Having finished the Crash Course series on Linguistics, which I wrote about in my last blog entry, I have set out to learn all the IPA symbols, or at least those representing sounds in English. This is a big task but doable just by making a habit of always focusing on the symbols offered next to a word viewed in the dictionary.
I knew more IPA symbols when I was 12 than I do, now. Having learned to read in the first grade, I simply read from then on. When I was 7 my well-meaning parents gave me a children's dictionary which I never used. I prefered the larger and more detailed adult dictionary with IPA symbols! Why did I quit noticing, and, ultimately, forget them? Perhaps because I'd subconsiously learned all the phonetics involved in spelling or because, as an adult, I heard the words spoken as well as seeing them written.
To crash-relearn the English symbols, I've found a wonderful YouTube video, "How to remember IPA phoneme symbols: my tricks!" By English Jade. The symbols, which were derived from Roman and Greek alphabet letters, do not all have an obvious relationship to the sound they denote. Jade has drawn cartoon objects which visually contain the symbol and are pronunced with the vowel or consonant represented.
For an online interactive chart go to ipachart.com.