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Summary Details

Query:   Phonetically Organised Dictionary
Author:  Sue Sherman
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Phonology

Summary:   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.

Beep: ftp://svr-ftp.eng.cam.ac.uk/pub/comp.speech/dictionaries/beep.tar.gz (this is mostly British English) and the C(entral) M(ichigan) U(niversity) Pronunciation dictionary
http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/cgi-bin/cmudict (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 transcriptions.


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 vocalization.


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.

LL Issue: 12.1797
Date Posted: 12-Jul-2001
Original Query: Read original query


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