Today when I checked the Oxford American Dictionary for the pronunciation of overseas, I got this in IPA: /oʊvərˈsiz/.

According to my understanding, the /ʊ/ phoneme is pronounced o or something like put, so the pronunciation of this word would be very difficult, or even meaningless.


The /oʊ/ dipthong is the one heard in most American pronunciations of the GOAT lexical set, so also in words like no, toe, tone, so, sew, boat, soap, tow, soul, sold, roll, cold, folk, polka.

In some speakers, the /ʊ/ rounding may be less noticeable in non-terminals like soap than in terminals like sew.

See here for a very basic treatment.

See here for a rather more elaborate one.

At first I was confused by your /oʊvərˈsiz/, and so thought that the IPA you were looking for is [ˈoʊvɚˌsaɪz]. It might have been clearer to me personally, and more quickly, if you had written [ˌoʊvɚˈsiːz], but you did nothing wrong.

  • thank you but i get the IPA from here :oaadonline.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/overseas do you think it is some type of mistake in that dictionary? – CoderInNetwork Aug 21 '12 at 18:34
  • @CoderInNetwork No, it's not wrong. They no longer mark secondary stress at Oxford, at least on this sort of word. And apparently they aren't marking the length either, which surprises me a bit, but I suppose could be argued to be a phonologic distinction rather than a phonemic one in this case. As for ər vs əɹ vs ɚ, that is just a style difference. For example, IPA r is a different sound than ɹ, but English makes no phonemic distinction there, so it doesn't matter with /phonemic/ transcriptions instead of [phonologic] ones. – tchrist Aug 21 '12 at 21:12

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