The American Heritage Dictionary describes pronunciation with symbols unfamiliar to me. Do Americans have no difficulty reading these symbols, which are so different from IPA’s?

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: American Heritage Dictionary

  • 3
    @snailplane These two comments seem to me to comprise an entirely satisfactory and very useful Answer. Mar 9, 2013 at 15:22
  • @StoneyB Okay, I've turned them into an answer!
    – user230
    Mar 9, 2013 at 17:14

1 Answer 1


There's a guide to AHD symbols online: http://www.ahdictionary.com/application/resources/misc/pronkey.pdf

Most Americans can't read IPA. In grade school, I was taught symbols similar to those used by the AHD, and I didn't encounter the IPA until I was an adult.

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