Welcome to Phonmap

Phonmap makes it easy to write/represent spoken words in 'phonemic script' without having to search through large tables of symbols. It is primarily a tool for teaching English and therefore contains just enough symbols to do this. Its power lies in its simplicity.

Just run the program and write your words using the mouse to select characters from the chart. The text you have written will appear in the edit box at the top. When you have finished just press copy or paste. This will copy the script to the clipboard or automatically paste (*) the characters into the document you are currently writing.


If you run Phonmap with a command line parameter "/hide" it will not show itself on startup. This is useful if you wish to place a shortcut to Phonmap in your system tray. It will then just tuck itself neatly away in the system tray (on the right side of the taskbar) until it is needed.

* In some Windows setups it is not possible to automatically paste into other documents. Especially Windows Vista and various AntiVirus software have new security settings which prevent programs automatically steering other programs without permission.

What is a 'phonemic script'?

In spoken language, a phoneme is the basic, theoretical unit of sound needed to distinguish between words - i.e. changing one phoneme in a word produces another word. When representing phonemes in writing, it is common to use a symbol enclosed between two slashes to stand for the sound. For example, the phoneme for the initial sound in the word "phoneme" could be written as /f/. This graphical form of representing a phoneme is sometimes refered to as a grapheme. One grapheme would represent one phoneme.

So that we can represent the sounds heard in words (and sentences) we need some kind of writing system known as a script to visually record the spoken language. This is often refered to as a phonemic script.

Languages where a given symbol (or letter) represents only one phoneme and every phoneme is represented by only one symbol are known by the layman as "phonetic languages", which might be better described as "phonemically-written" languages.

Unfortunately, English is not one of these and so we need another set of symbols to represent our phonemes. We could invent our own set but thankfully there are already several around and Phonmap uses the symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet since it is very rich and has been adopted by the TEFL world.