In almost every dictionary the pronunciation is presented behind the entry term. Most dictionaries, especially bilingual ones, use a phonetic system to clear up the pronunciation of a word. In order to understand the phonetic transcriptions you have to be able to understand a phonetic alphabet, for example the IPA in Great Britain. As the letter “a” for example is pronounced in different ways in “can”, “ball”, “late”, we need an international convention like IPA to make a right pronunciation of a term possible. Unfortunately, many dictionary users are not able to read such phonetic alphabets because they concentrate on definition. As there can be thousands of dialects within a language, most dictionary makers, especially those who write a bilingual one, cannot pronounce each word in a way that every reader would be satisfied with and agree with but try to find a pronunciation which is used and understood by most dictionary users. In England the standard is the Received Pronounciation (RP) of southern England, mainly used by well-educated speakers. Generally you can say that pronunciation is often not treated equally like spelling, meaning and etymology in dictionaries. That is, because spoken language is a much more abstract and difficult concept than the other ones and mostly of lower interest, atl east for native speakers (Landau 1984, pp. 92-98).

Useful links for further research about pronunciation:

Information about the IPA:

Pages with soundfiles and pronounciation examples:

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