Talk:International Phonetic Alphabet/Archive 3

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IPA - what

I read the main page of the article on IPA. On the plus side it is clear. On the minus side, it makes no attempt to explain what the IPA is. (context, scope, purpose, etc.) Nice chart. Lots of data (for people who probably have no need of it) but virtually no general information. My questions (which weren't answered - keep in mind I'm a totally lay person): An alphabet is used to 1. Communicate between a writer and a reader (of the same language), 2. Describe that communication (unambigously?) Right?

Certain things are implied by its name, but clearly one should define what the subject of the alphabet is (are). I have no idea if it covers all indoeuropean languages not to mention Mandarin Chinese (etc.)? Does it (attempt) to cover all spoken languages? Written? What about non-vocal languages (finger snaps - all that stuff). Sign-language? We now have some evidence that hand gestures are linked to language in the brain...but I digress. From a simplistic point of view language can be thought of as being three distinct (context sensitive) types of communication: written/read, spoken/heard and performed/viewed. I suppose an alphabet can't cover the last (but see how choreographers describe dance) and, obviously, there are non-alphabetical languages (pictographics, heiroglyphic, etc.) just as there are languages which make use of whistles, clicks. SO what does the IPA do?

It just occured to me that maybe the IPA is (now-a-days) only used by euro-centric hobbyists and that would explain why there was no attention given to giving a serious explanation of what it is: "if you have to ask...{then you don't need to know}"

According to the article on IPAssociation the purpose of the IPAlphabet is to serve as "a notational standard for the phonetic representation of all languages." Hyacinth 19:49, 16 Jun 2004 (UTC)
As mentioned directly above by Hyacinth, the IPA attempts to symbolize visually all linguistic sounds found in all the spoken languages of the world (excluding signed langs). So, this includes Mandarin & IE langs. It does not symbolize any non-linguistic sounds or communicative body movements (an interesting question is what kinds of "phonetic" alphabets are currently used for signed langs). Note that this assumes that sounds can be symbolized discretely (see the intro in the IPA's handbook for more info.)
IPA does not concern itself with different languages' orthographies (i.e. writing systems). It does concern itself with "spoken/heard and performed" language and attempts to symbolize this on paper. Linguists generally claim that language is primarily spoken (written being secondary) and therefore they work at describing & analyzing the spoken. So, the IPA has little to do with written language as used by the common folk. It is a descriptive and practical tool of linguists & other language users. It is widely used in linguistics, phonetics, and clinical speech pathology (although there are other transcription systems in practice). So, not just for "euro-centric hobbyists". You can find it in many international dictionaries, i.e. non-American (my English-Japanese & French-Japanese dictionaries published in Japan use IPA, but my unabridged Random House & my Spanish-English published in the US each use a system specific to itself).
The IPA currently does not account for every known linguistic sound, but it probably does account for the majority of sounds (new sound are occasionally discovered by linguists every now & then -- it is estimated that linguists have encountered slightly more than half of the world's langs, which unfortunately are disappearing rather quickly).
Many linguists are dissatisfied with the IPA and use something different, esp. linguist fieldworkers.
Many languages use IPA symbols in their orthography (for instance, Akan/Twi, a language of Ghana).
I hope this helps. - Ish ishwar 10:44, 2004 Dec 17 (UTC)
Many dictionaries tend to assume that their user will only ever use that dictionary, and so make up their own phonetic transcriptions - VERY IRRITATING: for example, I use four English dictionaries (OED, Oxford Concise, Penguin and Chambers), one Korean dictionary and one Korean textbook, and they all have different systems, except the Oxford concise. With IPA, one only has to learn one system. If only everyone would use it. --Taejo | Talk 12:22, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Is this the same concept as latin being used for taxonomy? I find it interesting!

Tom12384 05:58, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Mixed feelings about IPA

My one misgiving about the use of IPA in articles, is that although it is internationally understood by linguists, it is not well understood by the majority of the public for whom Wikipedia is intended. It does create a standard, and a good idea of various sounds for comparison, but widely understood? I don't think so! MacRusgail 16:28, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

Fortunately, there are many pages on Wikipedia that describe all aspects of the alphabet in excruciating detail, including sound files, information about proper usage, and large pictures and detailed descriptions of the symbols. Anyone who is unfamiliar with IPA can learn everything they need to know about it right here. If you find that there is any information missing, please add it or let someone know it's missing so we can be sure our information is complete. Nohat 16:41, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
But if you're using Wikipedia for quick reference, you'll hardly have time to delve through the excruciating details... I do not think it is as easy to learn as people claim. Linguists pick it up with ease, but it looks plain baffling to many of those with no linguistic experience... MacRusgail 17:05, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
But there is no alternative other than uploading sound files, which you can do if you want. Non-standard transcription systems just confuse things. It's little bit as though you were saying, "ordinary people don't get the metric system, and they don't have time to learn about them on Wikipedia, so we should use ad hoc descriptions like 'it's about as long as your leg' instead of 'it measures 1 metre'."
Of course, in that case there would be a third option: using feet and inches. But the equivalent option in phonetics — SAMPA — is even less widely understood by the populace. So, long live IPA and sound files, death to SAMPA and ad hoc transcriptions! Chameleon 17:38, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
One benefit to ad hoc transcription systems: they can be cross-dialectal, which the IPA cannot. If, for example, ew is the sound in dew, then it doesn't matter whether or not you pronounce that like do, you'll know what's meant. You'll automatically make the adjustments pertinent to your dialect. With the IPA, you'll need separate pronunciation guides for the US, UK, SA, Oz, and anyone else who feels unrepresented. What the IPA's great for is giving the local pronunciations of place names. kwami 08:30, 2005 May 29 (UTC)
One problem with that argument (about meters) is that the Wikipedia article for meter includes everything the average non-metric-educated reader needs to know about the meter before s/he even reaches the table of contents. Contrast that with the article for IPA, which, while it provides a concise table, involves the use of symbols which cannot be alphabetically arranged because they aren't letters. That dramatically increases the time it takes for a reader to reach the goal of figuring out how to pronounce a word, and the use of nonstandard symbols also reduces the likelihood of retention for people visiting just long enough to understand the pronunciation of their particular word of interest. There are alternatives to IPA - the pronunciation keys used by American and British dictionaries have been used for decades with no trouble, and mostly use normal characters from the English alphabet modified with diacriticals, making "translation" much easier. Most English-speaking readers will already be accustomed to these pronunciation keys from childhood, and most people in general using a hard copy of an English dictionary will be faced with one of these keys as well. If IPA must be included, I'd prefer to see it alongside another, more comprehensible, pronunciation key. --Dachannien 21:31, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
The pronunciation keys used in English dictionaries may have some value for describing English words. But they have a great likelihood of failure when applied to foreign words. You may also have noticed that several dictionaries print the explanation of the keys in a footnote on every other page. That's because they are not so obvious and easy to remember either. The IPA has the great advantage that is well standardised and international. Resources to find out definitions, including soundfiles are available to the interested reader. −Woodstone 21:42, July 22, 2005 (UTC)
In the asteroid and moons articles we have both, or in some cases still just the spelling pronunciation. One problem with doing that is that a lot of native English speakers were raised with the IPA (the OED switched over recently), and this is certainly the case for non-native speakers. Also, it seems that no two dictionaries use quite the same system (this may be the main reason for putting the key in the footer, rather than any inherent difficulty). However, the main reason people hate these systems in Wikipedia is because there's almost never a key, and therefore the entries are useless. The pronunciation key we've been using in the astronomy articles has worked well so far, although it's only designed to cover standard US and RP, and probably should be extended. In any case, if people are going to use spelling pronunciations, I'd recommend we come to a consensus as to what they should be, so there's no confusion. Of course, with foreign words, as with the local pronunciations of place or proper names, I think the IPA should be used exclusively. kwami 21:57, 2005 July 22 (UTC)
I personally find the IPA extremely frustrating. I understand its value to linguists, but the Wikipedia is written in English for the average reader. It's great that the IPA is there for those who want it, but having it alongside plain old English dictionary-style pronounciations (even imperfect ones) would be exceedingly welcome. I look up a pronounciation about 5 times a year, and I don't really feel like learning an alphabet and researching fricatives and plosives for 2 hours in order to find out the rough pronounciation of "Bron-Yr-Aur". I just want to pronounce the Zeppelin song half-right, not impress a Welsh speaker, you know? Dharmabum420 23:14, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
The problem with the plain old English dictionary-style transcriptions is that they also have to be learned—they are very confusing to most non-native speakers, because usually non-native speakers don't learn them. ― j. 'mach' wust | 16:21, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
hi. sorry to hear this. have you checked out this page: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation)/IPA vs. other pronunciation symbols? if it is not helpful to you, perhaps you can suggest changes that will make it more helpful. as you can see there isnt one plain old English dictionary-style pronounciation, but rather there are several plain old English dictionary-style pronounciations. of course, there are similarities between all of them. – ishwar  (speak) 23:25, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Russian-English and English-Russian dictionaries usually use IPA and it is a lot easier to read than the ad-hoc transcriptions because I am used to it. Even though it didn't use some of the symbols like turned r (instead using the r) it was still accurate enough for me to realize they are going by UK pronunciation. Now, using the ad-hoc pronunciations it may be difficult to achieve this level of preciseness. I mean, the different dialects of English have different number of phonemes! It's pretty difficult to read the ad-hoc descriptions when your brand of English is different, but it is easy to read the IPA. -Iopq 21:57, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Wow, I totally forgot I posted to this. It's a long belated reply, but I'll go ahead.
  1. Don't get me wrong, I think IPA should be in Wikipedia, and I readily admit its superiourity, I just don't think it should be used exclusively. The vast majority of English WP users are native speakers, and a simple English phonetic description would be helpful. In my example above, when referring to the Led Zeppelin song "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp", do I pronounce Bron-Yr-Aur roughly as "Brawn-ee-or"? "Brawn-yer-our"? It won't be that close to the actual place name, but it's better than just making a guess myself.
  2. The Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation)/IPA vs. other pronunciation symbols is much more helpful, and I'd missed it, thanks. Using it, I've puzzled out "Bron-Yr-Aur" to something like "Brawn-ahr-eyer". It took me several minutes to do so, though.
  3. Once again, I readily concede that IPA is superiour for someone who is already familiar with it, but the vast majority of native English speakers are not, especially those who have never researched another language.
For people like myself, who are infrequently looking up such pronounciations, I'd like to see more attempts at a simple English phonetic transcription alongside the IPA, with a caveat attached about their imperfection. It certainly doesn't limit the IPA-familiar's ability to put their knowledge to use. - dharmabum 00:28, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Plase see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (pronunciation). Alternatives to IPA have been suggested before, and no one has made a proposal for one that is workable. Nohat 07:39, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
This isn't enough of big a deal to me to fight for it. I can tell that I've stumbled across some kind of major policy issue in my desire to be able to pronounce the title of a funky bluegrassy jam roughly as the band intended. I'm not looking for alternatives to IPA, but for (generally World Book-style, I guess) English phonetic accompaniments to IPA on pages without an alternative. I'm worried that there seems to be an attitude that "IPA is the best, and if you're not willing to learn it, that's your problem", which I find kind of disheartening, but for the very few times a year I want to know the pronunciation of a foreign place-name, I'll muddle through with the guides provided. There's still something about it that smacks of exclusivity rather than inclusiveness to me, and I guess that's my major problem, as an encyclopedia is supposed to be of use to the maximum number of readers possible. Anyway, I spent 10 minutes figuring out a bad pronunciation for "Bron-Yr-Aur" I feel comfortable using in talking about a Zep song, and since that was the frustration that caused me to post in the first place, I'm happy enough. - dharmabum 10:22, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Yet another example of Wikipedia's polluted culture. "some kind of major policy issue"? No, just another example of stubborn, anal WikiTrolls being assholes for no reason. It wouldn't kill the IPA lovers to have standard English phonetic guides along with their precious system. The vast majority of Wikipedia readers would like to see in an article about "morning" the standard [môr'ning] (thats supposed to be an accent mark, not an apostrophe), as well as [ɸβ§'_θʃʒØΩ] or whatever psuedo-cryllic shit is supposed to help us figure out how to pronounce things.
I'm not deniying IPA's value as, in fact, an "International Phonetic Alphabet", but as a genuinely useful and easy pronunciation guide for a resource used mostly by native English speakers it is a total f**king joke. But using both is out of the question for the IPA-only snobs.
And some people wonder why Wikipedia has gone from going adored to scorned by many over the past year. It's because of ridiculous shit like this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 209.195.161.155 (talkcontribs) 01:07, 31 March 2006

Sorry, but I'm going to add my two cents to this discussion. I cannot understand IPA, I will never learn IPA (there's no reason to; a widely practiced international language, not considering English, does not exist), and all of the letters used in IPA are derived from alphabet systems of several languages that have their own pronounciation for each letter. It's unreasonable to force someone to learn the pronounciation of each letter of a pseudo-alphabet system that cannot be used to speak a single language.

I don't mean to be culturally biased here, but IPA just seems redundant. The articles are written in English; English is the most commonly spoken auxiliary language in the world. Why shouldn't the English Wikipedia edition use English pronounciation? It's a Communist conspiracy! j/k ;p --Dan Asad 04:45, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Whoah, it's getting hot and heavy. Please folks, even if you're frustrated, try to keep a constructive tone in the discussion. Calling names doesn't help your argument.

Morning is pronounced [ˈmɔrniŋ], I believe. There is no "standard" English phonetic guide or canonical "English pronunciation", but a whole postle of versions; see pronunciation respelling for English for a sampling. They have to be learned just as the representation of English-language phonetics in IPA has to be learned. And anyway pronunciation most often needs to be demonstrated for foreign-language terms which my contain sounds not present in English, nor in the pronunciation schemes used by Webster's et al. That includes, for example, crazy foreign lingos like "Canadian English", which includes the following sounds (full list):

  • ɜː deux
  • ɑ̃ franglais
  • ã Canadien
  • ɔ̃ Brayon

Michael Z. 2006-05-15 05:15 Z

We use IPA on Wikipedia because it conforms the most to our neutral point-of-view policy.
Oh, and it's [ˈmɔɹnɪŋ], without the trill. Denelson83 05:49, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

It doesn't make sense to have an entire encyclopedia written in English with the pronounciation in IPA, claiming that it makes Wikipedia more NPOV. IPA isn't accessible to people, which is general purpose of Wikipedia--to make encyclopedic information accessible to everyone. How about rewritting all of the articles in Esperanto to make The English Wikipedia more NPOV? --Dan Asad 01:37, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Well then, this wouldn't be the English Wikipedia now, would it?
Besides, if you look on pronunciation respelling for English, you get several different points of view on how to write down English pronunciations. We use the IPA because it's the most widely used phonetic transcription system in the world, notwithstanding the fact that it's not widely used in the U.S. Denelson83 02:46, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
The trouble is, conventions for IPA, even broad transcriptions for the same dialect, vary almost as much as the respelling conventions. For example, I've seen the vowel in I transcribed as [ai], [aɪ], [əi], and [aj]. Or look at yourself. Someone writes [ˈmɔrniŋ], you correct it to [ˈmɔɹniŋ], then to [ˈmɔɹnɪŋ]. Of course, all three of those spellings are fine (broad transcriptions frequently used <r> for the most frequent rhotic in a language, in case you don't know; some prefer an [i]/[i:] contrast to a [ɪ]/[i]). But they refute the notion that adopting IPA means using a single system of transcription.--Chris 18:09, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
I made two corrections in two separate edits to that transcription because I didn't notice the wrong symbol for the "i" in morning while making the first edit. Also, I don't recognize the '<r> for most frequent rhotic' rule. For me, it's a strict one-to-one correspondence between symbol and sound. Denelson83 18:35, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I misremembered the rhotic rule: "In broad transcription rhotics are usually symbolised as /r/ unless there are two or more types of rhotic in the same language." But that still makes [ˈmɔrnɪŋ] at least as correct as [ˈmɔɹnɪŋ] (using the slightly weird of WP convention to limit use of // in phonemic transcriptions).--Chris 19:06, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
As Garik mentions below, the same number of transcriptions of "morning" is possible with one of the other dictionary pronunciation systems. IPA happens to be more universal in terms of worldwide adoption, and usable for other languages in addition to just English. Learning basic IPA for English is no harder than learning one of the many other dictionary systems.
I do agree that we need some guidelines regarding how broad an interpretation to use. Simple English words like "morning" should have a very broad transcription, perhaps with a few basic assumptions such as /r/ used to represent the r sound in any English dialect, etc, and placed in slashes /.../ as a reminder. I think /morniŋ/ should be sufficient and useful to English, Irish, Scottish, North American, South African, or Indian readers. Foreign words and detailed English transcriptions, say demonstrating dialect features, ought to be transcribed with more precision and placed in square brackets [...]. Michael Z. 2006-08-16 19:34 Z
I agree with a generic approach to always use /r/ as a token, leaving the level of rhoticity to the reader. However, the proposed rendering of morning as [morniŋ] is too broad in my view. The form [ˈmɔrnɪŋ] seems closer to the right level of precision. −Woodstone 21:38, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Hm. I think in different regional dialects the vowel in "ring" might be [i, ɪ, e], even approach [æ] in the Southern U.S., or some more nuanced [ɪə], if one goes into a lot of phonetic detail. But I would say the principle of keeping it simple makes me still prefer /i/ in this phonemic transcription. If I read /morniŋ/ out loud, it comes out just the way I normally say "morning". This may just be a function of my own accent, though. Michael Z. 2006-08-17 01:24 Z
Hmmm. My explanation doesn't seem quite on the dot. The phoneme /i/ in morning is the same one as in peat [pit], not the one in pit [pɪt]. Michael Z. 2006-08-17 02:56 Z
The CD version of COD has [ˈmɔːnɪŋ]. So it considers the "i" morning to be the one in pit, not peat. −Woodstone 18:25, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
The square brackets imply a phonetic transcription. I wonder if this is a case such as the one described by John Wells of lax vowels becoming tense (search on the page for "Another recent trend is that of pronouncing"). Michael Z. 2006-08-17 19:34 Z
It's possible to devise a decent, broad transcription for English entries (and anglicised versions of non-English entries), it's another thing to get implemented throughout WP. The current transcriptions are all over the map.--CJGB (Chris) 21:57, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I found an example of a broad phonetic transcription schema for IPA which is generalized for all forms of English: The sounds of English and the International Phonetic Alphabet at antimoon.com. It is footnoted with the assumptions it makes. Interestingly, it uses a superscript /r/ to show where rhotic and non-rhotic accents differ, and a regular /r/ where they don't. This may be a good start for an international chart for English pronunciation. Does anyone know of any others to compare? Michael Z. 2006-08-16 23:56 Z
I've made a proposal at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (pronunciation)#Standard for phonemic IPA transcription of international English. Michael Z. 2006-08-17 01:24 Z
There certainly are some odd claims on this page, many apparently by people who don't understand what IPA's about. I get the feeling one or two think it's somehow connected with the establishment of an international language or English spelling-reform. Ummm.... On the topic of 'plain old dictionary transscriptions': this seems to be a US thing. I'd say the majority of quality British dictionaries (I may be wrong) now give pronunciation using IPA and no one here, even non-linguists, seems to have a problem with that. It's really not that hard to learn the basics and once you get used to it, it's honestly easier! As people have already said here, if IPA isn't used, you have to learn whatever system is used anyway. Similarly, issues like how to transcribe 'morning' would, of course, come up in any system. Now come on, surely it's not snobbish to say that if you don't already understand the IPA, then it's a very useful thing to learn. Like basic maths or a bit of French or Spanish (or whatever foreign language) or basic geography. garik 13:43, 20 June 2006 (UTC) (Comment amended by garik at 20:05, 29 June 2006 (UTC))

It is a disaster that we use IPA pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. A grand total of maybe 1,000 people on the Internet will ever have any idea how to use it. Claiming "it's easy" or "it's superior" or "we should lead the way" is hopelessly ivorytowerian. It is safe to say that, statistically speaking, nobody understands it and nobody uses it. We should use simple soundalike pronunciation guides. Wikipedia is not a resource for linguists only. Tempshill 17:25, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

That's just factually incorrect on several points. I'd bet more anglophones are familiar with IPA for English than any single other system, from casual users of dictionaries to professionals like linguists and speech therapists. Sound-alike pronunciation might be a useful supplement for some English words, but is not suitable for any dictionary or encyclopedia; a technical system is necessary. Even putting IPA's ubiquity aside, there would be no point in readers having to learn one system for English and another (it would necessarily be IPA) for transcriptions of words from every other language. Finally, I doubt that any other system would even be suitable for articles about the finer points of English pronunciation or articles about things like speech impediments. Michael Z. 2006-08-16 19:34 Z

Labiodental flap image

I've put Image:Labiodental flap (IPA).png into the appropiate table cell, replacing v̛ (v, combining horn), since that new sign is not a combination with horn, but a right hook ‘v’ [1] which is not yet included in unicode.

I don't understand why the image was placed immediately preceding the table. I've removed it from that position since it occulted part of the table on my firefox and because this is not its place.

I've tried to give the image an em size, but that didn't work, so I just gave it a px size I thought might be fitting, but I'm not sure of that. -- j. 'mach' wust | 16:50, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

I used the combining horn because that was the closest approximation to a right hook that I could find in Unicode.  Denelson83  19:53, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
I tried putting the image in the table, but I didn't know any way to do it and also retain the link to the article. So I moved the image to the right margin of the article, next to the table (it displays fine on my browser, which is also firefox).
It's very convenient to be able to click on a cell in the table and be taken to the appropriate article. Unless we can figure out a way to do this with the image, I suggest returning to Denelson's ad hoc solution. kwami 22:03, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
I dislike that ad hoc solution because it is simply wrong. The character has nothing to do with a horn. I also dislike it because I consider it qualifies as original research (“data, statements, concepts and ideas that have not been published in a reputable publication”). According to labiodental flap, the ad hoc transcription that is actually used is v̆.
I don't feel too bad about that image not linking to labiodental flap, since a link to that page can be found on the image's page (we might put it there more prominently).
Another possibility would be not to have any representation at all of the labiodental flap in the table, but only a see below remark or something alike. A use of v̆ would also require such a remark. -- j. 'mach' wust | 10:53, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
Put in a small image with a link through the dagger next to it. kwami 02:58, 11 December 2005 (UTC)


No help for newbs!

I'm not a linguist; I just wanted to show the correct pronunciation for "Fodor's" (the publisher) using the recommended IPA. After an hour of reading and trying, I gave up. It's not that I have a problem with (other) pronunciation keys, it's that the articles are written for those already versed in the subject. After I found simplified key, I either misunderstood or it was incomplete (couldn't find the "er" sound). When it came time to write the pronunciation into the article, I was totally lost!

I'm sure IPA isn't that hard, it's just that the existing resources are of no use for casual readers (especially those who don't have an hour to waste!). As it stands, it is useless for the casual reader. This isn't idle criticism; I'm more than willing to help out and take orders if it helps make IPA easier to understand. Just let me know how I can help. :) —Foofy 00:51, 11 November 2005 (UTC) (BTW, I originally posted this elsewhere but I figured it would get more attention here.)

I added the pronunciation for "Fodor's" for you. You might want to use the IPA chart for English to help you out in the future.
By the way, the "er" sound in General American English actually uses one of two symbols. In stressed syllables, the "er" sound is represented in the IPA by /ɝ/, while in unstressed syllables, /ɚ/ is used.
 Denelson83  01:39, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
Hm. That article is the first time I've a distinction for stressed and unstressed syllabic /r/. Isn't that a little redundant?
Anyway, the article International Phonetic Alphabet for English may be of use. We should link to one of these at the top of the IPA article, for people who want to actively learn the IPA, like Foofy here. What do you think, Denelson? kwami 01:48, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
I'd say go for it.  Denelson83  02:50, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
It's good to include links to these pages in the introduction to this article, but there's no need to link it twice. -- j. 'mach' wust | 11:42, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, but I still have a lot of questions. For instance, it shows three different letters: RP, GenAm, and AuE. What's the difference? What am I supposed to use? Also, what are the slashes (//) around the pronunciation for? Foofy 18:51, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
And also, how do you type them? Foofy 18:53, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
RP, GenAm, and AuE refer to different dialects of English. They are the British, American, and Australian accents respectively. Pronunciations enclosed in slashes are called "phonemic transcriptions", meaning each character in the pronunciation is a standalone sound in the dialect you are transcribing. This contrasts with "phonetic transcriptions", which can show exact variant pronunciations of a word within a dialect, and are enclosed in square brackets [].
With regard to being able to type these characters, I will see if I can get someone to add them to the "character palette" just below the edit box, as is done on Wiktionary.  Denelson83  20:19, 14 November 2005 (UTC) (Amended by Denelson83 at 20:49, 14 November 2005 (UTC))
about which dialect to use, just use whichever you want. if you add all 3 to an article, then you will be a bit more inclusive than many dictionaries that just restrict their pronunciations to a specific audience. (after all, Wikipedia seems to be rather global, dont you think?)
if you dont want to learn what a phoneme is, then you can just think of the slashes as the basic way to indicate pronunciation & then always enclose your pronunciations with the slashes. if you see the brackets, then you know that you being shown a pronunciation with a lot of phonetic detail.
for how to type the characters, see the following site http://www.alanwood.net/unicode/utilities.html.
Denelson83: i think that is a good idea (adding to the character palette).
peace – ishwar  (speak) 20:38, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Also note that the amount of detail and exact transcription can be a matter of style, a very broad transcription may express the pronunciation in several or all English dialects, and may be easier to understand. Fodor's (if I'm reading the transcription correctly) could be simplified to /foʊdəɹz/ or even /foʊdərz/, where the /r/ is just generic, and you can roll it if you're Scottish, or leave it out if you're English.

I think it could be useful to build a still-simpler chart for very broad transcriptions of English, merging AmE, AuE, and BrE, if possible (does anyone know this well enough to add CaE?), to be used like the tables of phonemes at the bottom of a dictionary page. Might be nice to put this into a minimal pop-up window for reference.

I'm not quite clear on when to use [ ] or / /. I understand that slashes are for a looser phonemic transcription, but apparently IPA recommends using brackets unless you really know what you're talking about. Michael Z. 2005-11-14 22:22 Z

Well, the / / doesn't mean the transcription is "looser". In fact, quite the opposite: with phonemic notation, you're being exacting. Each symbol stands for a phoneme. There is no extraneous information, but neither is anything left out. But it doesn't have to have much to do with the actual pronunciation of the word. Instead, it represents the author's theoretical claims as to the building blocks of the word. In this vein, "Fodor's" could be written /=$%&@#/, as long as those symbols are defined as English phonemes. It's entirely theory-dependent, and some of these "theories" (it would be better to say "models") can be ridiculous. For example, Chomsky (a respected linguist) transcribed "night" as /nixt/. In his model, /x/ is often silent, but shows itself by lengthening the preceding vowel, and long /i/ is pronounced [aj]. So phonemic /nixt/ = phonetic [najt]. (I told you they can be ridiculous!)
If you just want to indicate the pronunciation, no matter how loosely ("broadly") or tightly ("narrowly"), then you use brackets: ['fodrz]. That's pretty broad, but a native speaker will know exactly what's meant. Or you could add more phonetic detail to help the non-native speaker. How much detail you add has nothing to do with theory, but only with what you're trying to convey to your audience. kwami 23:14, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, Kwami. I know you've explained some of this to me before, but this helps, especially with the example which makes clear what is not phonetic.
Would be true then, that most transcriptions where we are demonstrating pronunciation at the top of an article should be in brackets? It seems a bit counter-intuitive, because I would think that I can write /'fodrz/, not caring whether you take the phoneme /r/ to be an American retroflex r, an English silent r, or a Scottish rolled r—are these not all allophones, that is, the same phoneme? Michael Z. 2005-11-15 02:41 Z
Yes. Whenever one is in doubt about how to transcribe the pronunciation of a word, (s)he should default to using square brackets.  Denelson83  03:49, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
The problem Michael is that the IPA doesn't work well in cross-dialectal situations. ['fodrz] is simply wrong in non-rhotic dialects (or so I would assume; I don't speak one myself), but /'fodrz/ doesn't work either, because not all dialects have the same phonemes. For example, that syllabic r could correspond to three vowel-ar combinations in Scottish. People have tried using the IPA as a kind of spelling pronunciation, neither phonemic nor phonetic. With some words that works well, but in others it doesn't. There have been long discussions on what to do in wikipedia in such cases, and if I remember correctly the conclusion was to use a very broad transcription in brackets, and to give alternate GA and RP pronunciations if necessary. kwami 03:11, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
hi. here is something that shows IPA & its corresponding symbols in a few dictionaries: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation)/IPA vs. other pronunciation symbols. – ishwar  (speak) 07:40, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
Excellent idea! I helped clean up a few omissions, and added some convenience to it. I sure hope this new page will get a lot of views.  Denelson83  08:19, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

I can guess theorigin of /x/ Kha (Cyrillic) looks like and is pron(o)unced the same as /x/ Geego 17:36, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Dvorak pronunciation

Hey! Thanks again for all year help earlier. I'm able to write pronunciations for a lot of things now, but I recently got stuck on one for "Dvorak" (the keyboard, not the composer). It's pronounced more like the columnist, "door" with a v after the d, and ack for the second sylable. The best I can come up with is /d'vʊɹæk/, which is almost the same as what is in Wiktionary, but it seems like there should be less seperation between the d and the v sound? I know I don't say "duh-vor-ak", the d and the v are kind of merged. Any input would be appreciated, still trying to learn here.  :) --Foofy 22:03, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

Just write the stroke for stress before the [d]. That shows that the [d] is part of the stressed syllable.
I've never heard the keyboard pronounced, so I can only go by the name. The closest I assimilate it to English is [ˈdvɔɹʒæk]. According to the OED and Merriam Webster's, the [d] is optional. Webster's has [ˈvɔɹˌʒæk] and [dəˈvɔɹˌʒæk]. The OED gives the pronunciations [vɔːʒæk], [dvɔːʒæk], [vɔːʒɑːk], and [dvɔːʒɑːk]. (All for the name.) kwami 00:04, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
The keyboard is named after an American engineer, and isn't pronounced with the Czech rʒ sound. I think just ['dvoræk] or ['dvoɹæk] will do. Michael Z. 2005-11-27 00:29 Z
Thank you! Just a quick question, what is the difference between /or/ and /oɹ/ in your above examples? Also, was I wrong to use /ʊɹ/ in my version? I'm just curious, still trying to figure out the basics.  :) --Foofy 06:53, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
[ʊɹ] is the sound in poor for those who pronounce it differently than pour~pore. [r] is a trill, while [ɹ] is the English r. For a phonemic transcription, it doesn't matter, because English doesn't contrast them. Some people prefer /r/ because it's easier to type, and some prefer /ɹ/ because it's closer to a transcription. You could write it /4/ if you wanted! kwami 07:21, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
I prefer to write [r] when you just mean "an r sound", and [ɹ] when it's important to indicate the American r sound, and not an English or Scottish r sound. I don't know if I expressed that clearly. Michael Z. 2005-11-27 08:15 Z
Just a little comment: If it were in Czech (and the name does come from Czech), the /r/ (or /ř/ as it's written in Czech) would be pronounced as a raised alveolar (non-sonorant) vibrant (voiced or voiceless), i.e. [r̝]. In Czech, it has a voiceless allophone when following or preceding voiceless consonants, being voice elsewhere. I can't write it using this font, but in words like [br̝iːzɛ] (i.e. dative singular of "birch") it's voiced, whereas in expressions like [pr̝iːzɛ] it's voiceless.--Pet'usek 10:34, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

images

I'm redoing the images of the consonant table, to take care of the shading discrepancy, and while I'm at it, adding the new symbol. kwami 21:03, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Okay, I'm posting the pulmonic consonant chart first, since I haven't finished the rest. (I want to add more contour tones, since the Doulos SIL font now supports tone letters.)
I've changed the layout to an alternate version sometimes seen when teaching historical linguistics. Stop rows remain adjacent, but the plosive, fricative, and approximant rows are now also adjacent. (In order to do this, I separated out the lateral rows at the bottom.) There are four benefits to laying the chart out this way:
  • Lenition processes (plosive → fricative → approximant) are now easy to follow by moving down the chart;
  • The raising/lowering diacritics now correspond better to moving up & down the chart (trills need to be below fricatives for this reason);
  • The symbols that are linked to signify affricates are now adjacent;
  • The symbols that officially stand for both fricative and approximant no longer need to be duplicated.
I've also entered the "glottals" as both fricative/approximant, though of course they're really neither and properly belong in an 'other' chart.
Comments? kwami 00:53, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Okay, full chart is up. More examples of contour tones, and diacritics classified by function. One possible error: the upstep & downstep symbols perhaps shouldn't be raised this high. kwami 01:52, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
The new chart could use some anti-aliasing.  Denelson83  03:02, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
It was created with Acrobat's automatic filtering. Here's a version with up filtering instead. kwami 07:26, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

What's the source of the "Light grey letters are unofficial extensions of the IPA"? ― j. 'mach' wust | 12:43, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

These are the ad hoc symbols found in the various articles and linked from the hypertext chart, where they're marked by asterisks. I'm trying to keep the two charts in sync. Some, such as the labiodental plosives and the strident diacritic, are found in Maddieson & Ladefoged's SOWL; others are from publications on languages such as Toda & Iwaidja that have extra-IPA phonemes. These aren't Americanist or anything, just IPA transcriptions where an extra symbol or two was needed. (I once created an extended Keil IPA font with some of these symbols for a phonologist writing on Toda, so there is a call for this.) I need to remove the hook-w. It's included in the new Doulos IPA font and I stuck it in at the last minute while preparing the chart, but now that I review it I see that the proposal for the labiodental flap suggested using an advancing diacritic on the labiodental for the bilabial rather than a separate symbol.
The cells that are linked in the hypertext chart but blank in the PDF chart are ones I've never come across symbols for, or which I've only seen indicated with diacritics, such as the voiced lateral fricatives. (Archi is illustrated in SOWL with a raised small cap el for a voiced velar lateral fricative, for example, so that hasn't been included.) kwami 19:08, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Suggestion for new article

Since we seem to get quite regularly complaints on this page about how the IPA is obscure/obtuse/obfuscated and not obvious, perhaps we should collect all the information and responses to this and put them in their own article, such as pronunciation key, which could have a discussion of the different methods used by different dictionaries, a comparison of the systems used and their relation to IPA. Something along the lines of Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation)/IPA vs. other pronunciation symbols, but with an eye to being an encyclopedia article about the topic of pronunciation keys and their pros and cons rather than a project namespace information page. Does anyone like this idea? Nohat 05:51, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Be bold, Nohat. Go right ahead. :)  Denelson83  05:52, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I like the idea. I think it would be appropiate to name that article traditional English dictionary transcription systems or whatever the most readily understandable name is. I guess there's not an unambiguous term for it, as there's not one single system, but it's the same idea that is being used on and on, so it deserves a lemma. Traditional pronunciation transcription systems for English? non-IPA pronunciation transcription for English? English pronunciation transcription systems based on traditional spelling? phonetic alphabets based on traditional English spelling? It's hard to find an appropiate lemma. ― j. 'mach' wust | 10:10, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
In Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation), they were mentioned as ad-hoc pronunciation guides, but I consider this name very inappropiate because the point is that these systems are not ad-hoc, but widely used in dictionaries (though with much variation). ― j. 'mach' wust | 10:19, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I believe they're generally called spelling pronunciations - that is, using the language's normal orthography to indicate pronunciation. They might be called ad hoc in the Manual of Style because the pronunciations added to wikipedia articles often are ad hoc. kwami 10:43, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
FWIW, American Heritage Dictionary calls theirs a "pronunciation key". Merriam-Webster Collegiate just calls theirs "pronunciation symbols". I have also seen it called a "phonetic respelling". If I do create an article in the near future, I'll probably go with "pronunciation key" for the article title. If, as the article evolves, a better name becomes apparent, we can always move it. Nohat 17:31, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
I think respelling is a term more precise than spelling pronunciation pronunciation spelling, although perhaps less obvious. Joestynes 17:41, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
The lemma pronunciation key seems much too broad to me. IPA is a pronunciation key as well. Appearently, the article already exists, and its name is spelling pronunciation. However, I'd rather rename it to English spelling pronunciation or something alike, since both the existing article and what we're talking about here is only about English. ― j. 'mach' wust | 19:40, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
No, spelling pronunciation means pronouncing a word the way it's spelled; what you want is pronunciation spelling. I definitely disagree about renaming it to include "for English"; a separate (linked) article would be better. In principle pronunciation spelling is possible in any language; even those with phonetically-transparent spelling may use it as an adhoc guide for pronouncing words in foreign languages. Joestynes 08:47, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
I apologize for messing up word order... Certainly, it is possible to have pronunciation spelling in any orthography, in principle. My point was that we're only talking about English pronunciation spelling here, and the article pronunciation spelling is only about English pronunciation spelling as well.
I don't understand what seperate linked article you're proposing. The name of the article pronunciation spelling suggests that its content would not be restricted to a particular language. However, it really is restricted to English. There's nothing wrong with having a special article only about English pronunciation spelling because only (American) English dictionaries continue using it regularly and because this is the point of this whole debate, but that article should be honest enough to bear its proper name. ― j. 'mach' wust | 14:46, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Regarding the general point of the prevalence of respelling: this is not simply theoretical. I was looking at a Polish-to-English phrasebook last week which gave as its pronunciation guide Polish-style respellings of all the English phrases. This is very common in "pocket" dictionaries and tourist guidebooks in many languages. Regarding the name of the article: the fact that the current examples are all in English is understandable given that this is the English Wikipedia, but is not essential to the meaning of the phrase and may not be the case in future. On the contrary, to include "English" in the name of this article would give a misleading impression that the phenomenon was unique to English, and preclude anyone from adding at a future date any information relating to respelling practices in other languages. I have no objection to a new article called Respelling systems in English or similar; I do have an objection to hijacking an existing article which is about something different (albeit related). Joestynes 15:01, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

It seems to that in the above there is no real controversy, but just some confusion. There can be:

Woodstone 21:15, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes. Joestynes 16:47, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

After a long pause I have now copied the text at Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation)/IPA vs. other pronunciation symbols into a new article Pronunciation respelling for English. I have added a column for the Concise Oxford Dictionary and will do the proposed rename of pronunciation spelling into Pronunciation respelling. −Woodstone 14:41, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

too large

This page is very big (70 kB); what about move the description into other article?--Daniel bg 10:16, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Pharyngeal plosive

I see that a pharyngeal plosive has been "judged to be impossible" on the official IPA chart, but I've also read recently that it does exist. TIPA even has a symbol for it, found on page 41 of its manual [2], which also gives a few references. However, there is also a sentence "...I'm not sure about the difference between an epiglottal plosive and a pharyngeal stop." Is this a real sound? Should the appropriate spot in the chart be unshaded and an asterisk link be added (as has been done for the labiodental plosives)? Ardric47 00:43, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

I believe Kwami said that the actual sound being referenced in that part of the chart was indeed the epiglottal plosive.
Also, remember that we don't have the "official" IPA chart per se here on Wikipedia. If you want the straight goods, you can go here.
BTW, that symbol for a "voiceless pharyngeal plosive" does not have a source. --  Denelson83  01:39, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Three references are given in footnote 18. Ardric47 07:05, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
References to 'pharyngeal stops' in the literature (for example for Chechen) are actually epiglottal - traditionally subsumed under the label 'pharyngeal'. Ladefoged believes true pharyngeal stops are unlikely if not impossible. At least, no pharyngeal stop is attested from any language that L has been able to track down. kwami 06:59, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Some of the Taiwanese languages have odd laryngeal stops. We've added a place of articulation just for them. But they aren't pharyngeal in the normal sense of the word. Maybe we should add a note about small-cap Q in that article? kwami 08:29, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Character Encoding and Viewing

Would someone PLEASE set a standard for character sets in these pages? I was eventually able to view the IPA characters in Unicode, yet somehow some characters still rendered themselves as a little hollow square. Maybe I have a corrupt or incomplete character set, or maybe those squares were the result of their authors' incorrect encoding. I cannot tell, and feel it unfair that I should lose out.

Furthermore, I recommend that the revised article be clearly headed with an advisory banner along the lines of 'This page should be viewed using the Unicode character set. Please adjust your browser settings or see here [whatever link is appropriate].' --die Baumfabrik 17:43, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Are you using Internet Explorer? You might have more luck with a modern browser such as Konqueror, Opera, or Firefox. kwami 18:01, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Yup, MSIE/Win version 6.0 has some "deficiencies" in rendering Unicode characters. It's not smart enough to pick a font for the display of individual characters on its own, but that may not be the problem here.
The page does have an embedded code indicating the character set as UTF-8, and I think it should have sufficient workarounds in it to accommodate MSIE, but you may still be missing fonts which contain all of the characters on the page. Try downloading and installing one of the following fonts: Gentium, Code2000, or TITUS Cyberbit Basic. Michael Z. 2006-03-03 18:48 Z

principles of formation

In this section it sais that this is a "selective language". Do any of you know of any IPA like systems that aren't selective? If you do please tell me. Ozone 02:42, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Canepari's system is intended to be purely phonetic. It's linked in the refs. kwami 03:29, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I have been to that site but I have been incapable of finding a simple chart like the that is provided for the IPA. Could you help me find that. Ozone 01:00, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not aware of any such chart. kwami 01:14, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
hi. his vowel & consonant charts are in the following pdf documents (linked to from within his site):
by the way User Ozone, if you are interested (and dont know), he has published a book before these newest ones where he first introduced his phonetic classifications. there were some reviews (both positive & negative) in the IPA journal several years ago. – ishwar  (speak) 01:25, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks that seems like it will fit my needs. So this system differentiates between things such as flap and tap T right? (-Ozone-)
Yes, he does distinguish between those sounds (some others do, too). He makes some distinctions that others do not, and also some make distinctions that he doesnt (for example, I think some of J. C. Catford's descriptions of Caucasian languages seem very good and precise — perhaps more detailed than Canepari's treatments, although I havent compared really). A big complaint about Canepari is his symbols: it is very hard when writing by hand to make all of these small changes in character small (it's of course easier on a word processor). I like many things about Canepari's vowel classification, although from what I see on his site, I dont see where he details exactly his x-ray methodology (he says that he put a small chain with lead beads on his tongue & x-rayed his head). peace – ishwar  (speak) 20:03, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

About Capital letters......

So, do capital letters exist for IPA letters?--ikiroid | (talk) 15:46, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

No. IPA characters, when used as such, are never capitalized. There are a few IPA characters that look like small-caps letters, such as ʀ, ʟ, ɪ, but they are characters of their own.
If I remember correctly, there are some newly created orthographies of previously unwritten languages, for instance in Africa, that have adopted characters from IPA and turned them into letters of their normal alphabets. These then do get capitalized, according to the normal rules. I seem to remember there's a capital version of ŋ somewhere in Unicode, and maybe a few other such cases. Hope this helps. Lukas (T.|@) 16:00, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, Kabye is one (the language of former president Eyadema of Togo). It has Ɔ Ɛ Ŋ Ɣ Ʃ (capital ʃ). Other caps supported by unicode are Ɓ Ɗ Ə/Ǝ Ɠ Ħ Ɯ Ɲ Ɵ Ʈ Ʊ Ʋ Ʒ. kwami 22:28, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Nifty! —Nightstallion (?) 10:03, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Transliterating from answers.com pronounciation key

Answers.com has a pronunciation key, is there anyone willing to assist me in transliterating it to the IPA standard, or pinpointing what the deviations are? For one, I noticed that they use the English "J" sound which is unusual for most sets of phonic characters.

If we can do this, many biographical entries from there that have a guide to pronoucing the names could serve as a starting point for wikipedia editors to add IPA characters to behind the inital instance of names in biographical article entires here that don't have any. Nagelfar 12:47, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, no time right now, but you might want to work with the International Phonetic Alphabet for English and Pronunciation respelling for English articles rather than this one. kwami 16:15, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
hi. Answers.com follows the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (AHD) except for 3 sounds. it uses
  • (the IPA symbol) ʊ instead of AHD o͝o
  • ū instead of AHD o͞o
  • (IPA) ər instead of ər
for the rest see: Pronunciation respelling for English. – ishwar  (speak) 16:24, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
"Pronunciation respelling for English", that's exactly what I was looking for, thanks! Nagelfar 20:02, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

added the Izhitsa (Ѵ)

I added the Izhitsa (Ѵ) symbol to the chart, and added a note that it may be used instead of the picture until the proper symbol is encoded as it looks identical to the new IPA symbol. If there's any problem in that please contact me through my talk page. +Hexagon1 (talk) 12:40, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

What is [ɪ]?

I notice the OED uses the character [ɪ] with a horizontal slash, i.e. something like [ɪ], but I don't see any notice of it on this page. Is it simply a variant of [ɨ]? Dforest 07:30, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Almost, but not quite, or so I remember. I haven't seen it for a while, but my guess is that it's a type of schwa. Many English speakers have two phonemic schwa sounds, a closer vowel something like i in bit (but centralized), and a more open sound something like u in but. [ɪ] is the bit-like sound. That is, it is to [ɪ] what [ɨ] is to [i]. kwami 10:28, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
According to the OED pronunciation guide, it means "free variation between /ɪ/ and /ə/". In English accents with both /ɪ/ and /ə/ in weak syllables, there's a lot of variation as to which words have which, and I presume that's why the OED uses a cover syllable for some words. For example, one of the "British" pronunciations they give for minuscule is /ˈmɪnɪskjuːl/. --JHJ 17:00, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Caucasianist vs. IPA transcriptions

Hello everyone. I find the transcription used in Caucasian linguistics quite puzzling. Could anybody help me? You can find the symbols and their descriptions here (pages 11-20 and further). How should I transcribe their "emphatic laryngeals"? Any what about their numerous "hissing-husshing" sounds? Tenseness, glottalic consonants, quite a number of laterals...I'm able to transcribe most of them, but I have to admit I haven't been able to transcribe all of them. Any help or advice will be much appreciated. Thank you in advance.--Pet'usek 10:42, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Boy, that terminology is terrible, isn't it?

The emphatic laryngeals look like epiglottals at first glance - check Ubyx & other NWC langs for them. The 'hissing-hushing' sounds are basically laminal postalveolars, but contrast with similar sounds in some langs. Ladefoged & Maddieson discuss Catford's description of them in SOWL. No IPA symbol. The 'tense' consonants may simply be geminate, though some argue that they're strongly articulated (double under-stroke diacritic). kwami 11:37, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Speech synthesizer for IPA

The article says IPA can accurately represent the pronounciation of all languages. If that is true, then it should be a deterministic process to synthesize a pronounciation based on the IPA notation. For example, one should be able to cut and paste a sequence of IPA into a website and it reads it out accurately using computer synthesized speech. Does such a software exist? At first glance, the IPA is awefully hard to learn. A speech synthesizer would be a very helpful learning aid. I saw a link to some sound files per individual alphabet, but it is not like reading out any combination of IPA. Kowloonese 00:41, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

It could be done, but it would not sound natural. kwami 07:19, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
If such software exist, it should be linked to the article. Kowloonese 17:34, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Featured and Good article

I was wondering why this article wasn't at least one of the two? Does anyone else support nomination? Which of the two would be most appropriate at this point in time, if any?--Andrew c 01:01, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

It could almost certainly be a Good article - just nominate it. It is near Featured article-standard, but I expect there would be objections over the lack of footnotes. I see there was a Wikipedia:Peer review a few months ago - the comments there were that some history was needed (there is a link to the history article, but a summary here would be nice) and that the article is too dense and further explanatory text is needed. -- ALoan (Talk) 11:35, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Hmm... doing a bit more reseach, the GA seem to discourage long articles like this, and redirect people to peer-review and FA. Maybe this article can be tweeked a bit then nominated for FA and see where it stands?Andrew c 21:56, 24 May 2006 (UTC)


Thin ear needed

Hi, I'd like to invite a phonetics expert with a thin ear to resolve some doubts we have on Talk:Serbo-Croatian language. Basically, we agree that we hear different L's in Bulgarian and Serbian versions of a text, but can't find out what's the phonetic source of the difference. Thanks in advance, Duja 13:02, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

I'm moving this to the language reference desk.--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 02:38, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

And where's that? Denelson83 03:36, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language#Thin ear needed. Duja 07:19, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Phonetic vs Phonemic contrast

wouldn't it be best to use a theory-neutral example of this rather than one stemming from generative phonology? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nnn9245 (talkcontribs) 22:08, 13 June 2006

Featured article work

I've read and reread this article at least a dozen times since I've been on wikipedia. It has the potential to be a featured article, but there are some thorns that are preventing it from reaching that status. So here, I'm gonna outline the cleanup path.--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 22:52, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Current Status

  1. Start a new article: Done.
  2. Do some research: Done, but not referenced fact-for-source.
  3. Write a great article: Two-thirds there....
  4. Check against the featured article criteria:
  5. Get creative feedback:(Completed once, needs to be done again)
  6. Apply for featured article status:
  7. Featured articles:

Tasks to be completed

We currently need the following tasks to be completed before we consider nominating this page for featured article status:

  • De-jargonizing the article. A quick look at this article's peer review shows that the reviewers were turned off by the weighted sentences heavily coated in complex facts. Let's bring it close to the casual reader's vernacular.....not necissarily on the level of simple english, but a bit easier than what we have now.--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 22:52, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Reference each major or potentially controversial fact. I'm not quite sure how this could be done, but this article has dozens of references which are not cited at all in the text. Perhaps sifting through the article's history could reveal which is which?--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 22:52, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

How to divide into seperate articles....?

Obviously, this article is much too large. I've already put one section on naming conventions into its own article. However, I'm not really sure of where to go from here. Which sections can be sufficiently trimmed down to a summary, without removing important information? I'm too into the IPA to really determine what isn't important or interesting to the topic at large.--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 20:21, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm not for cutting up this article in pieces, but there are some sections that could be split off, without doing too much damage. It would reduce the size by about 35%:
  • new article Special IPA features, containing
    • Extended IPA (for disordered speech)
    • Diacritics
    • Extended diacritics
    • Prosodic diacritics
  • new article Obsolete IPA features, consisting of section
    • obsolete, non-standard symbols (etc)
Woodstone 21:43, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Do you think the tables in these sections should be kept here or moved to their own page? On one hand, it will save space and confusion, on the other hand, it may detract from the integrity of the article.--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 15:02, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Surely splitting off the obsolete features into its own article will not harm the integrity. For the more esoteric features in the other sections named above, I think they are used rarely enough not to do much harm when moved into another detail article. All the remaining material should stay together in my opinion. −Woodstone 19:17, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Do we really need the "Types of transcription" section? How relevant is it to the main topic? I believe most of the (admittedly well-written) material in that section should be moved to the phonetic transcription page (which, in any case, needs some fixing up). --Siva 19:52, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

I'll start to migrate it.--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 15:33, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Naming issue for subarticles

Some of the names of these sub articles are getting pretty long. Should I abreviate "International Phonetic Alphabet" in the title as "IPA"?--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 15:33, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I think that would be prudent. -- Denelson83 18:57, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
OK, I'll move 'em to their new names and put the old ones on RfD.--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 20:15, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

IPA dictionary?

Is there someplace you can have people create IPA pronunciations for words? I found an IPA dictionary site, however I do not know how to get the text into wikipeida. I am looking for the pronounciation of Minnesota -Ravedave 05:16, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

[ˌmɪnəˈsoʊɾə]. -- Denelson83 05:32, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Thank you, excellent! How about teaching me to fish though as well, metaphorically? :) -Ravedave 05:42, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Timothy Montler's http://129.120.44.33/phun/ (broad) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 71.158.169.191 (talkcontribs) .
That doesn't give the same results as what Denelson gave. The site I posted gives the correct result, but I can't cut and paste it here. -Ravedave 21:27, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Um… You could try writing a Perl script to convert the result into Unicode. I'm sure a lot of other people would also find that helpful. --Siva 19:36, 24 July 2006 (UTC)