I often use dictionary.cambridge.org for checking the pronunciation and many times I found they used a dot between a consonant and a vowel (ex, limit "/ˈlɪm.ɪt/", or lemon /ˈlem.ən/).

Other dictionaries do not use a dot like that.

I think it means that that consonant is shared between its preceding and following vowel.

So, we have to pronounce "/ˈlɪm-mɪt/" and not "/ˈlɪ-mɪt/". That means we say "/ˈlɪm/" when the upper lip and lower lip touch to each other (1st half of M sound) & then the upper lip and lower lip will release to make "/mɪt/" (2nd half of M sound).

so, Why do they have a dot between a consonant and a vowel (ex "/ˈlɪm.ɪt/") in dictionary.cambridge.org?

closed as off-topic by user140086, RegDwigнt Nov 16 '15 at 10:49

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  • 2
    A dot resting on the line is used to separate syllables when transcribing the pronunciation of a word. The transcription "/ˈlɪm.ɪt/" indicates that the transcriber thinks that the "m" belongs to the first syllable in this word. However, there have been analyses in the past that treat these consonants as shared (or ambisyllabic) instead when it is possible for them to also be pronounced at the start of the following syllable. – sumelic Nov 16 '15 at 9:55

As mentioned in the comments, it's syllable division marker. From the Cambridge Dictionaries Online help article on phonetics:

Pronunciations in the American English and Essential American English dictionary do not use the 'long vowel' marker /ː/ and, in place of the syllable division marker /./, they use a raised dot /·/.


So, the UK version uses ".", the American uses "·".

  • Nice find! I will also add, using a raised dot is a convention that's more specific to particular dictionaries. In contrast, a dot on the line is basically the "standard" for linguistic transcriptions (for all languages). – sumelic Nov 16 '15 at 10:23
  • That's not quite correct. Most dictionaries use [ . ] but those particular dictionaries use [ · ]. Other dictionaries use nothing at all, a space or other symbols. – Araucaria Nov 16 '15 at 15:01

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