Phones are the main unit of an IPA transcription. They are composed of a vowel or consonant (or base glyph) along with optional diacritics. Diacritics are of the following types: prefix (e.g., pre-nasalization), combining (e.g., devoicing), length, suffix (e.g., aspiration), and tone. The following sections outline each part of a single Phone.

Prefix Diacritic

A prefix diacritic must appear before the base glyph. A phone may have multiple prefix diacritics.

Base Glyph

The base glyph can be any IPA vowel or consonant.

Combining Diacritic

Combining diacritics must appear directly after the base glyph; any number of combining diacritics may be used. Combining diacritics may also be added to prefix and suffix diacritics.


Phone length is indicated using character 0x02D0 (long) and 0x02D1 (half-long.) Length diacritics must appear after the phone to which they belong.

Suffix Diacritic

A suffix diacritic must appear after the base glyph. A phone may have multiple suffix diacritics.


Tone diacritics (such as upstep or tone numbers) must appear as the last element in a phone.

Note: Please consult for a list of possible IPA elements and their character types.
Some Possible Phones Description
t̪ʰ Aspirated dental [t]
aːːː¹ Triple-long [a], Tone 1
ⁿd Prenasalised [d]
ᵐṳ̀ Prenasalised, breathy voiced [u], with combining diacritic low tone