Talk:International Phonetic Alphabet/Archive 4

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Add more ideas here

  • Why not delegate some of the more complex sections into sub-articles, such as Types of International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions? -- Denelson83 03:52, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
    • Yes. It needs to be written in summary style. And the section layout should be changed to reduce the number of sections. Also, lone subsections could be merged into their parent sections. Once they get very long, we can spawn main articles for those topics. -- Sundar \talk \contribs 04:53, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
    • I agree with Sundar and Denelson, but we need to go back through the article's history and find out which sources go with which section first....we don't want to create a bunch of unreferenced articles. I'm trying to do that now, but unfortunately some of this involves going back to the person that added in the source and asking them which facts it correlates to, since they added facts in before and after they added the source.--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 18:09, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm not all that happy with the image in the infobox. I think it would be better if we had an image of the IPA transcription of the pronunciation of the word "international" in some "standard" dialect (e.g., Received Pronunciation or Standard American English, or even both). A nonstandard pronunciation is not only biased, but might confuse people who are not accustomed to American English in all its varieties. --Siva 20:10, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I agree. I was going to have four different pronounciations listed on top of one another to show to flexibility of the alphabet in describing dialectual differences. Then, I realized that I didn't really know how to write the Recieve Pronounciation, Australian, or Hiberno-English version, so I stuck with the one that I knew. But if someone could provide me with those pronounciations I'll gladly add them in the same font to the pic. Can anyone tell me the way to pronounce "International" in RP, straylyaan, and irish english?--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 22:13, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
  • RP: ɪntəˈnæʃənəl (taken from the IPA website. I'll look up the others later, or leave it to people who have a better knowledge of the other dialects than I do. --Siva 22:57, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
I would write ˌʔɪntəˈnæʃənəl or even ˌʔɪntʰəˈnæʃənəl — that is more precise. Oh, and the current version is not quite right as well: there is a tilde floating on the ɾ, but it should instead be on the ɪ, of course. — N-true 00:28, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
[ɾ̃] indicates it is an "n" pronounced with the tongue in the position of "ɾ." To clarify, I'll use an example from Wikipedia's article on American english: Both intervocalic /nt/ and /n/ may be realized as [n] or [ɾ̃], making "winter" and "winner" homophones. This does not occur when the second syllable is stressed, as in "entail." Also, [ʔ] is only pronounced at the beginning of the word when it is the initial word of the sentence, or sometimes when the preceding word ended in a vowel, so we should either put the glottal stop in parentheses or neglect it completely.--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 00:50, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
Also, I'm putting our question about "international"'s pronounciation up at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language.--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 00:56, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't think the l (ell) in the RP pronunciation of "international" is velarized. I'm pretty sure it's just [l]. At any rate, it's less velarized than the American version. (Sorry I didn't point this out earlier.) --Siva 02:25, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
You need to include the stress marks in those two transcriptions. I would write them as [ˌɪntəˈnæʃən(ə)l̩] and [ˌɪntɚˈnæʃən(ə)l̩]. -- Denelson83 20:58, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Hi y'all,

Sorry I don't have time to be more thorough, but I'm surprised my connection is fast enough to view this article at all! The article looks better, though I haven't actually read in yet.

The HTML table currently with two fonts. I assume this is because not all cells have a forced font defined.

Just to let you know: There's occasionally debate on this page about the extra symbols in grey that I added to the PDF table. Well, I sent in a proposal to SIL and got various linguists in the field to write in to say either that they've used them, or would use them if they were available. The SIL committee subsequently approved the four laterals (3 frics & 1 flap) and the strident diacritic, and will add them to the next edition of their fonts. (The labiodental stops and reversed R are already there; the two other lateral flaps not in our chart are still under review.) SIL has in turn submitted a proposal to the Unicode Consortium for two (the retroflex fric and the diacritic).

If we're going to debate the appropriateness of added a glottal stop to international because it only appears when the word is in initial position, then we should also debate the appropriateness of the distinction between primary and secondary stress, which only appears when the word is in final position. (That is, neither are phonemic.)

See ya, kwami 10:25, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

More about References

It seems that Ish ishwar added most of the references [1] [2] [3] [4]. Judging by what he added (this too) shortly after word, I'd say we could cite part of the ExtIPA and history section with some of these references. However, according to his talkpage, he's busy in real life, so he won't be able to get back to us quickly about what corresponds to what. Some of this stuff seems to have been cited by him earlier. What should we do?--The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 20:14, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

reply: user talk:ish ishwar#About IPA referencesishwar  (speak) 19:37, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm adding ishwar's response here to make it easier to keep track of citing the text:\

hi. These explain the history of the IPA including the notational systems the preceded the IPA: Sweet (1880-1881), Sweet (1971), Passy (1888), Kelly (1981), Kemp (1994), Ellis (1869-1889), Albright (1958), Hultzen, Lee (1958). Ladefoged & Halle (1988), IPA (1989), Ladefoged (1990) discuss issues related to the most recent major revision of the IPA. The text does not state anything about the IPA's history, so you could move these to History of the IPA (which is a rather incomplete).
Done adding this. I am keeping the ones about the most recent version since this article is about the most recent version. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 00:43, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
MacMahon (1996) is a general article on phonetic notation which briefly discusses the IPA. MacMahon (1996) is already cited in the text.
IPA (1999) is just the manual for how to use the IPA. IPA (1999) should remain there, of course, since it is the IPA's manual. As for citing the manual, the whole article references the manual. It probably doesnt need to be cited specifically, but if you insist on doing so, you could just mention in the intro (or wherever appropriate) that the IPA manual is IPA (1999).
Wells (1987) is the article that explains the IPA computer codes. I havent read this & I never bothered to figure out what the codes are actually good for. Some of this is in the handbook. Maybe its pre-Unicode ideas (?). The article doesnt mention them, so maybe you can take this out.
I removed it. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 22:30, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Pullum & Laduslaw (1986) is a reference for the values (& a little history) of symbols. As not all linguists like or use the IPA, it is convenient for cross-notational comparison. I also put a reference to a review of it, which is interesting to me but maybe overkill for others.
Ball et al. (1995) is an extention to the IPA called VoQS (Voice Quality Symbols) created by speech pathologists (for transcribing speech disorders). This includes things like diplophonia, ventricular phonation, protruded jaw voice, etc. It also has its own chart. I'm not clear why the IPA website does not mention it. Wikipedia lacks any information on this. I think it should be added as the article only indicates the use of the IPA as a tool for linguists and language teachers/learners, not mentioning the use by speech clinicians.
Duckworth et al. (1990) is the beginning of the extIPA.
I'll try to cite this one... The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 22:30, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Jespersen (1889) can be removed as this is now in Phonetic transcription (he made an analphabetic notational system).
(These citations were provided by User:Ish ishwar)

"selective" phonetic alphabet

The principle of formation doesn't say what happens if phonemes in different languages partially overlap. Are in that case phonemes added for every possible conjunction? -- Dissident (Talk) 01:32, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

What do you mean by phonemes in different languages "partially overlapping"? Could you give an example? --Siva 17:41, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Phonemes are sets of sounds or phones, so it wouldn't be much of a stretch to imagine a situation where a phoneme in one language and a phoneme in another language share phones, but also both have phones that don't occur in the other phoneme. -- Dissident (Talk) 18:52, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I can imagine that. But has that ever happened? I mean, it could well be the case that what you just described happens so infrequently that the IPA hasn't bothered to deal with it. (Note: I don't really know the distinction between a phone and a phoneme, so I'm not the person most capable of answering your question, short of your giving an example.) --Siva 22:25, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
It's easy coming up with languages that differ in which phonetic dimensions are considered phonologically significant. For example, English differentiates between voiced and voiceless consonants, but ignores glottalization and aspiration. This is in opposition to Aymara. Of course, the sheer number of languages taken into account probably makes the whole point of moot, resolving every partial overlap between phonemes. -- Dissident (Talk) 21:34, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Update of cleanup/perhaps a good article

I've done some changes today, but I'd like an update on what else needs to be made. Sorry I haven't worked on this in a few weeks...I had an unsuccessful RFA and some stuff outside of wikipedia. In my mind,

  • The section on "Usage" has been removed, and needs to be rewritten. After all, what's the good of describing something if you don't even mention how it's used?
  • We need to explain what things like "Suprasegmentals" and "Intonations" are, because the average reader has no idea. We've been doing this a bit, which is good, but I'd like some input on specific sections that need to be rewritten. After all, a featured article has to be written in "brilliant prose." Any suggestions on specific areas that need to be de-jargonized?
  • I'm considering putting this up as a good article, to serve as a sort of cheackpoint for our improvement drive. Any suggestions on what should be done before the nom, or any objections?

Thanks, The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 23:24, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

If you dig up an easy way for a layperson to get IPA pronuncation for wikipedia I'll do a full review of the article. :) -Ravedave 03:51, 9 August 2006 (UTC) want the pronunciation of the word wikipedia? I'm confused :-S The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 16:10, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Oh.....they could take it to the language reference desk. Perhaps some sort of wikiproject should be started to standardise IPA transcriptions in articles. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 23:35, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
hah no, I mean an easy way for people to get IPA pronuciations onto articles in wikipedia. -Ravedave 23:30, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
I gave it a review anyways, see review below :). After that stuff is fixed this article is a gauronteed GA. -Ravedave 05:47, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Worldwide View

Why is the American view so prominent? One exameple is the IPAed 'international' Image in both General American and Received Pronoucation?!?!100110100 21:35, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

See the above discussion....we've provided a pronounciation for the two major dialects of English. I posted a request on the reference desk for an australian and irish transcription, but nobody responded, leaving me to keep it at two transcriptions. Considering the numbers of speakers of either major dialect is roughly equal (if not a bit more for American English) I wouldn't say that showing its pronounciation is too far out of line. But usually a worldwide view tag is added when certain portions of the text are written in order to cater towards a certain group, which this does not. If you can help me find more different transcriptions in different dialects, please do so...though the two variations should cover about 80% of all english speakers if we can't find anything else. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 23:25, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Good response. Thanks. Just my opinion, because we can't cover all the dialects maybe we should cover the Original dialect, as in the dialect that all other English dialects came from, because that's why I tagged the article; its being very bigotory to General American English.100110100 01:38, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, the original British English (Early Modern English, around Shakespeare's time) sounded a lot closer to modern American English than modern British English. Basically, American english has changed very little from 17th century english, while British english has evolved at a much more rapid pace. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 04:22, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that's true, I like how you think/you have a vaild point. But because it doesn't represent the geographical/lingistic parent origin, General American English, imo, shouldn't get the same reconition, well its like Quebec French being the equal with European French; they just don't come from the same place, & just one of the dialects are from the motherland. You know what I mean? If you need more clairfication, please let me know on my talk. Thanks.100110100 06:27, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
OK, but Quebec french is spoken by a much smaller population than standard French. General American is spoken by two thirds of all native english speakers (see the article on American English), and has an equal or higher amount of speakers than RP. So, your analogy doesn't quite line up. If two thirds of all native english speakers speak a certain dialect, doesn't it deserve recognition? The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 18:29, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
No, because the percentage of speakers is arbitrary.100110100 19:31, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, then it boils down to which dialect that you prefer, or which one you think is correct. Since these ideas change from person to person and culture to culture, it is best to list both possibilites. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 20:39, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Yep, but no, there are infinite possiblities. The best is to go with the original possiblity. Just like France is most representative of French, England should be the most representative English. Not America. This is a very oversimplified explaination, but if you need me to elaborate, I'd be gald to and it would help if you let me know on my talk page.100110100 01:03, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry, there is no 'original possibility.' Before going into a further defense of coexisting phonologies, have you considered the fact that removing the American pronounciation limits its international view? The fact that you want to stick to only British English, and exclude other pronounciations, limits the scope of the audience here.The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 01:34, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
British and American English have both been evolving for the same amount of time since Shakespeare's era, and both have influenced each other and other dialects worldwide. To keep arguing otherwise when confronted with actual facts seems to me to be trolling. Michael Z. 2006-08-14 05:20 Z
Hey, I wouldn't be talking, you just threatened me, FYI. Look, I'm saying, What about New Zealand English, Newfoundland English? There's too many prounciations to list, its best to list the pronoucation of the Parent, Parent with a capital P. American English would not have existed if it weren't for the dialect in England. Ok? It's like listing the Russian pronouncation of a word of someone someone who speaks Russian in Canada alongside the Russian pronouncation of said word in Russia. Damn, I need counselling.100110100 21:04, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
No, I've mentioned my examples, look, you need only to message me if your confused. It's like Spanish of Spain, & Spanish of Cuba; Cuban Spanish is not indigienous, Spanish Spanish is. Ce peche?100110100 10:13, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
British English is not the parent of American English. American English and British English are siblings, derived from the same parent, which is itself now extinct.
"Basically, American english has changed very little from 17th century english, while British english has evolved at a much more rapid pace."
As if! RP still has all its back vowels, keeps /t/ and /d/ distinct between vowels, still uses the perfect where American uses the simple past, and knows that "anymore" is only supposed to be used in negative clauses. American English is more conservative in certain respects, but British English is more conservative in others. --Ptcamn 00:34, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Ptcamn. Both British and American English have evolved since the 17th century; BE is more conservative in some respects, AE in others. And the idea that this article fails to represent a worldwide view simply because it also mentions American English is ridiculous, and I'm removing the tag now. User:Angr 05:07, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

New discussion

I want to preface the following debate to say that it demonstrates a tremendous bias toward the English language in general. There is a mention of Spanish, but in point of fact, any pronunciation of a word within a single language is linguistic chauvinism. My personal preference would be to create a chart of the IPA words for mother that babies use worldwide during early language acquisition. Such charts illustrate the innate relatedness of human speech mechanics while simultaneously demonstrating the distinctions of acquisition peculiar to different languages. Forgive my verbosity, many ideas come to mind that I've meant to share over the years. I've used the IPA article perhaps a thousand times!
I've spent 80% of my life living outside my "home nation," and thus consider myself international. My sense is that the IPA (or something better) needs to become globally standardized and supplant all other pronunciation symbologies. It seems that young students everywhere (somewhere around 7 to 10 years of age depending on the complexities of their own language) should be formally introduced highest frequency IPA subset within their first (or an academic) language. This could later expand to include all the sounds within their native language(s) and later sitll to the entire IPA.
Returning to babies for a moment, linguists might produce a movie (or even just an audio file) capturing speech throughout the world. If a truly excellent movie were produced that captured native speakers speaking short words and phrases while real-time highlighting an IPA transcription of the speech then learners worldwide could use this as a reference standard. It could also be compiled on to a DVD to expose infants and young children to these ideas early (and ideally often!)
The IPA is certainly a wonderful tool for people in many professions, but isn't it's greatest promise the simplification of communication and language learning? While it's useful to refine and improve this article, I feel it needs to be made more accessible to the non-linguist with greater interactivity and subdivision on to numerous, more manageable wiki entries.
As a teacher, I have relied on it heavily in Korea, China, Germany, Poland, Austria, Turkey and across Africa. What I find most maddening is that dictionary publishers aren't convinced of its value.
Saseigel 06 SEP 2006 1932GMT (Herrieden, Bayern, Bundesrepublik Deutschland)

Well, we do mention the sounds as represented with other languages. However, the topic is for the English Wikipedia, so most of the examples should be in English. While many English speakers know different languages, it's hard to guess which languages they know. We know they know English, because they're reading the English article. If I tranaslated this article onto the French Wikipedia, I'd probably make most of the examples French, or if was a chinese-language article, I'd write it in Hanzi. It's necessary to relate the topic to your audience. I agree that we need to cover this topic better, but this is already a huge article. More sub-articles would be a better idea. Maybe even a wikiproject devoted to the IPA. But if you want to appeal to teachers, language-immersion companies, et cetera, a wiki article isn't the best place to start. It informs those who want to know, but it does not say why the alphabet is better or worse than another phonetic one (that would probably violate NPOV to some degree). Personally, I also would like to see IPA used a lot more in education (it helped me with learning). The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 02:47, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Automated peer review

The following suggestions for this article were generated by a semi-automatic javascript program, and may or may not be accurate for the article in question.

  • Per WP:CONTEXT and WP:MOSDATE, months and days of the week generally should not be linked. Years, decades, and centuries can be linked if they provide context for the article.
    • Most dates are linked, but seeing as how the article is not clogged with links this shouldn't be a problem. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 02:40, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Per WP:MOSNUM, when doing conversions, please use standard abbreviations: for example, miles -> mi, kilometers squared -> km2, and pounds -> lb.
    • This isn't really a problem in the article, conversions are not used here. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 02:40, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Per WP:MOS#Headings, headings generally do not start with the word "The". For example, ==The Biography== would be changed to ==Biography==.
  • As per WP:MOS, please do not link words in headings.
  • Please reorder/rename the last few sections to follow guidelines at WP:GTL.
  • Please alphabetize the interlanguage links.[1]
  • Per WP:WIAFA, this article's table of contents (ToC) maybe too long- consider shrinking it down by merging short sections or using a proper system of daughter pages as per WP:SS.[2]
  • This article may need to undergo summary style, where a series of appropriate subpages are used. For example, if the article is United States, than an appropriate subpage would be History of the United States, such that a summary of the subpage exists on the mother article, while the subpage goes into more detail.
    • We've already split it up into a series of subarticles, so this should be good. Any more sections that become to long will be split. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 02:40, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
  • There are a few occurrences of weasel words in this article- please observe WP:AWT. Certain phrases should specify exactly who supports, considers, believes, etc., such a view. For example,
    • it has been
    • correctly
    • might be weasel words, and should be provided with proper citations (if they already do, or are not weasel terms, please strike this comment).[3]
  • Watch for redundancies that make the article too wordy instead of being crisp and concise. (You may wish to try Tony1's redundancy exercises.)
    • Vague terms of size often are unnecessary and redundant - “some”, “a variety/number/majority of”, “several”, “a few”, “many”, “any”, and “all”. For example, “All pigs are pink, so we thought of a number of ways to turn them green.”
  • As is done in WP:FOOTNOTE, for footnotes, the footnote should be located right after the punctuation mark, such that there is no space inbetween. For example, change blah blah [2]. to blah blah.[2]
  • Please ensure that the article has gone through a thorough copyediting so that the it exemplifies some of Wikipedia's best work. See also User:Tony1/How to satisfy Criterion 2a. [4]

You may wish to browse through User:AndyZ/Suggestions for further ideas. Thanks, Ravedave 04:35, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

My review

I reviewd the article, here are my thoughs both as a layman, and trying to write a good article.

  • "The alphabet is intended to provide a standardized, accurate and unique representation for every sound element in human language, that is distinguished as a phone or a phoneme."
    • Confusing sentance, phone and phoneme might need to be defined.
      • Changed
  • "History of the IPA" should be "History of the International Phonetic Alphabet" since there is the International Phonetic Association, which shares the same initals. It has been changed simply to History
  • "The general principle of the IPA is to provide a separate symbol for each speech segment, avoiding letter combinations (digraphs) such as sh and th in English orthography, and avoiding ambiguity such as that of c in English."
    • Run-on sentance, doesn't explain what the segments are in.. english? all languages?
      • Seperated into a bulleted list by Skal for better comprehension
  • Making the reader understand the difference between Phonetic and Phonemic near the beginnign will probably increase thier udnerstanding of the rest of the article
  • "See the articles for ad hoc symbols found in the literature."
    • what does that mean?
      • Ad hoc is a common latin term meaning "After the fact", it means they were made after the discovery that the particular sound existed.
        • No, that's "post facto". Ad hoc means "for this purpose". -- Denelson83 23:11, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Suprasegmentals needs explainitory sections done
  • Expanded IPA section is just sort of randomly placed Merged as a subtopic under Obsolete symbols, nonstandard symbols, and capital variants
  • How does one enter IPA into a computer? Is it like Asian languages where the romanji is typed and the kanji is displayed?
  • The paragraphs at the bottom of the article should probably go above the charts. The "Comparison with other phonetic notation" shoudl definitly go at the top. Still at the bottom, but the section about IPA in dictionaries covers this higher up in the article
  • There should probably be more inline citiations in the wordy sections. More citations have been added
  • try and avoid sayign things like 'most' and 'some' unless there are references that say so.
  • Don't have subsection titles be links. No linked titles remain
  • The sections that sum up other articles can be longer. Expanded where appropriate
  • The diff of everythign I changed is here: [5]

Good interesting article overall, just abit hard for the layperson to understand, though I am not sure that can be fixed without changing what this article is focusing on. -Ravedave 05:42, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

I crossed out the ones we've taken care of. I'll fix the others. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 22:51, 10 October 2006 (UTC)


I've written a bit about the history of IPA's use in dictionaries, at Pronunciation respelling for English, with a couple of online references. Might be useful for this article. Cheers. Michael Z. 2006-08-17 08:01 Z

Go ahead and add what you can. Just cite it. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 22:02, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Pharyngeal fricative

Hi. Can anyone provide a reference supporting the assertion that the symbol for the pharyngeal fricative [ʕ] was inspired by an Arabic letter? --Siva 02:30, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Guide to pronunciation

In order to deal with the complaints of people who are looking at this page only to find out how to pronounce the name of a Welsh song (see "Mixed feelings about the IPA" above), we may need to include a section that explains how each of the sounds represented by the IPA is pronounced. Such a section would also serve the purpose of making the article accessible to non-linguists. --Siva 02:38, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

A seperate article might be the place but I heartly agree. -Ravedave 02:51, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Each sound has its own article, which can be found by clicking on the symbol for the sound in section 4. Each sound's article describes in detail how the sound is pronounced, and almost all of them also have a sample to listen to. Including that information on this page too would make it too large and unwieldy. Nohat 06:00, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, and keep in mind that this is an encyclopedia article, not a how-to or pronunciation key, although that information is found elsewhere. Michael Z. 2006-08-18 15:24 Z
Articles collecting together the sounds for each language would be very helpful to teachers and learners. For example, Korean university professors preparing aspiring (Korean) English teachers often cannot teach the distinction between ʊ (318) and u (308) (eg. look [lʊk ] and Luke [luk ] ) Such a page might include various common and/or simple words both as audio files and transcribed into IPA. Pages for "IPA Pronunciations: English/Received Pronunciation", or "IPA Pronunciations: English/American (Midwestern/Wisconsin/Broadcasting) Accent" would each be relatively small and thus very useful. Though pages would eventually need to be built for each well-defined pronunciation subgroup, the urgency of that challenge would naturally be met by the multitudes of interested parties. On the other hand, a page simply titled "IPA Pronunciations: Chinese" having no additional dialect qualifiers would be practically useless.
General purpose encyclopedias are most useful when they quickly lead to 1) clear understanding, and 2) practical decision-making. They must inform without demanding ANY technical sophistication. On the other hand, specialized encyclopedias, handbooks and textbooks must lead to deep understanding. These emphasize the connectedness of the content, addressing not only the "what" or details of primary content but also the "why" concerning how that content is related in terms of structure or theory.
The International Phonetic Alphabet wiki entry suffers in many cases from trying to be all things to all people. I suggest the first modification needed be to migrates the more academic material to a newly created page such as International Phonetic Alphabet (Linguistic/Technical). This could be done while preserving the most elementary, fundamental, practically valuable material on the original page. Hypertext linking to the correct area(s) of the Linguistic/Technical entry could satisfy the more sophisticated user while the original page would become more generally usable.
--Saseigel 20:48, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Speech scientist

What's the difference between a "speech scientist" and a phonetician? --Siva 01:57, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Something, because they were both used in the resource I recieved said information from. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 23:48, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
In American usage, a speech scientist often refers to the clinical side of phonetics, such as with a speech therapist or audiologist. These are often in Speech & Hearing Sciences or Communications departments in universities. A phonetician may refer to a person more involved in non-clinical work, such as phonetic theory or speech perception. These are often in Linguistics or English departments. However, the fields are often related: Kenneth Stevens, a very important phonetician (e.g. acoustic theory), is connected with MIT's Electrical Engineering and Health Sciences & Technology departments. peace – ishwar  (speak) 15:45, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
So is it worth making a distinction between speech scientists and speech therapists in the first paragraph? --Siva 22:30, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
I suppose it is a vague term that sort of umbrellas the other professions. I'm removing it. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 01:27, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Maybe this is a bit of a moot point now, but speaking as a speech therapist (more commonly known as a Speech-Language Pathologist (or Therapist) who has worked in the UK and North America, a Speech Scientist is someone who is not clinical but who studies the scientific aspects of speech.. this might include the acoustic aspects of speech and hearing, or indeed the movements and planning of speech for example. So a very different line of work than an SLP/SLT who works clinically with those who have communication disorders. Does that help? --Slp1 00:01, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes, that does help. I'll make the relevant modification to the article. --Siva 23:43, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Given what Slp1 writes, speech scientist is probably just a vague non-specific term used for anyone who works with linguistic sounds (perhaps usually in applied linguistics settings). Here is a job description which equates speech scientist with clinical work:
Other job descriptions indicate that a speech scientist is connected with speech recognition and computation linguistics:
You probably dont need a separate article for speech scientist. – ishwar  (speak) 17:28, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
mmm... I am not sure that I agree with your conclusion. The first job listing (the so-called clinical one) is actually an academic job posting. They are hoping for someone who has an CCC-SLP (a clinical qualification showing that one can work as an SLP) but it is not compulsory, because they are looking really for someone to teach students and to set up a lab to study and research speech and language in an academic setting. The clinical qualification desirable because the students taught will likely mostly be students in SLP. --Slp1 03:39, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
By the way, I've heard that some actors study phonetics, probably learning the IPA, so that they can more accurately mimic dialects. peace – ishwar  (speak) 17:31, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes—in fact, I once had an English teacher who used to act in operas, and who claimed to have learned the IPA to be able to pronounce French and Italian. Didn't seem to have learned it too well, though; she couldn't pronounce dental consonants. Anyway, I don't know how common it is for actors to study phonetics, so I'd need more conclusive evidence to put "actors" in the list. --Siva 22:54, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, FWIW, I was told that my french accent improved exponentially after I learned how to read the IPA transcriptions of french. So there must be some truth to the IPA helping improve accent. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 23:05, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes indeed. There is a course in IPA at Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, University College, London, the alma mater of many of the most influential phoneticians (and speech scientists, too ;-)). In the past (and now too?)foreign students often take it as a way of working on reducing their accent while English. --Slp1 03:44, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Handwritten IPA

I have two sources about the features and use (or lack thereof) of IPA in handwriting. One is the IPA handbook itself, the other is from The World's Writing systems. My questions are....

  1. Is this notable? Where should it go? I don't want to just "slap it in" somewhere.
  2. I have an image from the book, but is a table of handwritten letters copyrighted? As I recall, it is impossible to copyright a writing system, but I don't where this falls. Should I redo it in my own handwriting?

Thanks. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 21:04, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

In my humble opinion it's not necessary to add this to the article, as there is no standard for writing IPA in handwriting at all. A picture or a table wouldn't help anyone, because everyone would develop their own way of handwritten IPA. — N-true 23:25, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, it was the "official" handwriting sample released with the 1949 IPA. But I suppose you are right. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 23:38, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

How to get audio for phonetic notation

Where around the web can you hear the audio after entering the phonetic notation?... for example IPA


Shouldn't the article have audiofiles for each letter? Are audio files supported by Wikipedia? An article on phonetics without audio seems rather pointless to me. It would be like having an article on Cubism without any image files.Flarity 00:38, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

The audio files in question are already in the articles for the individual letters. -- Denelson83 01:07, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

This infatuation with IPA in Wikipedia is, at present, totally pointless. Wherever there's an IPA pronunciation inserted after a term, you might as well substitute a partial differential equation or chemical formula, as far as most readers are concerned. The Sound files links don't seem to work for the most part when I tested them with Mozilla, and the respective web sites don't give a clue as to what plug-ins or support software are needed to make them work with various browsers. They're useless. If contributors want to add IPA pronunciations after words, they should at the same time be willing to record OGG sound files of said words to upload to Wikimedia. Trying to piece together the pronunciation of a word or phrase from scattered sound snippets of the individual letters on Wikipedia is ridiculous. —QuicksilverT @ 21:13, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Use in dictionaries

I don't fully understand this:

The IPA is also not universal among dictionaries in other countries and languages. Mass-market Czech multilingual dictionaries, for instance, tend to use the IPA only for sounds not found in the Czech language, due to the current incapability of rendering ř in the IPA correctly.

What mass-market Czech multilingual dictionaries are meant? Those published and sold in the Czech Republic or those in other countries? In English-Czech dictionaries published for Czech users, it it obvious that the phonetic transcription uses the Czech alphabet (e.g. š instead of ʃ, č instead of etc. - cheese [či:z]). Only those symbols for the sounds not existing in Czech are borrowed from IPA: ð, θ, ə. Some symbols are replaced by letters that denote near sounds in Czech, e.g. home [houm] instead of [həʊm]. However, better dictionaries give some comments on the differences in pronuciation in English and Czech. The transcription described above is used because it is more understandable for Czech users than more precise IPA characters.
--Pajast 16:08, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Spanish x

The chart says "[x] = intervocalic <x> in modern Spanish". But that's not really true. <x> used to stand for [x] in Spanish, but except for the word México, <x> almost never stands for [x] in modern Spanish; it's been taken over by <j> (even Don Quixote is now Don Quijote in Spanish). Usually Spanish <x> is [ks] (existir, máximo, oxígeno, etc.). The only language I can think of that uses the Latin alphabet in which <x> regularly stands for [x] is Azerbaijani. User:Angr 20:12, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

The section tries to explain why the choices were made back in 1886. Back then spelling words with "x" and pronounced /x/ was more common. Or is it just the likeness to Greek χ. −Woodstone 20:49, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't know when the Spanish spelling reform was. Was it more recent than 1886? At any rate, even if "x" was still often used for /x/ in Spanish in 1886, I seriously doubt that was the reason for using the symbol "x" for the voiceless velar fricative. Pullum and Ladusaw's Phonetic Symbol Guide says the source of the IPA symbol "x" is the Cyrillic alphabet (which of course is also the source for using "x" for /x/ in Azerbaijani); that seems most likely. User:Angr 06:50, 27 August 2006 (UTC)


I'm contemplating on whether or not we should put the images of the symbols in their respective sections instead of merely providing a link. Any support or opposition? The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 21:41, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Then we'd lose the direct links. Besides, we already have an image of the full IPA chart up at the top of this article. -- Denelson83 07:22, 27 August 2006 (UTC)


Is there any way to minimize this and move it into the unicode page? I'm afraid to touch it. I don't really understand some of it (or at least why it is so relevant to the topic). Perhaps it could be moved into Unicode and HTML. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 00:53, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

American pronunciation of "international"

Is there an authoritative source on what the GA pronunciation of "nt" in words like "winter" and "international" is? Should it be the r w/ a tilde like we have in the image now, or the more conservative nth, or something in between, like nt? My unscientific opinion is that if you asked speakers of GA to pronounce a sentence that contained "international" carefully, they would say nt, perhaps with the aspiration. The American Heritage dictionary gives the nt[6] pronunciation, but it also gives it for other words with stressed_vowel-n-t-unstressed_vowel. Unless we find evidence that the tapping of nt in this context has become standard even in careful speech, then I'd say we should stick with what dictionaries and tradition hold.

Your resource doesn't write the word in IPA. The modular "nt" is pronounced like [ɾ̃] according to wikipedia's own article on American English,

Both intervocalic /nt/ and /n/ may be realized as [n] or [ɾ̃], making winter and winner homophones. This does not occur when the second syllable is stressed, as in entail.

The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 01:33, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
By the way, it's supposed to list how the word is pronounced normally, not carefully articulated. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 01:34, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I thought it's the [ɚ] that's nasalized, not the [ɾ]. Thus: [ɪɾɚ̃næʃɨnəɫ]. Also, in rapid speech, the [ɨ] becomes unvoiced, making [ɪɾɚ̃næʃɨ̥nəɫ] an even more accurate transcription. --Siva 01:58, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
When the tilde is put above a consonant, it means that consonant is held like "m" or "n." So it's basically a tap held like an "n." The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 02:27, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
OK, I understand now. But isn't it true that the [ɚ] is nasalized? --Siva 02:30, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Maybe slightly, but then so is the [ɨ] (which I would have transliterated as [ə]), and the corresponding schwas in RP as well. One doesn't have to transcribe every slightest phonetic detail. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Angr (talkcontribs). 07:11, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Then why are we transcribing the nasal flap at all, rather than just writing [n] which for some speakers is more accurate? --Ptcamn 07:19, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, it should be [nt] for "international". I'd be in favor of getting rid of the velarized Ls too: just [ˌɪntəˈnæʃənəl] for RP and [ˌɪntɚˈnæʃənəl] for GenAm. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Angr (talkcontribs). 08:24, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually, how about just an image saying [aɪ pʰiː eɪ]? —The preceding signed comment was added by Angr (talkcontribs). 14:47, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
It seems to me that a problem is that we can't agree on an authoritative source for how to transcribe into IPA generally. This is especially a problem for GA, where it seems that there's even less of a consensus on what is standard pronunciation that in RP, although there are plenty of issues in the latter as well (e.g., is the intrusive r standard?). My intuition is that we are all careful listeners but none of us has performed a survey to determine how "international" or any other word is pronounced by a majority of American speakers or a majority of GA speakers. Consequently, our exposure to speakers differs, and we may perceive nuances differently. What guidelines, then, could we follow generally for transcribing into IPA?
  1. Use the pronunciation that would likely be taught to people learning GA.
  2. Use the pronunciation that most speakers would agree is "proper" but not "affected".
  3. Use the more conservative pronunciation and make sure that there's a note on the IPA page which would be linked to when given a pronunciation guide that mentions that, among other things, [nt] is often rendered in certain contexts as [ɾ̃].
  4. Use the pronunciation that is the most transparent for people wanting to get an idea of how the word is pronounced. This would militate against transcribing every tiny nuance, such as the devoicing of the [ɨ], the half-lengthening of the [æ], and the velarization of the l.
Regardless of any general guidelines, a source more authoritative than any of us, WordReference's recordings, has [ˌɪntɚˈnæʃənl̩] (or perhaps a barred-i instead of a schwa)[7].--Atemperman 15:09, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
That web page doesn't provide any IPA transcription at all. I'd rather use a citable source like Kenyon and Knott, which almost certainly (I don't have it to hand at the moment) gives [ˌɪntɚˈnæʃənəl]. But I still think it would be better to have a new image saying simply [aɪ pʰiː eɪ] or [aɪ piː eɪ]. —The preceding signed comment was added by Angr (talkcontribs). 15:19, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
The webpage doesn't provide a transcription, but it provides a recording of the word being spoken, and it's unambiguously [nt] rather than [ɾ̃] in the recording. I agree, though, that a citable source is preferable, and that we can easily get around this by having an image that says [aɪ pʰiː eɪ].--Atemperman 15:38, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I've made Image:IPA in IPA.png and am being bold and replacing the current image with it. —The preceding signed comment was added by Angr (talkcontribs). 17:10, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

I just want to point out that the purpose of an image here is not to provide the proper transcription for an English word, but to illustrate the IPA. To that end, it seems that it doesn't really matter what transcription is used or even what word is transcribed (or even that it should be an English word). The point is that the image should succinctly give a "flavor" of the IPA. IMHO, the newer transcription of IPA is less illustrative than the previous one, and I think we would be served best by putting up something with a little more visual interest, rather than arguing over what is the "correct" transcription of something, because that's really the point here, isn't it? Nohat 18:11, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, what do you suggest then? What about [ˈælfəˌbɛt]? [ˌwɪkiˈpiːdiə]? [ˈɔmnia ˈgalːia diːˈwiːsa ɛst ɪn ˈpaɾtiːs ˈtɾiːs]? —The preceding signed comment was added by Angr (talkcontribs). 19:50, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, if we want something canonical, we could use what's on the cover of the IPA Handbook. I've been meaning to reply here for a couple days but haven't because I was looking for my copy of the Handbook to post here what it has. I seem to have misplaced my copy, but then I remembered I could look up the cover on Amazon [8]. I remembered it having "International Phonetic Alphabet" in IPA, but I was mistaken. It just has the symbols ʂ, β, ʁ. What I was remembering was the cover of the third edition of Ladefoged's A Course in Phonetics [9], which has IPA transcriptions for "A Course in Phonetics" in RP and GenAm. In any case, I think something along the lines of an externally-published use of the IPA, perhaps an "official" one by the IPA itself, would I hope obviate any discussion about the "properness" of the transcription. Nohat 05:39, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps a transcription of "phonetic" would pose fewer problems.--CJGB (Chris) 15:34, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Or how about what appears on the IPA website: [ði ɪntəˈnæʃənəl fəˈnɛtɪk asoʊsiˈeɪʃn]? --Siva 20:30, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Is there some sort of word that sounds the same in most dialects? As in, it doesn't have vowels like "ay," "oh," and "aw" whose transcription changes between dialects. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 00:38, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

ř and IPA

I'm again removing the line about why most Czech dictionaries don't use IPA. Even if the letter "ř" would be an issue, that would not explain why Czech dictionaries use š, č, etc. in pronunciations instead of the IPA equivalents. If you can find evidence that the lack of a symbol for the "ř" sound in the IPA is the sole reason for the limited use of IPA in Czech dictionaries, fine. But until then, I'd rather not speculate on the publishers' motives. -- Mwalcoff 15:40, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I agree with this. And I'm adding this: Czech ř [ r̝ ] is not syllabic r [ r̩ ], it is the raised alveolar non-sonorant trill which is regarded as an individual phoneme in Czech (see Alveolar trill). The reasons why Czech dictionaries use characters as š, č instead of the IPA equivalents I wrote above. --Pajast 06:42, 5 September 2006 (UTC)


IPA is a GOOD ARTICLE. Really it should be a Featured Article. This is an excellent article! I must have used this page hundreds of times. Whenever I've needed to clarify some obscure information involving the IPA, I have ALWAYS found a satisfying answer here. I couldnt do this unless this was a robust top-notch article. Whatever future improvements there may yet be, they shouldnt distract from the excellence that the article has achieved so far! --Haldrik 19:10, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

There are still some referencing problems, and some other unseen obstructions. I'm about to open a peer review. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 22:17, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Requested change in redirect for IPA from International Phonetic Alphabet to IPA (disambiguation)

Please comment. --Karnesky 15:42, 13 September 2006 (UTC)


What purpose does Image:IPA_chart_2005.png serve in the article except to occupy space? Everything on it is already contained in the article, and its contents are already too tiny to be usefully readable. Duja 09:10, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

I think it's useful. Not all browsers display the IPA characters correctly (new IE7, for instance). And I appreciate the possibility to see and print the official IPA chart in one image. --Pajast 09:36, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

I'm moving it back to the right of the table of contents. On lower resolutions, the picture takes up the majority of the space, so only three words are on each line. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 21:42, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Seeking help and contribution

Dear Wikipedians,

We apreciate your valuable contribution in article named Wikipedia:Indic transliteration scheme on english WIkipedia.

We at Marathi Language wikipedia do not have enough expertise to update IPA related info in our article, specialy we have been unable to import/update IPA templates and do not know how to use IPA symbols.Please click here-this link- to provide help to update "IPA transliteration for Indic Languages" article for Marathi wikipedia

We seek and request for help in updating above mentioned article and would like to know relevant resources and refferences in respect of Devanagari and IPA .

Thanks and Regards

Mahitgar 16:08, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Problems with using IPA in EN pages

In grade school, I was not taught IPA. Rather, teachers used traditional English only symbols associated with individual letters. "face" might be written as "fāse". I do not know the IPA equivilent. Will (Talk - contribs) 03:58, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

/fe(ɪ)s/. -- Denelson83 04:02, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

I think IPA code should be something that a viewer could click on to see the language dependant version. Will (Talk - contribs) 09:17, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Can you explain what you mean by "language dependent version"? The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 16:28, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

By "Language Dependant", I mean using symbols specific to English (or whichever language is selected). So /fe(ɪ)s/ would link to fās. (When I started this article, I forgot the E would be silent. That is why it reads fāse) Will (Talk - contribs) 22:25, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Oh. Well, dictionary transcriptions like that differ from resource to resource, but you can look at International Phonetic Alphabet for English for some help. Come to think of it, it may be a good idea to create an article in the Help: mainspace dealing with the IPA on wikipedia. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 19:49, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Section removed

I went ahead and removed this section, since it's basically a note about browser compatiblity expanded way too much. The section should probably go in Unicode and HTML or something like that. Although, I am not sure where it should go in another article. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 16:28, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Removed section (Unicode and tonal symbols)

With regard to tone diacritics, Unicode encodes marks for some contour tones, but not all. In Unicode version 4.1, only hacek (rising) and circumflex (falling) diacritics were encoded. Subsequent versions may also include six additional diacritics for contour tones, such as the macron-acute and the grave-acute-grave ligatures. (See an image here.) Note that contour tone diacritics are not encoded as sequences of level tone diacritics in Unicode.

With tone letters, Unicode does not have separate encodings for contour tones. Instead, sequences of level tone letters are used, with proper display dependent on the font, usually by means of OpenType font rendition: [˥˩] or [˦˥˧]. (These are probably not displaying correctly in your browser. See the image for a sample of how they should appear.) Since few fonts support combination tone letters (see the external links for one that is free), a common solution is to use the old system of superscript numerals from '1' to '5', for example [e53, e312]. However, this depends on local linguistic tradition, with '5' generally being high and '1' being low for Asian languages, but '1' being high and '5' low for African languages. An old IPA convention sometimes still seen is to use sub-diacritics for low contour tones: [e̖, e̗] for low-falling and low-rising.

The upstep and downstep modifiers are superscript arrows. Unicode version 4.1 does not encode these, though subsequent versions will. The arrows for upstep and downstep should not be confused with the full-height arrows, which are used to indicate airflow direction.

CJK and Pinyin

Something should be included on CJK languages and pinyin. There should also be a comparison between IPA and the Pinyin table. 15:31, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

No, it shouldn't. The Pinyin article uses IPA transcription, but there's no reason the IPA article should discuss Pinyin. Angr 16:00, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree. There are many ways to transliterate things into the Roman alphabet, and pinyin's vowels aren't even vary phonetic (compare the "i" in "qi" to "zi"). The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 17:12, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Twards GA

I would say this article is ready to be noiminated for GA. Before FA is attempted I would reccommend either addressing (and striking through) or commenting on my reccomendations above. -Ravedave (help name my baby) 17:10, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

  1. ^ See footnote
  2. ^ See footnote
  3. ^ See footnote
  4. ^ See footnote