fricative English vision "vIZ@n

Other symbols

X-SAMPA IPA IPA image Description Example
. . Xsampa-fullstop.png syllable break  
" ˈ Xsampa-doublequotes.png primary stress  
% ˌ Xsampa-percentage.png secondary stress  
' (or _j) ʲ Xsampa-'or j.png palatalized  
: ː Xsampa-colon.png long  
:\ ˑ Xsampa-colonslash.png half long Estonian differentiates three vowel lengths
-   separator Polish trzy t-S1 vs. czy tS1 (affricate)
@ ə Xsampa-at.png schwa English arena @"r\i:n@
@\ ɘ Xsampa-atslash.png close-mid central unrounded vowel Paicĩ kɘ̄ɾɘ k@\_M4@\_M
{ æ Xsampa-leftcurly.png near-open front unrounded vowel English trap tr\{p
} ʉ Xsampa-rightcurly.png close central rounded vowel Swedish sju x\}:; AuE/NZE boot b}:t
1 ɨ Xsampa-1.png close central unrounded vowel Welsh tu t1, American English rose's "r\oUz1z
2 ø Xsampa-2.png close-mid front rounded vowel Danish købe "k2:b@, French deux d2
3 ɜ Xsampa-3.png open-mid central unrounded vowel English nurse n3:s (RP) or n3`s (Gen.Am.)
3\ ɞ Xsampa-3slash.png open-mid central rounded vowel Irish tomhailt3\:l'
4 ɾ Xsampa-4.png alveolar flap Spanish pero "pe4o, American English better "bE4@`
5 ɫ Xsampa-l eor5.png velarized alveolar lateral approximant; also see _e English milk mI5k, Portuguese livro "5iv4u
6 ɐ Xsampa-6.png near-open central vowel German besser "bEs6, Australian English mud m6d
7 ɤ Xsampa-7.png close-mid back unrounded vowel Estonian kõik k7ik, Vietnamese mơ m7_M
8 ɵ Xsampa-8.png close-mid central rounded vowel Swedish buss b8s
9 œ Xsampa-9.png open-mid front rounded vowel French neuf n9f, Danish drømme dR9m@
& ɶ Xsampa-amper.png open front rounded vowel Swedish skörd x\&d`
? ʔ Xsampa-questionmark.png glottal stop Danish stød sd2?, Cockney English bottle "bQ?l
?\ ʕ Xsampa-qmarkslash.png voiced pharyngeal fricative Arabic ع (`ayn) ?\Ajn
*   undefined escape character, SAMPA's "conjunctor"  
/   indeterminacy in French vowels  
<   begin nonsegmental notation (e.g., SAMPROSA)  
<\ ʢ Xsampa-lessthanslash.png voiced epiglottal fricative  
>   end nonsegmental notation  
>\ ʡ Xsampa-greaterthanslash.png epiglottal plosive  
^ Xsampa-hat.png upstep  
! Xsampa-exclamation.png downstep  
!\ ǃ Xsampa-exclamationslash.png postalveolar click  
| | Xsampa-bar.png minor (foot) group  
|\ ǀ Xsampa-barslash.png dental click  
|| Xsampa-doublebar.png major (intonation) group  
|\|\ ǁ Xsampa-doublebarslash.png alveolar lateral click  
=\ ǂ Xsampa-equalsslash.png palatal click  
-\ Xsampa-dashslash.png linking mark  


X-SAMPA IPA IPA image Description
_"   ̈ Xsampa- doublequotes.png centralized
_+   ̟ Xsampa- plus.png advanced
_-   ̠ Xsampa- minus.png retracted
_/ ̌ Xsampa- slash.png rising tone
_0   ̥ Xsampa- 0.png voiceless
_<   implosive (IPA uses separate symbols for implosives)
= (or _=)   ̩ Xsampa-equalsor equals.png syllabic
_> ʼ Xsampa- greaterthan.png ejective
_?\ ˤ Xsampa- questionslash.png pharyngealized
_\ ̂   falling tone
_^   ̯ Xsampa- hat.png non-syllabic
_}   ̚ Xsampa- rightcurly.png no audible release
` ˞ Xsampa-'rhino.png rhotacization in vowels, retroflexion in consonants (IPA uses separate symbols for consonants, see t` for an example)
~ (or _~)   ̃ Xsampa-tildor tild.png nasalization
_A   ̘ Xsampa- A.png advanced tongue root
_a   ̺ Xsampa- a2.png apical
_B   ̏ Xsampa- B.png extra low tone
_B_L  ᷅ Xsampa- B L.png low rising tone
_c   ̜ Xsampa- c.png less rounded
_d   ̪ Xsampa- d.png dental
_e   ̴ Xsampa- e.png velarized or pharyngealized; also see 5
<F> Xsampa-ltFgt.png global fall
_F   ̂ Xsampa- F.png falling tone
_G ˠ Xsampa- G.png velarized
_H   ́ Xsampa- H.png high tone
_H_T  ᷄ Xsampa- H T.png high rising tone
_h ʰ Xsampa- h.png aspirated
_j (or ') ʲ Xsampa-'or j.png palatalized
_k   ̰ Xsampa- k.png creaky voice
_L   ̀ Xsampa- L.png low tone
_l ˡ Xsampa- l.png lateral release
_M   ̄ Xsampa- M.png mid tone
_m   ̻ Xsampa- m.png laminal
_N   ̼ Xsampa- N.png linguolabial
_n Xsampa- n2.png nasal release
_O   ̹ Xsampa O.png more rounded
_o   ̞ Xsampa- o.png lowered
_q   ̙ Xsampa- q.png retracted tongue root
<R> Xsampa-ltRgt.png global rise
_R   ̌ Xsampa- R.png rising tone
_R_F  ᷈ Xsampa- R F.png rising falling tone
_r   ̝ Xsampa- r.png raised
_T   ̋ Xsampa- T.png extra high tone
_t   ̤ Xsampa- t.png breathy voice
_v   ̬ Xsampa- v.png voiced
_w ʷ Xsampa- w.png labialized
_X   ̆ Xsampa- X.png extra-short
_x   ̽ Xsampa- x.png mid-centralized



Consonants (pulmonic)
Place of articulation Labial Coronal Dorsal Radical (none)
Manner of articulation Bilabial Labio‐
Dental Alveolar Post‐
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyn‐
Nasal    m    F    n    n`    J    N    N\  
Plosive p b p_d b_d t d t` d` c J\ k g q G\   >\ ?  
Fricative p\ B f v T D s z S Z s` z` C j\ x G X R X\ ?\ H\ <\ h h\
Approximant    B_o    v\    r\    r\`    j    M\      
Trill    B\    r    *    R\    *  
Tap or Flap    *    *    4    r`          *  
Lateral Fricative K K\ *    *    *       
Lateral Approximant    l    l`    L    L\  
Lateral Flap      l\    *    *    *    
  • Daggers (†) mark IPA symbols that have recently been added to Unicode. Since April 2008, this is the case of the labiodental flap, symbolized by a right-hook v in the IPA: Labiodental flap A dedicated symbol for the labiodental flap does not yet exist in X-SAMPA.
W Voiceless labialized velar approximant
w Voiced labialized velar approximant
H Voiced labialized palatal approximant
s\ Voiceless palatalized postalveolar (alveolo-palatal) fricative
z\ Voiced palatalized postalveolar (alveolo-palatal) fricative
x\ Voiceless "palatal-velar" fricative
Affricates and double articulation
ts voiceless alveolar affricate
dz voiced alveolar affricate
tS voiceless postalveolar affricate
dZ voiced postalveolar affricate
ts\ voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate
dz\ voiced alveolo-palatal affricate
tK voiceless alveolar lateral affricate
kp voiceless labial-velar plosive
gb voiced labial-velar plosive
Nm labial-velar nasal stop
Consonants (non-pulmonic)
Clicks Implosives Ejectives
O\ Bilabial b_< Bilabial _> For example:
|\ Laminal alveolar ("dental") d_< Alveolar p_> Bilabial
ǃ\ Apical (post-) alveolar ("retroflex") J\_< Palatal t_> Alveolar
=\ Laminal postalveolar ("palatal") g_< Velar k_> Velar
|\|\ Lateral coronal ("lateral") G\_< Uvular s_> Alveolar fricative


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
i • y
1 • }
M • u
I • Y
I\ • U\
• U
e • 2
@\ • 8
7 • o
E • 9
3 • 3\
V • O
{ •
a • &
A • Q

See also


External links

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