Is there a homepage or online tool that gives you a list of, let's say, the 2000 most common syllables sorted by their international phonetic alphabet spelling? (e.g. /sɜː(r)/ = the first syllable from the word circle which is the same as for circus) and gives some examples next to it like:

sɜː(r) For example: circle, circus, ...

I'm not looking for a usual dictionary with IPA characters.

Neither am I looking for a phonetic dictionary that lists several thousand words ordered by spelling.

Do you know a syllable-based online webpage that lists the most-used prefixes and suffixes in an alphabetic IPA spelling order (and may give some word examples in brackets next to the listed syllable)?

  • 3
    What you're looking for is a phonetic dictionary, which is a dictionary organized by the way words sound. The linked Wikipedia article points to a selection of online phonetic dictionaries, but if they don't have the features you need, you could always literally Google for phonetic dictionary. FYI, asking for recommendations or polling for opinions is discouraged on StackExchange sites generally.
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 22, 2014 at 21:26
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is a request for resources Oct 22, 2014 at 21:43
  • It's more then just a "phonetic dictionary" what I'am looking for. It should be a list which do not mention each (of more then 20'000) word but rather gives you a list with the 100-1000 most used syllables in IPA (and at the right side some example words). I don't think such a powerful for english learners (my level is between B2 and C1) does already exist. I guess it's not a question you will find an answer easily just by using Google.
    – laminin
    Oct 22, 2014 at 21:53
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    One of the reasons that I wrote my own dictionary software is for this very reason. I could find nothing that did quite what you were asking, but I wanted it. It’s really useful to be able to do. I would think someone would have done this for the public at large by now. BTW, the “phonetic” spellings in IPA in dictionaries are actually phonemic ones, and do not reflect local dialect difference of allophones. At best, you may get a US and UK version (as though there were but one of each).
    – tchrist
    Oct 23, 2014 at 1:49
  • 2
    Suggesting migration to meta.
    – Kris
    Oct 23, 2014 at 7:04

1 Answer 1


A tentative answer - I'm not a phonetician or computational linguist. I would be interested in a more authoritative response.

You can get this information from the CELEX corpus. There is a web interface for this here: http://celex.mpi.nl

You can extract a list of all (or some) syllables, with their frequency (per million or raw) in the corpus. You can also get syllable information for words in the corpus and use this to construct your own frequencies. This has the advantage of also giving access to examples. I wrote some quick code to do this a while ago which we didn't in the end use. It could be (and I'm sure has been) substantially improved upon. Here is one row from the resulting data:

syllable (in the notation that CELEX uses: hIm
frequency:53007 typical consonant vowel structure:CVC
examples: him himself hymn hymnal hymnals

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