1. Syllables are hyphen-separated, except that an accent or back-accent follows each accented syllable (the back-accent marks a secondary accent in some words of four or more syllables). If no accent is given, the word is pronounced with equal accentuation on all syllables (this is common for abbreviations).A /*/ is used for the `schwa' sound of unstressed or occluded vowels (the one that is often written with an upside-down `e'). The schwa vowel is omitted in syllables containing vocalic r, l, m or n; that is, `kitten' and `color' would be rendered /kit'n/ and /kuhl'r/, not /kit'*n/ and /kuhl'*r/.
2. Consonants are pronounced as in American English. The letter `g' is always hard (as in "got" rather than "giant"); `ch' is soft ("church" rather than "chemist"). The letter `j' is the sound that occurs twice in "judge". The letter `s' is always as in "pass", never a z sound. The digraph `kh' is the guttural of "loch" or "l'chaim". The digraph 'gh' is the aspirated g+h of "bughouse" or "ragheap" (rare in English).
3. Uppercase letters are pronounced as their English letter names; thus (for example) /H-L-L/ is equivalent to /aitch el el/. /Z/ may be pronounced /zee/ or /zed/ depending on your local dialect.
4. Vowels are represented as follows:
a back, that ah father, palm (see note) ar far, mark aw flaw, caught ay bake, rain e less, men ee easy, ski eir their, software i trip, hit i: life, sky o block, stock (see note) oh flow, sew oo loot, through or more, door ow out, how oy boy, coin uh but, some u put, foot y yet, young yoo few, chew [y]oo /oo/ with optional fronting as in `news' (/nooz/ or /nyooz/)
Note that the above table reflects mainly distinctions found in standard American English (that is, the neutral dialect spoken by TV network announcers and typical of educated speech in the Upper Midwest, Chicago, Minneapolis/St.Paul and Philadelphia). However, we separate /o/ from /ah/, which tend to merge in standard American. This may help readers accustomed to accents resembling British Received Pronunciation.
Entries with a pronunciation of `//' are written-only usages. (No, UNIX weenies, this does *not* mean `pronounce like previous pronunciation'!)