The extended SAMPA notation is defined in ipasam-x.pdf. To translate the notation, the simplest approach is to read pages 16 to 18 thereof. However, to use the notation, or see the system at a glance, it may be useful to look at the tabulated symbols given below.

In principle, a symbol consists of the basic form, which consists of a single character, optionally followed by a backslash, which changes its meaning, followed by the diacritics. An underscore is always the start of a diacritic, but not all diacritics start with an underscore. Compounds are permitted for diphthongs, affricates, and co-articulation. They may be compounded by using -\, or simply by writing them next to one another. If the latter style is adopted, elements of what incorrectly appear to be a compounds shall be separated by a hyphen (-), on the principle that clusters are marked by comparison to affricates or diphthongs. Following the same principle, the aspiration diacritic (_h) may be reduced to the letter.

There is an easy to use list of the proper IPA characters,their meanings, and their Unicode codes which you may wish to consult. There is a complete chart in the phoNet files section.


Plosives Fricatives Frictionless continuant Lateral Lateral fricative Trill Tap Nasals Median click Lateral click
Glottal ?   h h\
Epiglottal >\   H\ <\
Pharyngeal X\ ?\
Uvular q G\ X R R R\ N\
Velars k g x G M\ L\ N
Palatals c J\ C j\ j L J
Alveolopalatal s\ z\
Palatoalveolar S Z =\
Retroflex t` d` s` z` r\` l` r` 4` n` !\
Post-alveolar r\
Alveolar t d s z l K K\ r 4 n |\|\
Dental T D |\
Labiodental f v P or v\ F
Labial p b p\ B B\ m O\
Labiovelar k_p g_b W   w

Conflicts with IPA

Warning: For IPA [B], [G], [H], [L], [N], use extended SAMPA [B\], [G\], [H\], [L\] and [N\].

For non-standard(?) linguolabials, [P], [B], [M], [L] become [t_N], [d_N], [n_N], [l_N].

Other Consonants

5Velarised ('dark') 'l'. [l_e] and [l_G] are alternative notations.
l\Alveolar lateral flap
HLabial-palatal semivowel, as in French huit.
x\Voiceless post-alveolar and velar fricative. Presumably equivalent to [x_S]

Diacritics Modifying Position

_-Retracted. For example, [t_-] is post-alveolar.
_NLinguolabial. These marks are applied to alveolar symbols, so [t_N] is a linguolabial plosive.
_dDental. Applied to alveolar symbols when it is necessary to make clear that a sound is dental and not alveolar. Presumably [p_d] and [b_d] could be used for labiodental stops.

Diacritics Specifying Secondary Articulation

`R-colouring (retroflexion)
_GVelarisation. Note that [l_G] may be abbreviated as [5]
_epharyngealised or velarised. Note that [l_e] may be abbreviated as [5]

Phonation and Airstream Diacritics

_hAspiration (underscore optional)
_0Voicelessness. Note that the symbol is zero.
_tbreathy voiced
_kcreaky voiced
_?Ejective. This notation does not appear in the summary table, so it is better to use _> instead.

Release Mechanisms and Duration

_nNasal release
_lLateral release
_}No audible release


Unrounded Vowels

Close i1M
Lax close II\
Close-mid e@\7
Mid 3
Open-mid EV
Near-open {6
Open aA

Rounded vowels

Close y}u
Lax close YU\U
Close-mid 2o
Mid 8
Open-mid 93\O
Open &Q

Schwa is denoted [@].

Vowel Diacritics

`R-coloured (retroflex)
_kcreaky voiced
_OMore rounded. Note that the symbol is a letter.
_cLess rounded
_xMid centralised
_AAdvanced tongue root
_qRetracted tongue root
/Indeterminacy in French

Stress Marks

"Primary stress
%Secondary stress

Tone Marks

These may also be written by escaping to SAMPROSA, enclosing the SAMPROSA descrition in angle brackets. Only the non-SAMPROSA methods are listed here. It appears that the tone marks should be written as diacritics on the vowel.

Language Specific Convention

_1Tone 1
_2Tone 2
_3Tone 3
_4Tone 4
_5Tone 5
_6Tone 6

Unfortunately, this doesn't help when tones are identified by letters, as in East Asian Comparative Linguistics.

Phonetic Description

Uses the 5 level scale. Varying pitches can be written as a sequence of levels.

_TExtra high
_BExtra low

Terrace Tones