Help talk:IPA for Estonian and Finnish

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Voiceless consonants[edit]

A note: in Estonian, there are no voiced lenis consonants b d g. As in Danish, there are just voiceless ones [b̥, d̥, ɡ̊]]. --Miacek (t) 09:46, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Not according to Pronunciation of Estonian geographical names published on the Institute of the Estonian Language web site. the IPA standard for Estonian b d g are marked with [b] [d] [g] respectively, together with palatalized forms [dʲ], [bʲ], [ɡʲ] that are listed in relevant wikipedia articles under Varieties of  (i) listen [ b ]  (i) listen [ d ]  (i) listen [ ɡ ] .--Termer (talk) 00:51, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
The very source says:

B. b, d, g, s are pronounced voiceless or, between vowels, as half-voiced, weakened tenues. In genuine Estonian names b, d, g are not used in an initial position.

. Those are definitely not voiced: there are no minimal pairs where voiced/voiceless contrast would change the meaning. E.g. usual content words like paar '(a) pair' and baar 'bar'would be pronounced the same way. The indicators of voicelessness are often dropped, but not in scholarly works (titles by Ariste or Mati Hint). The ekki source also notes:

Characters b, d, g should have in full IPA transcription rings below or above to denote voiceless or half-voiced sounds.

. I don't know, though, how's the matter in Finnish. --Miacek (t) 12:23, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

I see, you're talking about that lets say wikipedia  (i) listen [ b ] article is about "Voiced bilabial plosive" instead of " voiceless, half-voiced...". I was saying that the standard IPA symbols/Pronunciation IPA alphabet were marked as [b] [d] [g] @ EKI. It seems that this question should be taken to [b] [d] [g] wikipedia articles or even to Wikipedia_talk:IPA. So that [b̥, d̥, ɡ̊] should be either added to Varieties of  (i) listen [ b ]  (i) listen [ d ]  (i) listen [ ɡ ]? Or the question should be simply addressed with footnotes in this article?--Termer (talk) 13:43, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

I was arguing that (i) [ b ] Finnish: baari, Estonian: baar English bar in the article does not make much sense, since the linked voiced bilabial plosive simply does not occur in Estonian (as a separate phoneme; there can be allophones in some cases). So the word baar - bar is a kind of false equivalency. I'd suggest just removing the Estonian example from there and adding here a separate entry for Estonian b̥, d̥, ɡ̊] with corresponding examples. At present the article is misleading. Unfortunately there's no such page as here. --Miacek (t) 14:44, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Again [b̥, d̥, ɡ̊] are simply variances of [b,d,g], in case you don't think so, you'd need to take it to Wikipedia:IPA and create relevant entries and then we can take it from there. Meanwhile an only option there is, add footnotes to b,d,g like it was done by the source. And in case you can come up with a better example for baar - bar, please do not hesitate to bring it to the table and add it to the article.--Termer (talk) 01:11, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm afraid I don't grasp, why do we need to raise the issue at some other place, when we can treat and solve it here? As the page stands, it is simply inaccurate: 1) [b] should not be used 2) it is (God thank) not used e.g. [1], [2]. See also Icelandic phonology#Consonants (again no corresponding WP:Icelandic_IPA page yet :S). There's no talk of rendering Icelandic b as [b] anywhere. --Miacek (t) 14:38, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Close and open vowels[edit]

Don't know about Estonian, but in Finnish e, o and ö are open-mid or at least mid vowels, definitely not close-mid vowels like in German Klee, Boden and Goethe, which are given as examples. Wouldn't it be better to use [ɛ], [ɔ] and [œ]? --BishkekRocks (talk) 17:48, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Most of given examples are copy-pasted from Wikipedia:IPA. Please feel free to replace examples with words from any language that might sound closer. However English would be preferred since this is English Wikipedia. Regarding if it would be better to use [ɛ], [ɔ] and [œ]?
[ ø ] is the standard for ö according to Pronunciation of Finnish in a nutshell (for linguists) published at the web page of Tampere University of Technology.--Termer (talk) 00:34, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
As for [ɛ], [ɔ], [œ] the thing is that Estonian authors seem to use [e, o, ø], regardless of the fact that, e.g. for a German those Estonian phonemes would probably sound more like open ɛ, ɔ, œ. Some Estonian authors, esp. older ones would use Uralic Phonetic Alphabet, where [e, ö, ü] would normally be used for the corresponding letters/sounds. --Miacek (t) 14:53, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
You might be right, probably it's my German bias. Indeed, Finnish e is more open than German Klee but more closed than French Seine – which is hardly surprising considering that in Finnish there is a contrast between /e~ɛ/ and /æ/, while in German and French there is a contrast between /e/ and /ɛ/. Actually the "Pronounciation of Finnish in a nutshell" page does describe Finnish <e> as "more accurately, [e̞] (lowered [e])". You could as well describe it as "raised [ɛ]" – it actually seems to be something inbetween. I just don't like the comparison with German /eː/, since it definitely isn't the same sound. --BishkekRocks (talk) 22:25, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

I already raised this issue. If this is is supposed to be a phonetic inventory (and not just phonemic) of Finnish/Estonian, then it should definitely be ɛ, ɔ, and œ. Now I'm no linguist, but being a native speaker of Russian I can tell you that the Finnish o is definitely NOT /o/. /ɛ/ and /œ/ variate freely with /e/ and /ø/ in Finnish, but /o/ sounds a lot like /u/ to a Finn. Why hasn't this been rectified yet? I mean, if the purpose of this article is to give IPA literate people help in pronouncing Finnish and Estonian accurately, why mislead them? --nlitement [talk] 10:21, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Hmm... Finnish was my first language (altho, I grew up in Canada and now speak English better). But, I am still fluent in Finnish. In my opinion, after listening to the IPA sound samples dozens of times, I can't even decide if [e] or [ɛ] is more accurate for the Finnish 'e'. Altho I lean towards [ɛ]. I see that the article for [e] (Close-mid front unrounded vowel) has a section for a mid front unrounded vowel that "is phonetically distinct from both the close-mid and open-mid vowels", which can be denoted by the symbol [e̞]. As far as the Finnish 'ö', I also have trouble deciding between [œ] and [ø], but this time I lean towards [ø]. Again, the article for [ø] (Close-mid front rounded vowel) has a section for a vowel that "is phonetically distinct from both the close-mid and open-mid vowels", denoted by [ø̞]. But as far as the finnish 'o' is concerned, [ɔ] definately sounds right to me and NOT [o], but as above apparently [o̞] is appropriate. --FinnHawk (talk) 22:26, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

My idea was to simply write the mid vowels as /e ø o/ and note that the close-mid symbols may be seen instead. - AlexanderKaras (talk) 05:59, 12 December 2010 (UTC)


BishkekRocks keeps removing "Q" from the list: [3][4] by saying please read voiceless uvular plosive. So what's the problem, the letter Q is not part of the Finnish and Estonian alphabets any more? And whats wrong with Voiceless uvular plosive: It is pronounced like [k], except that the tongue makes contact not on the soft palate but on the uvula. Pronunciation of Finnish in a nutshell says [q] sounds like k with no aspiration; and in foreign words only. In case anybody thinks that Q should be marked with K Voiceless velar plosive, whatever, it doesn't mean that the entire Q should be removed from the list leaving a hole into this guide for English speakers on how to pronounce words occuring in English Wikipedia that are written in Baltic Finnic languages.--Termer (talk) 03:13, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

You are confusing letters and sounds. Sure, the letter [q] does occur, though only in foreign names, but in this case it is pronounced simply as [k] (and [qu] is pronounced as [kv]). [q] is a special sound, that occurs in Arabic and Inuktikut, for instance, but certainly not in Finnish or Estonian.
However you're right, in saying that the letter [q] shouldn't be removed from the list, only because the pronounciation was wrong - sorry for that. On the other hand, shouldn't this list be rather arranged by the IPA symbols instead of the letters of the alphabet? That's the way it's done in Wikipedia:IPA for English and Wikipedia:IPA for German. --BishkekRocks (talk) 06:36, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps it's just me but I find both Wikipedia:IPA for German and Wikipedia:IPA for English etc. very confusing and not that user-friendly. After all, those IPA lists should just give quick reference to Wiki users to see how is any given word/letter pronounced in any given languages.

Actually, no, they are only supposed to be reference to how an IPA transcription of a word in the language in question should be pronounced. --Trɔpʏliʊmblah 17:26, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

That's why I stole the table format from Wikipedia:IPA rather than for example from Wikipedia:IPA for German, the first example just feels much more straight forward and seams clearer for the reader. But in case anybody thinks differently, and are convinced that the table format used in Wikipedia:IPA for German helps wikipedia users to sort out pronunciation questions much more easily than, please feel free to rewrite the table file over here.--Termer (talk) 03:16, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree with BishkekRocks, after having checked the pages linked. Both seem to be flawless, after all: people who would start adding IPA into articles would not be linguistically analphabetic, so such things needn't be simple. Also, have you people considered splitting the article into two : Estonian IPA and Finnish IPA. E.g. there are some remarkable differences in the way consonants like k/p/t are used to mark the corresponding phonemes. Perhaps we are just wasting our time when trying to include both languages in one article. --Miacek (t) 14:26, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Estonian palatalized consonants[edit]

The Estonian language article lists a series of palatalized consonants in its table, though it says later that it's usually not phonemic. I don't know much about Estonian, so perhaps this can be clarified by someone else. If it's not an important distinction, taking it out is probably best. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 17:04, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, how 'important distinction' it is exactly, is a matter of an opinion. And in that sense, speakers of Indo-European languages not knowing the Baltic-Finnic languages can't tell the difference between spoken Finnish and Estonian, not to mention the difference between the consonants. I'd say the main difference if any, due to historical influences, Finnish has been influenced by Swedish, Estonian by German, so the first perhaps sounds a bit softer and the second a bit harsher. But for an English speaker, I doubt that it makes any difference.--Termer (talk) 03:44, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

PS. Good work in general on the table BTW! Just little cl-up still needed, for ex IPA d - Examples'Finnish fanfaari'- English approximation delta. Also for Estonian õ, No English equivalent? They say that the õ sounds exactly like "o" in "Estonia" or "home" or "stone" or "soul"...without the ʊ sound present in the English "O" (oʊ)--Termer (talk) 03:44, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

That depends on dialect. The key formerly said that [ɤ] was between [ʊ] and [ʌ] (could and cud), which would probably be a better way of describing it. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 04:27, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

One thing is for sure, there is no "õ" sound in either 'could' nor 'cud' unlike (oʊ) in code, boat, goal, bone, go, rose etc.--Termer (talk) 04:33, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Unless you speak Received Pronunciation, General American, Canadian English, or any dialect that monophthongizes the vowel in code to [oː]. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 05:01, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure what the right code is for "õ", I got [ɤ] from Wikipedia I think. Pronunciation of Estonian geographical names tells "õ" Pronunciation IPA alphabet is actually [¥]...but it seems there is no such a symbol in Wikipedia?

It seems that "ɑ pouta mall; ɑː pouta mall" would also need better examples? First of all, it seems to me that "a" in English "mall" does not sound that much like Finnish/Estonian a? The Finnish/Estonian [a] is more like unlce and [a:] would be more like car. Please correct me if I'm wrong. --Termer (talk) 05:12, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

More on õ..., File:Close-mid_back_unrounded_vowel.ogg sounds pretty close to the Estonian õ as far as I can tell so the symbol [ɤ] should be fine.--Termer (talk) 05:39, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

[ɤ] is the one to use. as for palatalization, I suggest finding examples from French and spanish (or even Russian). The English equivalents suggested won't too, since they are not really similar: e.g. leep sounds to me like a rather 'dark' l. --Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 10:45, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
The English column is for approximations, so if it's similar but not exact it's ok. We should cater to a readership familiar only with English. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 17:02, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm on the same page with Ƶ§œš¹ with the last point. This is not meant to be an advanced pronunciation course in Estonian/Finnish but a general reference guide for English speakers in English Wikipedia. Therefore all kinds of details about voiceless and palatalized consonants would be good to know that those exist in the languages but in the end, for an English speaker it doesn't make much difference.--Termer (talk) 04:27, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

I have a question about (i) ʋ viha -"Between v and w". Where did this came from? It might be that I'm missing something but the Estonian/Finnish V is as far from the English W as it can get. The English W is literally "double U" -> "the semivocalic counterpart of the close back rounded vowel [u]". But the Estonian/Finnish V is as V as it can get...please correct me if I'm wrong.--Termer (talk) 04:43, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

According to Finnish phonology, the sound of viha is [ʋ], a labiodental approximant. Like [v], it is labiodental but unlike [v] it has a lesser degree of constriction (so it's not a fricative). [w] is a labiovelar approximant and so is like [ʋ] in having a labial component and being an approximant. I got the description from WP:IPA and it seems about as accurate as we can get without getting too technical. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 18:08, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

sound files[edit]

I removed the sound-file links. We should link to Finnish and Estonian pronunciation, not generic IPA files. If readers want those, they can go to the IPA article. Especially in the case of the vowels, they may give a misleading impression of the pronunciation of these languages. (I think this may have been the point of a warning I deleted, that [e] and [o] are not what we claim. However, since it said that they are the "close-mid" [sic] vowels [ɛ] and [ɔ] [sic], I deleted it until someone can fix it—preferably as a note to the vowel letters themselves.) kwami (talk) 06:35, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

u surma wood[edit]

does an example "u-surma-wood" make sense to anybody? I'm asking because of this: [5]. There is a Finnish word pronounced similar in English -sauna, what has "Finnish /u/ ≠ English [ɔ]~[ɑ]" to do with anything here? It's about how U is pronounced in Finnish and "u" in -sauna is as close as it can get. Unlike for example -surma vs. wood.--Termer (talk) 04:52, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

PS. Also /ø/ is nothing like "bird" in much of Anglophonia? [6] How come? It is as close as it can get.--Termer (talk) 04:58, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

English sauna is pronounced as [ˈsɔːnə] by many English speakers. Even for those who pronounce it [ˈsaʊnə], attempting to get people to break up dipththongs to understand a vowel is a lot less clear than giving an equivalent vowel that is really as close as it can get. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 07:06, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
So what IS the problem with "wood"?
FWIW, I've had various anglophones (especially rhotic speakers) tell that /ø/ sounds closer to their /ʊ/ than /ɝ/. --Trɔpʏliʊmblah 18:44, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Well, I thought it was self explanatory as "wood" is more like [uː] not [u]. On Sauna, I guess it's me, I hear sauna pronounced in English on regular basis and there is no difference how the Finns say it. And that includes the way /ø/ gets pronounced vs English "bird" or "word" etc. But never mind, I don't think it's worth arguing about it.-Termer (talk) 03:19, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

There's some sort of perceptual acoustic relationship between /ɝ/ and non-back rounded mid vowels. This is why English speakers talk about Joseph Gerbles and Russians talk about their [gʲɵrlˈfrʲɛnd]. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 05:47, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Mad cat[edit]

To me, in the north of England, mad and cat have the same a sound. I know it's hard to provide English equivalents when there are so many different pronunciations around, but I can't think of any I've come across where those two would be different. Any ideas? Peridon (talk) 18:08, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

PS Someone seems to have turned something on and not turned it off when they'd finished with it. I've had a quick look, but can't see it. Peridon (talk) 18:10, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Found it. Someone had typed <q> instead of [q], which made everything go funny. Sorted it. Peridon (talk) 18:15, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
/æ/ is longer before voiced consonants in some dialects (allophonic) and some have the bad–lad split (phonemic). — Lfdder (talk) 14:58, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Must say I've never come across it. Is there some way of changing the examples to something that is clear to those of us for whom can is can whatever it means, and mat and cat are exact rhymes? Peridon (talk) 18:37, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
We could just say "like the a in cat but longer". — Lfdder (talk) 18:44, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
I suppose that'll do. I've never got my head round the IPA... Thanks. Peridon (talk) 19:04, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Or "like the a in mad but longer" for those who do have a distinction. — kwami (talk) 20:00, 13 October 2013 (UTC)


For i, klid has stood as an example since July 15, 2009, however I do not recognise it as a word from either language.
I have now changed it to viha. If anyone objects to this word, a better example can be provided but in any case klid is inappropriate.
Telempe (talk) 17:23, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

ɑː or aː?[edit]

I have a hard time believing that Finnish has the same pronunciation for the letter A as we swedes do. A finnish accent in Sweden is often recognized on the long a:, e.g. "jaːg" instead of "jɑːg" (the word "I"). Norwegian 'A's has the pronunciation ɑː and ɑ, Swedish ɑː and a; Finnish definitely doesn't have the same as Norwegian, and is more like our short variant of A (a) and not ɑː. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:15, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

Missing [ŋ][edit]

The velar nasal [ŋ] should be in this key. Besides occurring before /k/ in both languages, it occurs alone in Finnish when the [k] is deleted. (suoı̣ʇnqı̣ɹʇuoɔ · ʞlɐʇ) nɯnuı̣ɥԀ 20:10, 10 July 2014 (UTC)