Extensions to the International Phonetic Alphabet

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Extensions to the International Phonetic Alphabet (extIPA symbols for disordered speech) were designed for disordered speech. Some of the symbols are occasionally used for transcribing details of normal speech as well.

Most sounds not found in non-disordered speech are indicated with diacritics, though a few additional letters are used.

Three rows appear in the extIPA chart that do not occur in the IPA chart: "fricative lateral + median" (simultaneous grooved and lateral frication), "fricative nasal" (a.k.a. nareal fricative) and "percussive".

The columns of the extIPA chart are, in order:

  • bilabial
  • labiodental
  • dentolabial
  • labioalveolar
  • linguolabial
  • interdental
  • bidental
  • alveolar
  • palatal
  • velar
  • velopharyngeal


ʩ Voiceless velopharyngeal fricative or 'snort' (snoring sound; often occurs with a cleft palate)
ʪ Voiceless grooved lateral alveolar fricative, [ɬ͡s] (a laterally lisped /s/, with simultaneous airflow through the sibilant groove in the tongue and across the side of the tongue) intended for a lateral lisp
ʫ Voiced grooved lateral alveolar fricative, [ɮ͡z] (a laterally lisped /z/)
ʬ Bilabial percussive (smacking lips)
ʭ Bidental percussive (gnashing teeth)
¡ Sublaminal lower-alveolar percussive (tongue slap)
ʞ Voiceless velodorsal stop (the soft palate moves, contacting the static dorsum of the tongue)[1]

The symbol ¡ is used with the alveolar click for [ǃ¡], an alveolar click with a percussive release, a "cluck".


The ExtIPA has widened the use of some of the regular IPA symbols, such as ʰp for pre-aspiration, for uvularization, or for a linguolabial sibilant, as well as adding some new ones. Some of the ExtIPA diacritics are occasionally used for non-disordered speech, for example for the unusual airstream mechanisms of Damin.

One modification is the use of subscript parentheses around the phonation diacritics to indicate partial phonation; a single parenthesis at the left or right of the voicing indicates that it is partially phonated at the beginning or end of the segment. These conventions may be convenient for representing various voice onset times. Phonation diacritics may also be prefixed or suffixed rather than placed directly under the segment to represent relative timing.

Partial (de)voicing[2]
₍s̬₎ partial/central voicing of [s] ₍z̥₎ partial/central devoicing of [z]
₍s̬ initial voicing ₍z̥ initial devoicing
s̬₎ final voicing z̥₎ final devoicing
 ̬z pre-voiced [z] z ̬ post-voiced [z]
a ̰ [a] with a creaky offglide

The transcriptions for partial voicing and devoicing may be used in either the sense of degrees of voicing or in the sense that the voicing is discontinuous. For the former, both parentheses indicate the sound is mildly (partially) voiced throughout, and single parentheses mean a partial degree of voicing at the beginning or end of the sound. For the latter, both parentheses mean the sound is (de)voiced in the middle, while the single parentheses mean complete (de)voicing at the beginning or end of the sound.

Altering the position of the diacritic relative to the letter indicates that the voicing begins before the consonant or vowel does, or continues beyond it. Presumably the voiceless ring and other phonation diacritics can be used in the same way if needed.

Other ExtIPA diacritics are:

Airstream mechanism
p↓ Ingressive airflow ǃ↑ Egressive airflow
[3] Unaspirated ʰp Pre-aspiration
n͋    v͋ Nareal fricative (audible turbulent airflow through the nostrils, as with a nasal lisp) Velopharyngeal friction (turbulent airflow through the velopharyngeal port at the back of the nose)
Denasal (as with a headcold; complements the nasal diacritic)
Articulatory strength
Strong articulation (not necessarily fortis) Weak articulation (not necessarily lenis)
Dentolabial n̪͆    h̪͆ Interdental (on a coronal letter) or bidental (on a glottal letter)
s͇    f͇ Alveolar (labioalveolar on a labial letter, as with a severe overbite) Whistled
Labial spreading (complements the diacritics for rounding – see rounded vowel)
s͢θ Slurred/sliding articulation (a consonantal diphthong, moving from one articulation to another within the time of a single segment) p\p\p Stutter (reiterated articulation)[4]

The VoQS voice-quality symbols take IPA and extended-IPA diacritics, but also take several additional diacritics. It is not clear if these are ever used on IPA letters as opposed to voice-quality symbols, though two are superscript IPA letters and so could be expected to be used via normal IPA conventions. These are:

Vꟹ – open-rounded labialized voice (contrasting with close-rounded ◌ʷ – that is, [◌ʷ̜] or perhaps the compressed equivalent)
Vᶹ – labiodentalized voice

Other diacritics are either unique to VoQs or would be ambiguous with existing IPA conventions:

– whispery voice (diacritic sometimes used for retroflex)
Vᴴfaucalized voice (it does not involve epiglottal trill as the superscript IPA letter ʜ would suggest, though the older transcription Vꟸ would avoid that problem)
V!harsh voice (this may be a different understanding of "harsh" than that used cross-linguistically, which may be the same as "ventricular", next)
V‼ventricular phonation
V̬‼diplophonia (as in Overtone singing (throat singing))
J͕, J͔ – jaw offset to the left or right, respectively

Prosodic notation[edit]

The Extended IPA has adopted bracket notation from conventions transcribing discourse. Parentheses are used to indicate mouthing (silent articulation), as in (ʃːː), a silent sign to hush. Parentheses are also used to indicate silent pauses, for example (...). Double parentheses indicate obscured or unintelligible sound, as in ((2 syll.)), two audible but unidentifiable syllables. [These have dedicated characters in Unicode: ⸨2 syll.⸩.] Curly brackets with Italian musical terms are used for phonation and prosodic notation, such as [{falsetto hɛlp falsetto}] and terms for the tempo and dynamics of connected speech. These are subscripted within a {curly brace} notation to indicate that they are comments on the intervening text.

(.) Short pause (..) Medium pause (...) Long pause (1.2) 1.2-second pause
f Loud speech
[{f lɑʊd f}] ff Louder speech
[{ff lɑʊdɚ ff}]
p Quiet speech
[{p kwaɪət p}] pp Quieter speech
[{pp kwaɪətɚ pp}]
allegro Fast speech [{allegro fɑːst allegro}] lento Slow speech [{lento sloʊ lento}]
crescendo, rallentando, and other musical terms may also be used.


  1. ^ Symbol added in 2008. It had previously been used in the IPA for a velar click, and is still used for that sound.
  2. ^ The parentheses should appear under the letter, but that is not fully supported by Unicode. As of version 8.0, only central voicing and devoicing, [s̬᪽] and [z̥᪽], is encoded.
  3. ^ distinct in Unicode from the superscript equals sign,
  4. ^ used in the transcription of Damin
  • Ball, Martin J.; Esling, John H.; & Dickson, B. Craig. (1995). The VoQS system for the transcription of voice quality. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 25 (2), 71-80.
  • Duckworth, M.; Allen, G.; Hardcastle, W.; & Ball, M. J. (1990). Extensions to the International Phonetic Alphabet for the transcription of atypical speech. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 4, 273-280.
  • Barry Hesselwood & Sara Howard (2008) "Clinical Phonetic Transcription". In Ball et al. (eds.) The Handbook of Clinical Linguistics. Blackwell.
  • Martin Ball & Orla Lowry (2001, 2008) Methods in Clinical Phonetics, "Transcribing Disordered Speech".

External links[edit]