LINGUIST List 12.1797

Thu Jul 12 2001

Sum: Phonetically Organised Dictionary

Editor for this issue: Lydia Grebenyova <>


  1. Sue Sherman, Phonetically Organised Dictionary

Message 1: Phonetically Organised Dictionary

Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 12:19:53 +0100
From: Sue Sherman <>
Subject: Phonetically Organised Dictionary

For Query : Linguist 12.1689

Dear All

Many thanks to all of you who kindly replied to my request for information
on a phonetically organised dictionary. Below are the replies I received:


In response to your Linguist List query here are two dictionaries for
English available from the web. I've used Beep quite a lot in drawing up
stimuli word list. Learning the format for queries required some patience
and repitition and some of the words returned are rather obscure, so you
might want to go somewhere else to check frequencies if this is important
for you.

(this is mostly British English)
and the C(entral) M(ichigan) U(niversity) Pronunciation dictionary
(American English)
There are several rhyming dictionaries on the web which I've also found
helpful at times:

I don't know of any non web based phonetic dictionaries but I do use the
Penguin Rhyming Dictionary By Rosalind Fergusson quite a lot.


I'm not sure what you mean by phonetically *organised*, but I know several
of word lists/dictionaries which provide phonetic transcriptions for each
word. The MRC Psycholinguistics Dictionary includes a phonetic transcription
for each lexical entry, so that might be useful for you. It's freely
available to download from the Oxford Text Archive. There is also a huge
word list with phonetic transcriptions from the Moby Project at Sheffield
University's department of Computer Science. You might also search the
Carnegie-Mellon University Artificial Intelligence Archive for phonetically
transcribed word English lists. I haven't the URLs for any of these places
to hand, but you should find them easily by searching on the web. I think
one of the eletronic Oxford Dictionaries also includes phonetic


There is an Ivrit-English Dictionary which lists the IVRIT words
phonetically, not orthographically. This is very good for beginners in
Ivrit ('Israeli Hebrew') as the orthography of Ivrit does not include a
one-to-one correlation between signs and sounds, let alone the problem of


I assume you are interested in British-English
pronunciations, so I'd suggest using the CELEX database (this is what Anne
Cutler, James McQueen, Dennis Norris and the other folks at Max Plank
usually use). I have not used it, but I believe it has phonological as well
as orthographic entries.


I'm not sure what you have in mind, now how big or comprehensive a
dictionary you need, but

contains a database of English monosyllabic words ordered by initial
consonant cluster (and secondarily by rime, i.e, nuclear vowel + syllabic
coda). The database file (MONOSYL.DAT) is pure ASCII, one entry per line,
headed by the orthographic spelling, so you could just strip the first
column and have the sorted word list.

 You can get more information from the README file, at


The title is "A Phonetic Key to the Spelling of English", the author is
George Kutash, and the publisher is
the University of New England Press (Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia). The
dictionary has approx thirty thousand entries.

The entries are listed in a IPA order, so that learners can
look of words which they hear - and can identify phonetically - but do not
know how to spell.

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