Northern English vowels for Speech and Language Therapists

Adapted from Gut (2014: 63).

This table is a sortable resource to learn the vowels found in most Northern English vowel systems, as spoken in the East Midlands to the North of England in cities such as Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester, UK.

An English vowel system is recommended, in preference to using IPA Cardinal vowels as:
  • Children rarely have vowel disorder, and most Speech Sound Disorder (SSD) is focused on the Consonants.
  • The vowels listed here are useful for Speech and Language Therapists working in the Northern English accent/dialect, especially for phonemic transcription of target words.

Use the filter buttons below.

All vowels are fully voiced in standard Northern English with no nasalisation.

Select a vowel using the filter buttons below:

Sort by vowel length: Long or Short. Note that long vowels have different symbols to short vowels, and therefore the length diacritic ː is only found in phonetic transcriptions when you hear the child say a word with an unexpectedly long vowel realisation, such as /mi/ [miː]

  • Long monophthongs are in ORANGE (Word structure: V)
  • Short monophthongs are in YELLOW (Word structure: V)
  • Diphthongs are in BLUE (Word structure: V, NOT VV)
  • Triphthongs are in salmon RED, as they are not part of Northern English vowel system.

Sort by vowel height: Close to Open

Sort vowel by Front and Backness

Sort by lip shape: Spread lips or rounded lips

Or simply search by symbol to hear the vowel and read about its features.

Note: In Northern English some vowels produced as / ɑ / are produced as / æ / when followed by such as 'path', bath', 'laugh', 'fast', staff' etc. See 'trap-bath split'.

Note: Triphthongs are not found in Northern English. The three triphthongs are included in this list to illustrate how they are realised in northern English.

Currently displaying all vowels of Northern English.
  • [ i ]
    as in 'me', 'knee', 'pea', 'bee', 'tea', 'deep', 'key', 'fee', 'sea', 'she', 'fleece'

  • [ u ]
    as in 'moon', 'noon', 'pool', 'boots', 'tool', 'do', 'cool', 'goose', 'fool', 'soon', 'zoo', 'chew', 'June'

  • [ ɪ ]
    as in 'mitten', 'knit', 'pip', 'bit', 'tip', 'dip', 'kipper', 'fit', 'sit', 'zip', 'ship', 'chip', 'gin'

  • [ ʊ ]
    as in 'mushy', 'nut', 'put', 'butter', 'tuck', 'duck', 'cut', 'could', 'good', 'foot', 'vunerable', 'sugar', 'chuck', 'just'

  • [ e ]
    as in 'men', 'net', 'pet', 'bet', 'tent', 'deck', 'chemical', 'get', 'fetch', 'vet', 'shepherd', 'check', 'jet'

  • [ ɜ ]
    as in 'murky', 'nurse', 'purse', 'bird', 'terse', 'dirt', 'curse', 'gherkin', 'first', 'verse', 'certain', 'shirt', 'jerk'

  • [ ə ]
    as in 'natter', 'matter', 'apart', 'above', 'arise', 'paper', 'butter', 'better', 'tomato', 'computer', 'garter', 'forgive', 'vinegar'

  • [ ɔ ]
    as in 'more', 'gnaw', 'port', 'bought', 'taught', 'door', 'gore', 'four', 'vortex', 'sore', 'shore'/'sure', 'chore', 'jaw'

  • [ æ ]
    as in 'mat', 'gnat', 'pan', 'bat', 'tan', 'dad', 'gap', 'fan', 'van', 'sham', 'chat', 'jam'

  • [ ʌ ]
    NOT a vowel of Northern English. This vowel will be replaced with / ʊ /.

  • [ ɒ ]
    as in 'mock', 'knock', 'pot', 'bottle', 'top', 'dot', 'cot', 'font', 'sock', 'shock', 'chocolate'

  • [ ɑ ]
    as in 'are', 'market', part', 'bar', 'tart', 'car', 'garlic', 'farm', 'sharp', 'harp', 'charm', 'jar'
    Note: The symbol is NOT [a].

  • [ ]
    as in 'mate', 'nature', 'pay', 'bay', 'take', 'day', 'gay', 'famous', 'vague', 'say', shape', 'jail'

  • [ ]
    as in 'mouse', 'now', 'town', 'down', 'crown', 'gown', 'found', 'sound', 'shout', 'joust', 'how'

  • [ əʊ ]
    as in 'mow', 'no', 'toe', 'dough', 'coat', 'go', 'foe', 'sew', 'show', 'choke', 'joke', 'hoe'

  • [ ]
    as in 'my', 'knife', 'tie', 'dye', 'kite', 'fine', 'sign', 'shine', 'chime', 'jive', 'hive'

  • [ ɔɪ ]
    as in 'moist', 'noise', 'poise', 'boy', 'coin', 'foist', 'voice', 'soil', 'joy', 'hoist'

  • [ ʊə ]
    as in 'poor', 'sure', 'cure'. Note: This vowel is increasingly realised as the monophthong / ɔ /. You may be unfamiliar with / ʊə / so please listen to the sound file, below.

  • [ ]
    as in 'pear', 'bear', 'tear' (as in rip), 'dare', 'fair', 'share', ''chair', 'there', 'where'

  • [ ɪə ]
    as in 'ear', 'mere', 'near', 'pier', 'beer', 'tier', 'deer', 'gear', 'fear', 'sheer', 'chia', 'jeer', 'rear', 'weir'

  • [ aɪə ]
    Realised with a yod / j / after the first diphthong, creating two syllables instead of one. 'fire' is / faɪə / in standard English, but / ˈfaɪ.jə / in Northern English.

  • [ eɪə ]
    Realised with a yod / j / after the first diphthong, creating two syllables instead of one. 'player' is / pleɪə / in standard English, but / ˈpleɪ.jə / in Northern English.

  • [ aʊə ]
    Realised with a / w / after the first diphthong, creating two syllables instead of one. 'flower' is / flaʊə / in standard English, but / ˈflaʊ.wə / in Northern English.

You may also be interested in…


Gut, U., (2014). Introduction to English Phonetics and Phonology. (Peter Lang: GmbH).

Knight, R.A., (2012).
Phonetics. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

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