I want to make my own language, but for begin this works, we need to know all phonemes existing, for decide which keep and which give up.

Do you know a site with list of phonem with playable sound (it's important to understand, we need to hear)

  • 2
    The IPA, or International Phonetic Alphabet, is how we write these things down, and they have a website. The charts at the bottom of the linked page cover every phone with a symbol, and clicking on the symbol will play it's corresponding phone. Note that while he vowels are played straight, the consonants are played in the structure /Ca.aCa:/ for clarity. Also, these are phones, not phonemes. Actual languages will realize them slightly differently for ease and contrast, as Draconis explains.
    – No Name
    Jul 30, 2023 at 1:18

2 Answers 2


The problem is that phonemes are a theoretical abstraction. They only exist by contrast with something else, and what things contrast depends on the language.

For example, if you look at an IPA vowel chart, you can see the angled line on the left side that represents all the front vowels. There's an infinite number of possible vowels there, and every language divides that line up differently. Some languages draw a dividing line somewhere in the middle, and have two categories: high and low. Some languages draw two dividing lines and have three categories. Others draw three lines and have four categories, and so on.

So, how many phonemes are there along that line? Maybe infinitely many, or at least hundreds, since every language draws their dividing lines differently. Or maybe only five or so, since I don't know of any language that has more than that many front unrounded vowels. What are those phonemes? Well, every language defines them differently.

If you look at an IPA chart, that's a great start for this. The IPA originally tried to provide separate characters for any sounds that any (European) language drew a dividing line between, which is why it's got five symbols for front unrounded vowels. But that quickly became infeasible when they started expanding to non-European languages. For example, a lot of languages have aspirated stops, or ejective stops, and these didn't get their own symbols. Or, they originally thought no language distinguished dental from alveolar sounds, and assigned them the same symbols…but that turns out to not be true in various Australian languages.

So the best way to get this sort of understanding is to read up on the IPA chart, and learn about some of the distinctions that languages make that don't get their own IPA symbols. But be prepared: there are a lot of symbols there. Know that no language in the world, natural or constructed, distinguishes all of them.

  • Sounds are objectively classifiable (it's a vibration frequency), so I'm not talking about the symbols that represent a sound, it's not of much interest, what matters are the sounds themselves. I'll take a look at the IPA first, thank you. But it's surprising that there is no inclusion of the sounds of non-European languages since this is also where there is richness and exoticism (from our point of view). I don't think there are so many ways to produce distinctive sounds, different enough to be audible to an entire population (sounds that are too close get simplified very quickly)
    – Matrix
    Jul 30, 2023 at 12:26
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    @Matrix Sounds are objectively measurable, but frequencies are continuous: there are an infinite number of possibilities.
    – Draconis
    Jul 30, 2023 at 15:57
  • yes, but like I said, it's not true for human interpretation. there is no gradiant when you hear, only quanta : when difference is enouth, you can said "it's another sound", if not, you will hear same sound (even if reel frequence have changed) ;)
    – Matrix
    Jul 31, 2023 at 14:04
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    @Matrix Ah, but those quanta are language-specific.
    – Draconis
    Jul 31, 2023 at 15:36

Wikipedia's IPA pages are really comprehensive. You can hear each IPA sound in the chart, as well as read up on each individual manner/place of articulation.

For Consonants: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPA_pulmonic_consonant_chart_with_audio

For Vowels: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPA_vowel_chart_with_audio

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