From Academic Kids

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.
  • 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

XS IPA IPA Description Examples
a Missing image

open front unrounded vowel French dame [dam], Spanish padre ["padre]
b Missing image

voiced bilabial plosive English bed [bEd], French bon [bO~]
b_< Image:Xsampa-b lessthan.png voiced bilabial implosive  
c Image:Xsampa-c.png voiceless palatal plosive Hungarian latyak [lAcAk]
d Missing image

voiced alveolar plosive English dig [dIg], French doigt [dwa]
d` Image:Xsampa-d'.png voiced retroflex plosive Svealand Swedish hord [hu:d`]
d_< Image:Xsampa-d lessthan.png voiced alveolar implosive  
e Image:Xsampa-e.png close-mid front unrounded vowel French ses [se]
f Image:Xsampa-f2.png voiceless labiodental fricative English five [faIv], French femme [fam]
g Missing image

voiced velar plosive English game [geIm], French longue [lO~g]
g_< Image:Xsampa-g lessthan.png voiced velar implosive  
h Image:Xsampa-h.png voiceless glottal fricative English house [haUs]
h\ Image:Xsampa-hslash.png voiced glottal fricative  
i Image:Xsampa-i.png close front unrounded vowel English be [bi:], French oui [wi], Spanish si [si]
j Image:Xsampa-j2.png palatal approximant English yes [jEs], French yeux [j2]
j\ Image:Xsampa-jslash2.png voiced palatal fricative Greek γειά [j\a]
k Image:Xsampa-k.png voiceless velar plosive English cat [k{t], Spanish carro ["kar:o]
l Image:Xsampa-l.png alveolar lateral approximant English lay [leI], French mal [mal]
l` Missing image

retroflex lateral approximant Svealand Swedish sorl [so:l`]
l\ Image:Xsampa-lslash.png alveolar lateral flap Japanese phoneme /r/
m Missing image

bilabial nasal English mouse [maUs], French homme [Om]
n Image:Xsampa-n.png alveolar nasal English nap [n{p], French non [nO~]
n` Image:Xsampa-n'.png retroflex nasal Svealand Swedish hrn [h2:n`]
o Image:Xsampa-o.png close-mid back rounded vowel French gros [gRo]
p Missing image

voiceless bilabial plosive English leap [li:p], French pose [poz], Spanish perro ["per:o]
p\ Image:Xsampa-pslash.png voiceless bilabial fricative Japanese fuku [p\M_0kM], Scanian sju [p\@}]
q Image:Xsampa-q.png voiceless uvular plosive Arabic qasbah ["qQs_Gba]
r Missing image

alveolar trill Spanish perro ["per:o]
r` Image:Xsampa-r'.png retroflex flap  
r\ Image:Xsampa-rslash2.png alveolar approximant English red [r\Ed]
r\` Image:Xsampa-rslash'.png retroflex approximant  
s Image:Xsampa-s.png voiceless alveolar fricative English seem [si:m], French session [se.sjO~]
s` Image:Xsampa-s'.png voiceless retroflex fricative Svealand Swedish mars [mas`]
s\ Image:Xsampa-sslash.png voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative Polish świerszcz [s\virStS]
t Image:Xsampa-t.png voiceless alveolar plosive English too [tu:], French rat [Rate], Spanish tuyo [tujo]
t` Image:Xsampa-t'.png voiceless retroflex plosive Svealand Swedish mrt [m2t`]
u Missing image

close back rounded vowel English boom [bu:m], Spanish su [su]
v Image:Xsampa-v.png voiced labiodental fricative English vest [vEst], French voix [vwa]
v\ (or P) Image:Xsampa-Porvslash.png labiodental approximant  
w Image:Xsampa-w2.png labial-velar approximant English west [wEst], French oui [wi]
x Missing image

voiceless velar fricative Scots loch [lQx]
x\ Image:Xsampa-xslash2.png voiceless postalveolar and velar fricative Swedish sjal [x\A:l]
y Image:Xsampa-y.png close front rounded vowel French tu [ty] German ber [y"b@r]
z Missing image

voiced alveolar fricative English zoo [zu:], French azote [azOt]
z` Image:Xsampa-z'.png voiced retroflex fricative  
z\ Image:Xsampa-zslash.png voiced alveolo-palatal fricative Polish źrebak [z\rEbak]

Uppercase symbols

XS IPA IPA Description Example
A Image:Xsampa-A2.png open back unrounded vowel English father ["fA:D@(r\)] (RP and Gen.Am.)
B Image:Xsampa-B2.png voiced bilabial fricative  
B\ Image:Xsampa-Bslash.png bilabial trill Reminiscent of shivering ("brrr")
C Image:Xsampa-C2.png voiceless palatal fricative German ich [IC], English human ["Cum@n] (broad transcription uses [hj-])
D Image:Xsampa-D2.png voiced dental fricative English then [DEn]
E Image:Xsampa-E2.png open-mid front unrounded vowel French même [mEm], English met [mEt]
F Image:Xsampa-F.png labiodental nasal English emphasis ["EFf@sIs] (spoken quickly, otherwise uses [Emf-])
G Image:Xsampa-G2.png voiced velar fricative Greek γωνία [Go"nia], Danish vlge [vElG@]
G\ Image:Xsampa-Gslash.png voiced uvular plosive  
G\_< Missing image
Image:Xsampa-Gslash lessthan.png

voiced uvular implosive  
H Image:Xsampa-H.png labial-palatal approximant French huit [Hi]
H\ Image:Xsampa-Hslash.png voiceless epiglottal fricative  
I Image:Xsampa-I2.png near-close near-front unrounded vowel English kit [kIt]
I\   central lax close unrounded vowel, not in IPA  
J Image:Xsampa-J.png palatal nasal Spanish año [aJo], English canyon ["k{J@n] (broad transcription uses [-nj-])
J\ Image:Xsampa-Jslash.png voiced palatal plosive Hungarian egy [EJ\]
J\_< Missing image
Image:Xsampa-Jslash lessthan.png

voiced palatal implosive  
K Image:Xsampa-K2.png voiceless alveolar lateral fricative Welsh llaw [KaU_^]
K\ Image:Xsampa-Kslash.png voiced alveolar lateral fricative  
L Image:Xsampa-L2.png palatal lateral approximant Italian famiglia [famiLa], Castilian llamar [La"mar], English million ["mIL@n] (broad transcription uses [-lj-])
L\ Image:Xsampa-Lslash.png velar lateral approximant English phoneme /5/
M Image:Xsampa-M.png close back unrounded vowel Korean (eu)
M\ Image:Xsampa-Mslash.png velar approximant Spanish fuego [fweM\o]
N Image:Xsampa-N2.png velar nasal English thing [TIN]
N\ Missing image

uvular nasal Japanese san [saN\]
O Missing image

open-mid back rounded vowel British English thought [TO:t], American English off [O:f]
O\ Image:Xsampa-Oslash.png bilabial click  
P (or v\) Image:Xsampa-Porvslash.png labiodental approximant Dutch phoneme /w/, allophone of English phoneme /r\/
Q Image:Xsampa-Q.png open back rounded vowel British English lot [lQt]
R Image:Xsampa-R2.png voiced uvular fricative French roi [Rwa]
R\ Image:Xsampa-Rslash.png uvular trill German phoneme /r/
S Missing image

voiceless postalveolar fricative English ship [SIp]
T Missing image

voiceless dental fricative English thin [TIn]
U Missing image

near-close near-back rounded vowel English foot [fUt]
U\   central lax close rounded vowel, not in IPA  
V Image:Xsampa-V.png open-mid back unrounded vowel English strut [str\Vt]
W Image:Xsampa-X.png voiceless labial-velar fricative Scots when [WEn]
X Image:Xsampa-x2.png voiceless uvular fricative Welsh bach [baX]
X\ Image:Xsampa-Xslash.png voiceless pharyngeal fricative Arabic ha’ [X\?]
Y Missing image

near-close near-front rounded vowel German hbsch [hYpS]
Z Image:Xsampa-Z2.png voiced postalveolar fricative English vision ["vIZ@n]

Other symbols

XS IPA IPA Description Example
. Image:Xsampa-fullstop.png syllable break  
" Image:Xsampa-doublequotes.png primary stress  
% Image:Xsampa-percentage.png secondary stress  
' (or _j) Image:Xsampa-'or j.png palatalized  
: Image:Xsampa-colon.png long  
:\ Image:Xsampa-colonslash.png half long Estonian differentiates three vowel lengths
-   separator  
@ Missing image

schwa English banana [b@"nA:n@] (RP) or [b@"n{n@] (Gen.Am.)
@\ Image:Xsampa-atslash.png close-mid central unrounded vowel  
{ Image:Xsampa-leftcurly.png near-open front unrounded vowel English trap [tr\{p]
} Image:Xsampa-rightcurly.png close central rounded vowel Swedish sju [x\}:]
1 Image:Xsampa-1.png close central unrounded vowel Welsh tu [t1], American English rose's [r\oUz1z]
2 Image:Xsampa-2.png close-mid front rounded vowel French deux [d2]
3 Image:Xsampa-3.png open-mid central unrounded vowel English nurse [n3:s] (RP) or [n3`s] (Gen.Am.)
3\ Image:Xsampa-3slash.png open-mid central rounded vowel  
4 Image:Xsampa-4.png alveolar flap Spanish pero [pe4o], American English better ["bE4@`]
5 Missing image

velarized alveolar lateral approximant; also see _e English milk [mI5k]
6 Image:Xsampa-6.png near-open central vowel German besser [bEs6], Australian English mud [m6d]
7 Image:Xsampa-7.png close-mid back unrounded vowel Estonian kik [k7ik], Occurs in Vietnamese
8 Image:Xsampa-8.png close-mid central rounded vowel Swedish buss [b8s]
9 Image:Xsampa-9.png open-mid front rounded vowel French neuf [n9f], Danish drmme [dR9m@]
& Image:Xsampa-amper.png open front rounded vowel
? Image:Xsampa-questionmark.png glottal stop Danish std [sd2?], Cockney English bottle ["bQ?l]
?\ Image:Xsampa-qmarkslash.png voiced pharyngeal fricative Arabic ayn
*   undefined escape character, SAMPA's "conjunctor"  
/   indeterminacy in French vowels  
<   begin nonsegmental notation (eg. SAMPROSA)  
<\ Image:Xsampa-lessthanslash.png voiced epiglottal fricative  
>   end nonsegmental notation  
>\ Image:Xsampa-greaterthanslash.png epiglottal plosive  
^ Image:Xsampa-hat.png upstep  
! Image:Xsampa-exclamation.png downstep  
!\ Image:Xsampa-exclamationslash.png postalveolar click  
| Image:Xsampa-bar.png minor (foot) group  
|\ Image:Xsampa-barslash.png dental click  
|| Image:Xsampa-doublebar.png major (intonation) group  
|\|\ Image:Xsampa-doublebarslash.png lateral alveolar click  
=\ Image:Xsampa-equalsslash.png palatal click  
-\ Image:Xsampa-dashslash.png linking mark  


XS IPA IPA Description
_" Image:Xsampa-_doublequotes.png centralized
_+ Image:Xsampa-_plus.png advanced
_- Image:Xsampa-_minus.png retracted
_/   rising tone
_0 Image:Xsampa-_0.png voiceless
_<   implosive (IPA uses separate symbols for implosives)
= (or _=) Missing image

_> Image:Xsampa-_greaterthan.png ejective
_?\ Image:Xsampa-_questionslash.png pharyngealized
_\   falling tone
_^ Image:Xsampa-_hat.png non-syllabic
_} Image:Xsampa-_rightcurly.png no audible release
` Image:Xsampa-'rhino.png rhotacization in vowels, retroflexion in consonants (IPA uses separate symbols for consonants, see t` for an example)
~ (or _~) Image:Xsampa-tildor tild.png nasalization
_A Image:Xsampa-_A.png advanced tongue root
_a Missing image

_B Image:Xsampa-_B.png extra low tone
_B_L Image:Xsampa-_B_L.png low rising tone
_c Image:Xsampa-_c.png less rounded
_d Image:Xsampa-_d.png dental
_e Image:Xsampa-_e.png velarized or pharyngealized; also see 5
<F> Image:Xsampa-ltFgt.png global fall
_F Image:Xsampa-_F.png falling tone
_G Image:Xsampa-_G.png velarized
_H Image:Xsampa-_H.png high tone
_H_T Image:Xsampa-_H_T.png high rising tone
_h Image:Xsampa-_h.png aspirated
_j (or ') Image:Xsampa-'or_j.png palatalized
_k Image:Xsampa-_k.png creaky voice
_L Image:Xsampa-_L.png low tone
_l Image:Xsampa-_l.png lateral release
_M Image:Xsampa-_M.png mid tone
_m Missing image

_N Image:Xsampa-_N.png linguolabial
_n Missing image

nasal release
_O Image:Xsampa_O.png more rounded
_o Image:Xsampa-_o.png lowered
_q Image:Xsampa-_q.png retracted tongue root
<R> Image:Xsampa-ltRgt.png global rise
_R Image:Xsampa-_R.png rising tone
_R_F Image:Xsampa-_R_F.png rising falling tone
_r Image:Xsampa-_r.png raised
_T Image:Xsampa-_T.png extra high tone
_t Image:Xsampa-_t.png breathy voice
_v Missing image

_w Image:Xsampa-_w.png labialized
_X Image:Xsampa-_X.png extra-short
_x Image:Xsampa-_x.png mid-centralized

Wikipedia usage

In Wikipedia the usage of IPA instead of X-SAMPA is recommended – see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation).

See also

External links



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