Most common sounds in spoken English. |

Most common sounds in spoken English.

This article lists all English phonemes in order of frequency. By phonemes is meant all sounds that make up the sound inventory of the English language and that includes both consonant and vowel sounds (as opposed to letters). This classification is based on data compiled using the Carnegie Mellon Pronouncing Dictionary correlated to a frequency list of the British National Corpus, i.e. American pronunciations with British word-usage. Here are the results:



Here are the exact percentages:

ə / 11.49%
n / 7.11%
r / 6.94%
t / 6.91%
ɪ / 6.32%
s / 4.75%
d / 4.21%
l / 3.96%
i / 3.61%
k / 3.18%
ð / 2.95%
ɛ / 2.86%
m / 2.76%
z / 2.76%
p / 2.15%
æ / 2.10%
v / 2.01%
w / 1.95%
u / 1.93%
b / 1.80%
e / 1.79%
ʌ / 1.74%
f / 1.71%
aɪ / 1.50%
ɑ / 1.45%
h / 1.40%
o / 1.25%
ɒ / 1.18%
ŋ / 0.99%
ʃ / 0.97%
j / 0.81%
g / 0.80%
dʒ / 0.59%
tʃ / 0.56%
aʊ / 0.50%
ʊ / 0.43%
θ / 0.41%
ɔɪ / 0.10%
ʒ / 0.07%

If you look closely at the first three consonants, it seems that the most common consonant is a near statistical dead-heat between /n/, /r/ and /t/.

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3 thoughts on “Most common sounds in spoken English.”

  1. What the hell does an upsidedown e sound like? What language do these letters come from? it ain’t English.

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