Help talk:IPA

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This is a list of frequently asked questions relevant to editing this page. Certain questions crop up repeatedly on the talk page, taking up time and energy addressing the same questions more than once. This FAQ addresses these common concerns, criticisms, and arguments, and answers various misconceptions behind them.

"Morse Code" Underlining?[edit]

Does the underlining under IPA listings have some meaning? It looks like Morse code but is clearly not. I can find no reference to it. For example, under the first IPA for Tinian, the underline appears as: ---..--..-... Any help appreciated. Marquess (talk) 19:10, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

No, it's just the text rendering. — Lfdder (talk) 20:05, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
Ah, yes, it appears that some adjoining dots are concatenating into an apparent 'dash', depending on the width of the glyph. So, next question, why is this supposed-to-be-dotted underline there in the first place? Why not just have the hyperlink? Marquess (talk) 18:18, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
It's to hint that there's a tooltip. — Lfdder (talk) 19:32, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Extra symbols[edit]

I found a couple of symbols whitch are not in this list yet, like ʘ ǂ etc. But they do have a page on Wikipedia, so should I add them to this list? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gyvank (talkcontribs) 14:39, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

We didn't include them because they're so rare that it's unlikely anyone would be directed here for them. We haven't included the entire IPA. But if you have been directed here for them, then yes, they should be added to the list. — kwami (talk) 20:44, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Affricates and double articulation[edit]

In "Affricates and double articulation" section it tries to indicate that some form of "tie bar" is wrong. Gives two examples indicating one is wrong. Then it gives various examples in associated fonts.

I read it for seven times. I know my English is not perfect but there seems a problem with the statements in this section. I couldn't understand which is "proper" and "correct"?

Should the tie bar be above both of the characters or should it be et the left side of the two letters?

My browser (Firefox 8.0.1) which is using Lucida Sans Unicode and Arial Unicode MS shows two different forms for the examples. In the first example tie bar is above both of the letters. In the second example it is at the left side of the both letters.

Now I can't understand... If My browser is capable of showing it above both of the letters, why does it show it on the left side for some of the text on wikipedia? Almost for all articles I have seen, tie bar is on the left. But here, tie bar is above both letters for the first example. And the text -as I understood- states that it should be "above" not "on the left". when I google for "tie bar" and "affiriciate", I see that it is "above" too. So "above" should be the correct version.

So, can someone please edit that section so that it can be understood which one is correct.

I would also appreciate if someone tells me what's wrong with Arial Unicode MS? Because in some other help pages of Wikipedia Arial Unicode MS is recomended for Firefox.-- (talk) 02:36, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, the tie bar should go above. Check the PDF consonant chart in the main IPA article for how it is supposed to look. MS fonts have several goofs in the IPA block, and this is one of them. — kwami (talk) 20:45, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Can Wikipedia get the Gentium Plus back?[edit]

Together with the Charis SIL font? This one is ugly and buggy! Why was this changed? For IPA. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:10, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

You mean in the CSS specifications? I thought we had Gentium Plus. — kwami (talk) 20:46, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Absency of a link to the Portuguese language version[edit]

Where's the portuguese version of this article? Nathanael Everton (talk) 18:16, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Do you mean WP:IPA for Portuguese and Galician or are you talking about at the Portuguese Wikipedia? — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 19:15, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved. I'm seeing a weak consensus to move, in addition to the fact that the original move from Help --> Wikipedia was done without discussion and the editor who moved it stated that it was just their opinion and that it should be moved back if others disagreed. Note also that I'll only be moving Wikipedia:IPA to Help:IPA (not Help:International Phonetic Alphabet which I will create as a redirect) because it has not been discussed in this RM and it's been stable at "IPA" for many years. Jenks24 (talk) 11:01, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

– and for all languages in Category:Wikipedia IPA. They are all pages that are helpful to readers (as well as editors) so they should not be in project namespace. Help namespace is for help pages (fancy that!). -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 21:25, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

  • Indeed, it's even in the Help WikiProject o.O --The Evil IP address (talk) 12:58, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment, I'm neutral, but I do recall that they were originally help pages that got moved to WP space. I can't remember the location of that earlier discussion or a subsequent request to move back to help space. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 15:13, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Here is the previous discussion. The original move was done boldly. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 17:00, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Transwiki all to wiktionary. And fix any links using the wikt: prefix. If no consensus to transwiki, then I support putting in the help namespace. - jc37 00:16, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Why would be transwiki guides about Wikipedia's IPA transcriptions to wiktionary? That's a whole separate project with their own transcription schemes. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 14:35, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Object. They have been in "help" in the past and were moved to "WP" since they are akin to the "manual of style". This discussion comes up once in a while, but it does not make sense to flip-flop. −Woodstone (talk) 05:23, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
    I don't think this is really comparable to MOS pages. The relevant MOS is at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation and describes this page as "a non-technical introduction to the symbols used in the IPA for languages other than English". I think the help namespace might actually be more appropriate here, although I have no strong feelings either way. Jafeluv (talk) 07:12, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.
I'm not sure I hold strong views either was as long as they still do what they "do" but I'm rather unhappy about the fact this was debated on THIS page with no notifications on the separate pages. I had no reason to watch this page and the first I heard of this move was when I saw the move log. Bad medicine, folks... Akerbeltz (talk) 15:44, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, WT:WikiProject Linguistics would've been a good place to notify. Because the general consensus so far has been that it doesn't matter, I think further efforts to move should be opposed unless there is a clear and compelling reason. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 16:32, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Completely agreed. I don't see many regular contributors to the Linguistics articles commenting here... It's a really weak consensus. Lguipontes (talk) 23:09, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
There are many "editors at large" who are not involved with individual WikiProjects but their input is as equally valid as WikiProject Linguistics participants. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 08:23, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

IPA font[edit]


I propose to use one of the available web fonts for IPA, probably Gentium. See MediaWiki talk:Common.css#IPA font.

Thanks for your comments. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 12:14, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

What specifically do you propose? — kwami (talk) 20:15, 26 October 2013 (UTC)


Where is the IPA help page for Slovenian language?-- (talk) 19:47, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

We don't have one. You're free to make one, though. — kwami (talk) 20:02, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
I made it 5 months ago: Help:IPA for Slovene. Peter238 (v̥ɪˑzɪʔ mɑˑɪ̯ tˢʰoˑk̚ pʰɛˑɪ̯d̥ʒ̊) 17:58, 30 October 2014 (UTC)


What does y-like mean?-- (talk) 08:23, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Palatal. Reworded. — kwami (talk) 20:15, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Or palatalised. Peter238 (v̥ɪˑzɪʔ mɑˑɪ̯ tˢʰoˑk̚ pʰɛˑɪ̯d̥ʒ̊) 18:19, 30 October 2014 (UTC)


zoos for z is partially wrong, isn't it? IMHO it should be zoo.
--Volker Alexander (talk) 18:23, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Zoos is /'zu:z/. — kwami (talk) 20:00, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Diacritic Marks[edit]

The sounds attributed to the Mandarin Chinese Pinyin diacritic marks under the section "Diacritic Marks" disagrees with the Pinyin article page ( Please address. (talk) 02:08, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

This issue is thoroughly confusing as Pinyin uses the same diacritics as IPA, but with a different meaning. However, as far as I can tell, the two articles agree with each other (modulo the fact that the Pinyin article employs tone letters instead of the equivalent tone diacritics in its IPA transcriptions, presumably to alleviate the aforementioned confusion).—Emil J. 16:00, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Polish example [tɕ] and French one of [u][edit]

I would just like to point out that Polish 'ciebie' is you, singular, accusative, and French vous is plural you, if that's of any importance. It doesn't say that in the article. (talk) 16:06, 6 December 2013 (UTC)


|{{audio-pipe|Voiced pharyngeal fricative1.ogg|Voiced pharyngeal fricative|<big>[ ʕ ]</big>}} | Arabic عربي ''(<sup>'''c'''</sup>arabī)'' "Arabic" | A light sound deep in the throat.

I think there is a mistake with <sup>'''c'''</sup>. I don't see this symbol as a diacritic or otherwise (it doesn't seem to be a phoneme or a symbol in the consonant table) on the IPA chart from the externalink. (talk) 05:23, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

It's not IPA, just transliteration. — kwami (talk) 07:19, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Oh. Then the parentheses shouldn't be italized.... (talk) 22:01, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Partly done:. I removed the parentheses completely. None of the other transcriptions seem to have them. --Anon126 (talk - contribs) 07:23, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Ah, great if not better solution174.3.125.23 (talk) 10:20, 23 January 2014 (UTC)


I think the example of English adze for [dz] is problematic. adze is an obscure word that would not be familiar to most English speakers. However, as far as I can tell, it is homophonous to adds, which is a common English word. I suggest changing the sample word to adds, or at least another word that is not as obscure as adze. --2001:388:608C:6902:DCEE:EC4C:4515:C5F7 (talk) 06:18, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Anon126 (notify me of responses! / talk / contribs) 16:10, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Rendering issue on Android[edit]

[x]~[χ] looks like [x]~[x].

This is what Dagesh looks like on my phone (Chrome and anything that uses the WebView component (e.g. Naked Browser), Android 4.4 on Motorola Moto X). The IPA in the table is contained in the {{IPA}} template, which is supposed to force use of a font that makes the IPA comprehensible. In particular, it should make [x] (Latin lower case x, for voiceless velar fricative) distinct from [χ] (Greek lower case chi, for voiceless uvular fricative). This is likely a shortcoming of Android's font system or available fonts, but it unfortunately does make some Wikipedia pages appear incorrect. Hairy Dude (talk) 13:05, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

Notification of MFD discussion[edit]

Some of the IPA help pages have been nominated for deletion. Input is welcome at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/IPA for X. -- John of Reading (talk) 07:18, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Pronunciation of "r", especially in Netherlandish or "Dutch"[edit]

I am not willing to change the contents of this page immediately, because I want to avoid interference, but... the pronunciation of "r" in Netherlandish -a language often incorrectly called "Dutch" (which really is an old word for German)- is not at all like the [R] suggested here in this Wikipedia article: it is way too guttural. When you pronounce r in Netherlandish like that, then you are most likely a Moroccan or maybe a person from Amsterdam of Sefardi descent. NB In German "r" is never pronounced like this guttural [R]! Nowadays Netherlandish "r" aproaches a "w", which is called "Gooise R". Gooise is derived from Het Gooi, the area around Hilversum, close to Amsterdam, where television and radio broadcast facilities are concentrated. My father used to pronounce "r" as a typical German "r" like Ashkenazim do as well. My family and clan are Roman-Catholic "border Germans" of Jewish descent. Amand Keultjes (talk) 12:41, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

Easy copy / paste of symbols[edit]

@Woodstone: Please justify your edit in which you deleted the duplicate column of symbols. The reason there needs to be a duplicate column is that the IPA symbols of the first column are difficult (impossible) to select with a mouse or cursor in order to copy and paste said symbol into a template. —Boruch Baum (talk) 19:28, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

Criterion for inclusion of symbols[edit]

After I had removed ɧ, there ensued a little disagreement over which letters to include, with User:Erutuon pointing out that ʙ didn't even have an example. I agreed and removed that, too, but on second thought I realize that that symbol is far more common; our article lists 15 languages from very diverse language families that use it. I am therefore tempted to put it back in, but I don't revert well-intended editors as a matter of principle. What criterion can we agree on?

BTW, if we do want to keep ɧ, I think it should be under "H", rather than "S", since it rather resembles a lower case "h". — Sebastian 07:22, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

I reverted to note the fact that the Swedish sj-sound at least occurs in a well-known language. All the languages with the bilabial trill are pretty obscure, except for Ubykh and Pirahã.
I'm not sure what criterion has been used on this page in the past, but a criterion that would make sense to me is whether the symbols are used in transcriptions on Wikipedia, especially of the native-language forms of article names (persons or places, for instance). Not sure how often [ɧ] is used on Wikipedia (I couldn't find any transcriptions when I searched for articles starting with sj-), but at least Swedish is a well-known language and the symbol might be used somewhere. [ʙ] is much rarer and might never be used. So based on this criterion I just came up with, I would include [ɧ] and not [ʙ].
I'm not going to argue more strenuously for it, because I don't care that much. I don't mind you reverting me, since I just wanted to make sure to give my opinion in the edit summary. As you say, at least the symbol is listed in the Swedish IPA page, and that's where someone should be looking anyway. Given that you've also removed tones, which are similarly language-specific, perhaps the sj-sound should be removed too.
I agree about putting [ɧ] with the h-symbols, if it is included; it looks more aitchy to me too. — Eru·tuon 08:21, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for the suggestion of the criterion to use existing articles; I agree that that is a very pertinent criterion for whether a symbol requires IPA help. In that light, it also makes sense what you're saying about [ʙ] being only used in "obscure" languages. My counting of language families may mean more to a linguist, but a linguist would use the main IPA article, anyway; that's not the target audience for this help file.
Thank you also for providing the search link. I'm not putting too much significance to the fact that the articles currently have IPA pronunciation; they may get one in due time.
I don't think any criterion has been used on this article in the past. I do think it matters if a symbol is only used in languages that already have specific IPA help, because then there is no direct need to include it in the general help. The main remaining possible argument is completeness of the list. While we currently don't strive to be complete, it seems you would prefer that. I didn't have that goal, because I often feel at Wikipedia that too much information is duplicated. But I admit that it is conceivably justified to have both these lists in parallel, because they have significant differences:
  1. they are ordered differently. The alphabetical sequence of this help makes it worthwhile for non-linguists.
  2. explanations here are (or could be) more simplistic. E.g. for [ɧ], we could just write something to the effect that it's OK to pronounce it as [∫].
A further benefit of completeness is that it would free us from having to discuss inclusion criteria. If you want to invest time in going that way, I won't object. — Sebastian 09:27, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

New recordings[edit]

It would be of value to have new recordings of many of these sounds. A lot of the vowels were recorded by someone who a) is dragging them out in the English-like way; b) slightly diphthongizing several of them in way that also sounds English-centric; and c) has a curious rapid-fire vibrato at the end of vowels, making it unnecessarily difficult to isolate the unique sound of the phoneme from the individual's unusual voice timbre. Like, his pronunciation of /e/ sounds like the Fonze, "ayeee..."  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:41, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

I hear no problem with the recording of [e]. The speaker seems to, to a certain extent, change the quality of his voice (perhaps towards creaky voice? I'd transcribe it [eḛ] in the IPA) towards the end of the recording, but that's pretty much it. The quality of the vowel sounds consistent. If there's an offglide at all (which I don't hear), its quality is extremely similar to the first portion of the vowel. Peter238 (talk) 02:51, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
I think I might hear very slight diphthongization in the direction of [i], but it's hard to tell because of the falling pitch (what you two call vibrato and creaky voice) at the end. Even if there isn't, the creakiness is somewhat irritating, and I wouldn't vote against it being re-recorded. I agree that many recordings need improvement. The recording of [ʌ] sounds too central. That's also because of English-centrism, since English /ʌ/ is usually [ɐ]. I already re-recorded [ɹ] because it was postalveolar like the English r. (Unfortunately, it now sounds irritating, as if I have a lisp. But at least it's truly alveolar.) — Eru·tuon 08:32, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Yep, [ʌ] is slightly too front. Peter238 (talk) 14:12, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree that [ʌ] is too near to central. [ɹ] sounds OK - the vowels are slightly odd, but they aren't important. [i] sounds OK to me; [e] is slightly too close, I think. The creaky voice is symptomatic of a high level of vocal tension. Ideally, all the vowel recordings should be checked acoustically for steady and appropriate formant frequencies. Saying the vowel on a moving pitch (as done here) helps with resolving formants on a spectrogram. There are a few issues concerning English-centrism: there doesn't seem to be a stated policy about whether or not illustrations of voiceless plosives should be aspirated or unaspirated, and there is a tendency in some recordings for [ʃ, ʒ, tʃ, dʒ, ɹ] to be produced with lip-rounding in English style. I can't see why long and short versions of vowels are presented - they all sound the same to me, and the IPA has never set a standard length for vowels. I have quite a lot of comments and suggestions for improvement on (about half of) the individual segments and the descriptions of them. I'm not sure how to present these - maybe I could set them out in my sandbox, or on my personal website. RoachPeter (talk) 16:26, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
You can simply list them here (or perhaps in a new section). Peter238 (talk) 16:52, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
OK, but just for a start, I've put the table in my [| sandbox] with my comments in the right-hand column. Please note that I'm not claiming to be right on these points. What I have written should be taken as comments and statements about possible improvements, based on 36 years of teaching this stuff. I'm happy to make some recordings where it's felt necessary. RoachPeter (talk) 19:45, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree that [ɔ] and possibly [ä] (don't know about [a], I thought it was good) don't sound accurate. Looking at the file histories, I've found these:
What do you think, Peter? We can restore them any time we want. Peter238 (talk) 21:39, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, will have a listen and do some spectrograms when I have a bit more time. I would certainly be in favour of having [ɒ]. You may well be right about [a] - it's something of a controversial area; I think my own version is extremely front. I'm not clear, by the way, about the relationship between the vowels in this Help article and those attached to the Cardinal Vowel diagram in International Phonetic Alphabet - are there any differences in the recordings? RoachPeter (talk) 17:33, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm not that good with our templates, but looking at how Template:IPA chart/table vowels with audio is written, it seems to use the same audio files as those specified on Module:IPA symbol/data. This article seems to (at least to a large extent) use the same file names that are listed on Module:IPA symbol/data, so I think there are hardly any (if any at all) differences. Peter238 (talk) 20:22, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

I've had a go at making some new recordings and putting them into a copy of this table (very incompetently, but I'm learning). I haven't put in a new row for the open back rounded vowel, which is missing, but my recording is at [[1]]. The rest are in the r.h. column in my sandbox [[2]], along with various observations. Any comments, criticisms etc would be very welcome. RoachPeter (talk) 09:56, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

IPA help requests[edit]

Please add a link to where one can ask for help with adding IPA or where one can ask for IPA transcriptions, which many people hope to find here (and only find help in the other direction). For example, shud one go to the village pump or the help desk or the Arabic and Persian pages or portals to get the nonsense "pronunciations" i.e. incomprehensible transcriptions fixed on Zahra_(name)? --Espoo (talk) 23:14, 8 March 2016 (UTC)