Phonemic Spelling Guide

Phonemic spelling, used throughout this manual, is a re-spelling system revised by Beaupre and Cornett from Dr. Cornett's "Foenetic Spelling" system published in 1971. For readers familiar with the earlier system a table of differences appears at the end of this guide. Phonemic spelling is compatible with Cued Speech and delineates actual pronunciations and variations of pronunciation of English words. It requires no diacritics nor exotic forms of letters other than those which appear in the regular 26-letter alphabet. Wherever possible, Phonemic Spelling follows common spellings of spoken phonemes. However, words are deliberately included for each phoneme which show the variations in English spelling for that phoneme. Words listed in regular English spelling which differ from Phonemic Spelling are enclosed in quotation marks (ex., "father" fahthur). Certain diphthongs marked with an asterisk (*) are shown at the end of this Guide n further re-spellings which match Cue positions (ex., ay* = e [chin] + i [throat]).

a  [throat]       = at sat man strap pal hand glad
ah [side/forward] = Ah!Shah "father" fahthur "army"
                    ahrmi "farm" fahrm "car" kahr
                    "calm" kahm
aw [chin]         = saw lawn dawn awful awning jaw
                    "short" shawrt "fall" fawl
                    "sauce" saws "thought" xhawt
                    "George" Jawrj "broad" brawd
ay*[chin+throat] = day say play bluejay may away
                   "male" mayl "eight" ayt "they"
                   thay "great" grayt "neighbor"
                   naybur "Amy" Aymi "wait" wayt
b  [handshape 4] = bed jib bring lab habit "rabbit"
                   rabit
ch [handshape 8] = chin church which branch "latch"
                   lach "witch" wich
d  [handshape 1] = day dad led lid held "daddy" dadi
e  [chin]        = Ed met bed let set get elm self
                   rest "deaf" def "says" sez
                   "leopard" lepurd "said" sed
                   "Thames" temz "measure" mezhur
ee [mouth]       = see tree bee deep seen seed 
                   "secret" seekrit "sea" see
                   "Leigh" Lee "leisure" leezhur
                   "yield" yeeld "receive" riseev
                   "phoneme" fohneem
er [chin+3-side]  = "there" ther "bare" ber "stair"
                   ster
f  [handshape 5] = fat fee if fling shelf "laugh"
                   laf "enough" inuhf "photograph"
                   fohtugraf
g  [handshape 7] = good gab wig flag green "ghost"
                   gohst "exact" igzakt
h  [handshape 3] = how help hat hit haw hay "who"
                   hue "whose" huez "here" hir
                   "hair" her "light-house"
                   liet-hows
i  [throat]      = it sit film Jim skin fist
                   fishing himself "busy" bizi 
                   "myth" mixh "behind" bihiend
                   "luggage" luhgij "goodness"
                   goodnis "mountain" mowntin
                   "women" wimin "added" adid
                   "tallest" tawlist
ie* {side+throat]= tie pie tried fried die dried
                   "tide" tied "aisle" iel "height"
                   hiet "night" niet "type" tiep
                   "idle" iedul "buy" bie "cyclone"
                   sieklohn "idea" iediu (or)iedeeu
j  [handshape 7] = jib join jaw jay jam "George"
                   jawrj "judge" juhj "region" 
                   reejun "courageous" kurayjus
k  [handshape 2] = kit book look skeet "cow" kow 
                   "car" kahr "school" skuel 
                   "lacquer" lakur "conquor"
                   kawngkur "quick" kwik "knock"
                   nahk
l  [handshape 6] = lie lay oil flue shelf pal
                   "Sally" sali "bell" bel
m  [handshape 5] = may murmur film elm "Jimmy"
                   jimi "lamb" lam "damn" dam
                   "home" hohm
n  [handshape 4] = now ant tan turn "knee" nee
                   "pneumonia" numohnya
ng [handshape 8] = sing sang rang spring "anger"
                   anggur "single" singgul
                   "singer" singur "ink" ingk
                   "longer" lawnggur "bingo" 
                   binggoh
oh [side/forward]= Oh! "go" goh "slow" sloh
                   "soul" sohl "boat" boht
                   "beau" boh "home" hohm 
                   "hotel" hohtel "though" thoh
oi*[chin+throat] = oil join boil foil toil soil
                   "boy" boi "loyal" loiul
                   "Joyce" jois "noise" noiz
                   "oyster" oistur
oo [throat]      = foot wood good stood book 
                   "pull" pool "wolf" woolf 
                   "could" kood
ow*[side+throat] = how now brown down town "out"
                   owt "about" ubowt "sauerkraut"
                   sowurkrowt "bough" bow
p  [handshape 1] = pan pal tip plow spring "happy"
                   hapi
r  [handshape 3] = red raw tree print "farm" fahrm
                   "very" veri draw prow "car" 
                   kahr "here" hir "hair" her
                   poor "pore" pawr
s  [handshape 3] = see saw say Sue sweets tasks
                   "sister" sistur "peace" pees
                   "city" siti "mice" mies "pencil"
                   pensul
sh [handshape 6] = shin wish sheet fishing "nation"
                   nayshun "session" seshun
                   "special" speshul "sugar" shoogur
t  [handshape 5] = tap stand string set slept twin
                   tempt hurt "pretty" priti "debt"
                   det "Thames" Temz "taught" tawt
th [handshape 2] = then that than this with "either"
    (voiced)       eethur "the" thu (or)thi (or when
                   stressed!) thee
xh [handshape 7] = "teeth" teexh "tooth" tuexh 
                   "thick" xhick "thin" xhin "bath"
                   baxh "thought" xhawt "faithful"
                   fayxhful
u  [side/down]   = submit subdue surplus suspend
   (unstressed)    "sofa" sohfu "final" fienul
                   "porous" pawrus "porpoise" pawrpus
                   "national" nashunul (or) nashnul
                   "Paula" Pawlu
ue [chin]        = blue gluetrue subdue Sue "rule"
                   ruel "pool" puel "do" due "soup"
                   suep "Reuben" Ruebun "flew" flue
                   "shoe" shue "new" nue "cue" kyue
                   "few" fyue
uh [side/down]  =  "mother" muhthur "brother" bruhthur
                   "cup" kuhp "supper" suhpur "oven"
                   uhvun "sulfur" suhlfur "adult" 
                   uduhlt "button" buhtun "suburb"
                   suhburb
ur [mouth]      =  hurt turn burn fur furnish burp urn
                   "fern" furn "sir" sur "attorney"
                   uturni "Myrtle" Murtul "earnest"
                   urnist "connoisseur" kahnusur; (the
                   following are unstressed examples
                   of the same phoneme in Cued Speech)
                   pursue "pursuit" pursuet "pertain"
                   purtayn "mother" muhthur "later"
                   laytur "either" eethur "water" wahtur
v  [handshape 2] = vat vow "of" uv vie vest "love" 
luhv
                   "live" liv
w  [handshape 6] = wet way twin win "queen" kween 
"one"
                   wuhn "was" wuhz
wh [handshape 4] = wheel which when "what" whuht 
"where"
                   wher "why" whie
y  [handshape 8] = yes yet "yellow" yeloh "Sawyer"
                   sawyur "William" Wilyum "few" fyue
                   "use" yues (or) yuez "senior" 
                   seenyur "onion" uhnyun
z  [handshape 2] = zed Zeb zap zest "zoo" zue "his"
                   hiz "prism" prizum "pigs" pigz "legs"
                   legz "season" seezun
zh [handshape 1] = "Zhivago Zhivahgoh "Asia" Ayzhu
                   "leisure" leezhur "television"
                   teluvizhun "measure" mezhur "beige"
                   bayzh

*These diphthongs are sometimes re-spelled as follows to clarify precise Cue positions in practice sessions and in the "Cued Speech Guide to American Pronunciation of Common Words":

e-i [chin+throat] = /ay/ as in "day (1-c,5-t) and "late" (5-c,5-t,5-s)
ah-i [side+throat]= /ie/ as in "tie" (5-s,5-t) and "type" (5-s,5-t,5-s)
aw-i [chin+throat]= /oi/ as in "oil" (5-t,5-c,6-s) and "boy" (4-c,5-t)
ah-oo [side+throat] = /ow/ as in "now" (4-s,5-t0 and "out" (5-s,5-t,5-s)

Differences Between "Phonemic Spelling"
and "Foenetik Speling"

Phonemic Spelling (1983)   Foenetik Spelling (1971)

/ay/                       /ae/
[None. Speaker selects     /o/
/ah/ or /aw/ depending
upon dialect.]
/oh/                       /oe/
/ow/                       /ou/
/th/ (voiced)              /tH/
/xh/ (voiceless)           /th/
/u/ (unstressed neutral    /u/ [No distinction between
      vowel)                   stressed and unstressed
/uh/ (stressed neutral         neutral vowel]
      vowel)

Advance to Vowels & Diphthongs
Return to Table of Contents

***EndFil*** Walter J. Beaupre, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus