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Pronunciation - IPA Symbol Card Game

The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) can be a very useful tool for improving pronunciation. Instead of relying on the teacher for the correct pronunciation, students can look up words and, with an understanding of IPA, decipher the correct pronunciation. Unfortunately, learning the IPA is not always the easiest task. In this lesson, you will find printable IPA cards and a lesson outline aimed at introducing the IPA to students.

Aim: Introduction of International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols

Activity: IPA induction and follow-up IPA card game

Level: Any level needing to learn the IPA


  • Begin introduction slowly by introducing students to a few symbols at a time.
  • Draw symbols and example words on the board (this introduction should go slowly and take place over a number of lessons).
  • Have students think of example words for each symbol.
  • Distribute IPA symbol cards, giving 1 to each student.
  • Students walk around the room exchanging cards. Each student shows the symbol side of the card to his/her fellow student while saying the word out loud.
  • Students exchange cards and go to meet another student etc.

Example of IPA card

ipa symbol cards

To use cards:

  • Go to printing pages
  • Print pages
  • Cut cards out and fold over
  • Glue or tape cards together

IPA Cards Printing Page

Back to lessons resource page

Further Information on the IPA

IPA Symbol Card Game
Lesson intended to help students learn the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet)

Phonetics: Introduction
An introduction and reference guide to the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet).

International Phonetic Association
The association responsible for the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) which is the standard alphabet for help with English and other language pronunciation. Information concerning the association.

IPA Font
Free downloadable IPA font for creating pronunciation documents on your computer. Provided by the Summer Institute of Linguistics.

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