about CUBE

key features

CUBE’s focus is on allowing the user to find and explore pronunciation patterns in English which are phonetically up to date and presented in a flexible way for both practical reference and research purposes. The following features, we believe, make cube unique among pronunciation dictionaries:

powerful spelling search
cube allows you to search for word beginnings, word endings, part-words and other possibilities. Read more…
searchable pronunciations
You may search among pronunciations in the same way as among spellings. An extensive set of sound categories can be searched. Read more…
transcription options
You may display your results in several transcription systems, you may tweak the symbol choices to some degree, and some accent variation is also available. Read more…
links to natural speech clips
CUBE’s search results link to the resource Youglish, providing spoken examples of the words in YouTube clips.
minimal pair search
You may find all the minimal pairs for a given transcribed string, or all the minimal pairs differing in two given sounds or sound sequences. Read more…
frequency filters
You may order your search results in terms of their frequency on the web, or limit your search to words of greater or lesser frequency. Read more…
grammar categories
You can specify or exclude a wide range of grammatical features when making searches. Read more…
word requests
If CUBE does not contain a word you search for, we are automatically notified and will add the word (if legitimate), normally within 24 hours. Read more…

CUBE has some limitations, too:

CUBE gives only one recommended pronunciation per entry. However, inflected forms are shown, by means of separate entries (eg live, lives, living, lived; life, lives). There are also separate entries for the ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ forms of certain function words (eg can).

CUBE is currently limited to British English, but some accent variables may be chosen.

CUBE’s background

CUBE is designed and compiled by Péter Szigetvári and Geoff Lindsey.

CUBE’s core database is drawn from a transcription dictionary by Ádám Nádasdy and Szigetvári (Huron’s English Pronouncing Dictionary/Huron angol kiejtési kézikönyv, 2000, Biográf Kiadó, Budapest). Its design has been influenced by CUVOALD, Roger Mitton’s computer-usable version (1986–1992) of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English (1974).

In 2003 Szigetvári built a web search engine that allowed complex phonotactic searches on both the spellings and the transcriptions. The interface was considerably improved in 2011, allowing access to the grammar and frequency information of the entries, and giving the output in IPA symbols.

The transcription used was essentially the system designed for ‘Received Pronunciation’ fifty years ago by A. C. Gimson in his Introduction to the Pronunciation of English (1962) and widely adopted thereafter. The phonetics and phonology of standard British English have changed during the past half-century, particularly in the vowels. Lindsey has blogged extensively on these changes, and suggested more appropriate symbols for contemporary ‘Standard Southern British’. cube These have been implemented as the default transcription for CUBE.

We hope you find CUBE useful — feel free to give us your feedback. Enjoy!