Some dictionaries say the IPA of the word "you" is "yu", some say the IPA is "ju", which is the correct consonant?

"y" or "j"?

Dictionary.com says it's "yu", cambridge dictionary says it's "ju"

  • I am not sure what you mean by "the word "you" is "yu", some say it's "ju"," Do you have links to these dictionary entries? The correct spelling is 'you'. – ededededed87 Dec 1 '20 at 16:16
  • In IPA, /y/ is a vowel, not a consonant: a high front rounded vowel like the French 'u'. – Colin Fine Dec 1 '20 at 19:20
  • You can download 'A guide to the use of IPA' for free. – Void Dec 1 '20 at 19:41

IPA symbols represent 'sounds'. Don't confuse spelling with sounds. In IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), /j/ is used to represent the Y sound that you hear in the beginning of you, yes and yummy.

  • Yes → /jɛs/
  • You → /juː/
  • Yummy → /jʌ.mi/

The dictionaries (e.g. Dictionary.com) that give 'yu' as the pronunciation of you don't use IPA.

By contrast, the ones (like Cambridge) that give /juː/ for 'you' do use IPA. In IPA, you would be transcribed as /juː/.

The 'consonant letter' in the word 'you' is Y, but the consonant (sound) is the first sound /j/.

  • Moral: Dictionaries are inconsistent. – Void Dec 1 '20 at 16:31
  • On Dictionary.com, when you search "you", and then click show IPA, it gives you "yu". Why would they explicitly say "show IPA" and not give you IPA? – user125741 Dec 1 '20 at 16:57
  • 2
    @Max: Because those who manage Dictionary.com don't know IPA. :) – Void Dec 1 '20 at 17:02

dictionary.com have a strange idea about what "IPA" actually is.

The sound /y/ in IPA is a rounded close front vowel: you round your lips like you are going to say "oo" then you say "ii" This sound is found in German (where it is usually represented as "ü") and Norwegian (where it is represented by "y", hence the IPA symbol)

This is not a sound used in English

The sound represented by the letter "y" is represented by /j/ in ipa. It is a palatal approximant (and is represented by "j" in German, hence the symbol)

Clearly dictionary.com have forgotten about the "I" part of IPA and have replaced symbols that differ from their usual English values.

The pronunciation of you in English is represented as /juː/ in IPA.

  • (Always feel free to roll-back the edit. Replaced : with ː because IPA doesn't use a colon for vowel length.) – Void Dec 1 '20 at 20:30
  • Thanks, I don't even know how to type that. ( – James K Dec 1 '20 at 20:39
  • You can either type it by using this site [try Alt + : ] or copy from the wiki page I linked – Void Dec 1 '20 at 20:42

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