Talk:International Phonetic Alphabet/Archive 7

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Question marks or boxes

I find IPA very difficult to understand, but I'm starting to suspect it's because my computer isn't displaying characters correctly. I tend to see a lot of question marks in IPA pronunciation guides. For example, the article "Rhotic and non-rhotic accents" has the following text: "So car, hard, fur, born are phonetically /kɑː/, /hɑːd/, /fɜː/, /bɔːn/" (I pasted that directly from my screen). Now, either IPA is completely ridiculous, and all vowels are written as question marks, or this isn't displaying correctly. I imagine I am not the only one with this problem (as it doesn't display for me in either Internet Explorer or Firefox), so I suggest a section in the article that explains why everything looks like question marks. I suggest this section be titled, "Why do I see a bunch of question marks?" or something similar, as people who have my problem are going to probably search for "question mark" in the text of the article. Okay, I just checked with IE... in IE, I get boxes instead of question marks. So maybe the section should be entitled, "Why do I see a bunch of question marks or boxes?" I also suggest this at least be a link at the beginning of the article, as the rest of the article is moot if those of us with display issues think IPA uses question marks like Marklars use "marklar" or Smurfs use "smurf." 08:48, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

The characters often don't display in IE, but they should in Firefox without any problem. Do you have a font installed that includes IPA characters, like Arial Unicode MS, Lucida Sans Unicode, Gentium, etc.? —Angr 08:51, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
If the article puts the characters inside the {{IPA}} template, the display bug in IE for Windows is supposed to be fixed. See the Template talk:IPA and Template talk:IPA2 pages. --Blainster 16:30, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Not if the user doesn't have a font installed that includes IPA characters, right? —Angr 16:35, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
i have I.E. 7, and the charachters display perfectly for me. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:26, 26 April 2007 (UTC).
Um, sorry to re-open this discussion, but I have the latest version of Firefox, but I still can't see the special symbols. :/ Blast [improve me] 07.06.07 0546 (UTC)
Do you have a font installed that includes phonetic characters? Something like Lucida Sans Unicode or Arial Unicode? —Angr 06:23, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
I have no idea what I did...but it seems to be working now. Still, is there a way to make them not appear bold? Or is that just what WP forces the symbols to look like? Blast [improve me] 08.06.07 1535 (UTC)
Like Angr said, it's probably a font issue. Since I installed DejaVu Sans on my system, IPA symbols have been displaying differently (not "more clearly", mind you). Fvasconcellos (t·c) 15:43, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
They shouldn't be appearing bold. They don't for me. —Angr 17:29, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Copyedit needed

I've just finished rewritting the second paragraph of the usage section (diff). I tried to make it readable, but I'd appreciate a second opinion. Anybody wanna bite? The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 23:20, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Order of coarticulation marks

Is there a specific order for coarticulation and suprasegmental characters? Especially in Caucasian languages I often see different ways to write ejective labialized plosives, which character comes first, [kʼʷ] or [kʷʼ]? I often see the latter, but this makes less sense to me. What if pharyngealization occurs as well... [kʼʷˤa], [kʼˤʷa], [kʷʼˤa], [kʷˤʼa], [kˤʷʼa] or [kˤʼʷa]? And I often see (especially in Avar) transcriptions like [ʦːʼ], shouldn't this be [ʦʼː], as it represents a lengthened ejective consonant and not an ejectivized long consonant? So, is there a specific order? — N-true 02:26, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Wrong focus?

The begining of the article focuses too much on English without providing links to what is mentioned in the charts section at the end: --Michelle 17 April 2007 —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:08, 17 April 2007 (UTC).

this page is full of jargon that is not defined

all these symbols, like the upside down Rs and the loopy Ys and such are given, and when i go to their unique articles, it does not explain how to say them, besides saying that it is a "voiceless labial plosive" or whatever. then it says something like "air is restricted through a small tubular passege" and the like. the bottom line is, i see things like "ʕʁɮːʃɱtʷːʝɣɝɕːɡ͡bǂ" and i have absolutely no idea how to pronounce it. i think we need a little more information for the people that dont already know the IPA. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 19:01, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

how do you suggest we give "more information" if you don't accept descriptions like "voiceless labial plosive"? dab (𒁳) 07:03, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Obviously, he means for you to define the words "labial" and "plosive" in the articles. However, this would be cumbersome, so links should probably be used instead. Also, there is no reason an English example can't be given (if it exists). For [p], it should be obvious. --trlkly 03:28, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
I've linked to articulatory phonetics from the article. But how should we incorporate this sort of info..? --Kjoonlee 11:18, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, for a start you could give an example in the form of an English sentence (rather than just a single word) in both IPA & normal orthography, with comments where necessary. Perhaps you could include a French or German word or two, pointing out how nasal vowels & the glottal stop are transcribed in IPA. That sort of thing: from the known to the unknown ... --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 11:32, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, this is the English Wikipedia so English samples would be good. However, it is the International Phonetic Alphabet so other samples would be good as well. However, this is an encyclopedia article we're talking about and not a guidebook on reading IPA. We already provide links to IPA chart for English and International Phonetic Alphabet for English, so I think help would be outside of the scope of this article.
So the bottom line is, I agree with examples (or descriptions to arcane terms) but I don't think we should overdo it. --Kjoonlee 14:48, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

The article IPA chart for English is a pronunciation guide. I suggest renaming it to IPA pronunciation guide (English), because it is more than a "chart", having several charts and notes. This naming convention would also permit pronunciation guides for other languages to be added as needed. While this is the English WP, it does use words from other languages. For example, Russian pronunciations can be found in the notes to We (novel) and Sergey Korolyov.

The IPA templates could then be linked to such guides, rather than this article, which is a technical article on a technical subject.

It would be very helpful to have audio clips for each pronunciation in the guide.

--Jtir 09:59, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with the move. Please see Talk:IPA chart for English#Please don't move.
I'm unsure about the IPA2 template. Please see Template talk:IPA2#Language codes.
I like the idea of audio clips, but.... IMHO it should be covered somewhere else. --Kjoonlee 02:42, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

this is the creator of the section again. i think that my point is that the IPA was created to speakers of one language could pronounce words in other languages. i think that the articles for both the individual sounds and the main article dont give quite enough info for me to do that. sound clips would be good, and so would more detailed explanations (i.e. "similar to english "R" but pronounced farther back in the throat" or something. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 14:48, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

I thought almost all articles for the individual sounds had sound clips, in the right-side box. The problem with "similar to English R" is that there are lots of kinds of English Rs.. which is why we need the IPA in the first place. --Kjoonlee 22:10, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
good point (there being many different "r"s), but i still have one problem: i guess its against Wikipedia in general, but here goes: why do all those sound files have to be that wierd .ogg type. my computer doesnt recognise it, and i dont want to download wierd stuff to be able to play it. why dont they just use .wma or something that almost everyone has (and put some other file type for the macs)?

Road to featured status

Hi, recent edits have been very good, IMHO. That got me wondering; why isn't the IPA article already a featured article? ;) What do you think needs to be done? --Kjoonlee 15:35, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Best way to find out might be to put it through another peer review and mention that you're aiming for FA status. Wrad 15:51, 11 May 2007 (UTC)


Overall, an excellent article. Just a few points caught my eye:

  • Description "the IPA does not use letters whose sound value is context-dependent, such as c in English (and most other European languages)." This seems to imply that IPA doesn't use c: that's not what you meant, I know, but it could easily be interpreted that way.
  • Letterforms and Symbols and sounds "The symbols chosen for the IPA are meant to harmonize with the Latin alphabet." This sentence, or something like it, is repeated three times.
  • Use in dictionaries Why not mention the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary by J.C. Wells and Sheila Dallas? John Wells is one of the foremost living phoneticians & the inventor of SAMPA: don't you think he deserves a mention here? --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 11:45, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Go ahead and make the changes. −Woodstone 12:13, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, I've made a start! --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 15:24, 17 May 2007 (UTC)


Why is there a stress mark in the transcription of this French word in the Usage section? AFAIK This is non-standard (see French phonology). Mind you, I don't know how reliable that article is, since the author thinks there's a phonemic distinction between the pronunciations of peau & pot. --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 15:32, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

The stress has to be prosody, since French has no lexical stress. But the IPA is commonly used to indicate prosody. After all, English words are generally written with a distinction between primary and secondary stress, and that distinction is also prosodic. As for the diff tween peau and pot, the Fr article states that it's only found in some dialects. (Presumably it used to be more general, and has been lost from most areas, as quite a few other vocalic distinctions have.) kwami 16:38, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
P.S. [eˈboːʃ] is only correct because the transcription is between brackets. It would be wrong if it were between virgules. kwami
I don't know of any dialect that currently split /o/ and /ɔ/ in word-final position. If that distinction was ever made,it was a long time ago that it vanished from standard dialects.Circeus 17:12, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm not a phonetician, so I can't comment on prosody. Are you saying that the standard IPA transcription of ébauche always includes a stress mark (or whatever the prosodic equivalent is called)? That surprises me—but I'm always ready to learn! --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 17:16, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
No.I'm not versed in prosody/stress a tall. I was commenting on the "peau/pot" distinction that was being mentioned about French phonology. That's especially funny as I was the one who originally wrote that article.Circeus 18:46, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
No, Nigel, marking prosody is not standard, but it's not wrong. If you feel that prosody is relevant, then go ahead and put it in. But I think it would be wise to be clear about what you're doing, because most people are going to assume that the stress mark is part of the word. With different emphasis, it would be pronounced [ˈe.boːʃ]. Either way, a phonemic representation would need to be /eboʃ/, without stress.
Yeah, Circeus, I have no idea if any dialects maintain a distinction in peau vs. pot. But I just don't know that it's wrong either. kwami 19:20, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Hey, wait a minute, Kwami! I didn't put that stress mark in: in fact I was questioning whether it ought to be there at all (I don't think it should be, actually). If you want to give someone advice, then please address it to the person who produced the image in the first place. --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 21:36, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Good point. It' the linguistics stub icon of the French Wikipedia, for the records.Circeus 21:54, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, Nigel, I wasn't implying that you had done it, only answering your question as to whether it was an appropriate thing to do. kwami 23:16, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

[outdent] No problem! However, I still think that the ébauche image should be changed. The Usage section as it stands is doubly confusing for the poor reader: not only is there a stress mark in the French example, which shouldn't have a lexical stress; the English examples (international), which should have stress marks, don't! --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 19:49, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

You're completely right. kwami 22:48, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
I didn't create the images (I only vectorized them from the raster originals), but I'd gladly amend them for accuracy if someone would point me in the right direction :) Fvasconcellos (t·c) 15:14, 20 May 2007 (UTC) Oh. OK, then—should have checked the article first… Fvasconcellos (t·c) 15:16, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
Oops, no, the fault's on me, sorry. I should have mentioned it here.. --Kjoonlee 22:11, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

References and commentary

I'll be soon giving the references a thorough revision. As useful as the "quote" parameter is, mixing quotes and full references in footnotes is at best confusing, at worst illegible. Once I'm done with it, I'll try to make a more thorough analysis And post the result at Talk:International Phonetic Alphabet/Comments (at least, if they are long enough to warrant it). Cheers. Circeus 21:13, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Nevermind the analysis thing. Besides the concerns I voiced in the FAC, It goes more fluently than it looked.Circeus 04:51, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Removal from good article category requested

Because this is a cumbersome article, I have asked for a REVIEW of its status.Kdammers 11:44, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

I was going to ask what you mean by "cumbersome", but see that you have already commented here. --Jtir 12:25, 18 May 2007 (UTC)


Hi, I'll maintain a short TODO list here, for the time being. Please feel free to cross items out that have been completed.

  • Increased wikification of latter half
  • Citations, where needed
  • Turn redlinks into articles, or unlink/delete if non-notable

Cheers, --Kjoonlee 02:22, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

I can cite the appropriate part of Handook of the IPA where it is needed. Just let me know. The Phonotypic alphabet, which is repeatedly mentioned as a predecessor of the IPA, does indeed exist, but I cannot find any paper or electronic resources about it. As it was, I only found one or two internet sites about the Romic alphabet when I started the article, and no books about it at all. Specifically, which sections need work and what information needs to be added? The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 15:14, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
Re: Handbook: Please do! Thank you very much. :) There are two sections near the bottom that don't have any references cited. --Kjoonlee 22:13, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
OK, tomorrow, about 18 hours from now, I can do it. I may get one or two in tonight. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 02:49, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
By the way, do you need quotes from the handbook for anything? The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 02:54, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

link to Rosetta Stone (software) was removed

The link to Rosetta Stone (software) was removed here. I was going to restore it, but the "verifiable source" wants me to pay. Further, the wording is so imprecise that I can't tell what the intent is. Could someone take a closer look?

The link was added here and tweaked here, so that would count as two editors who want the link. --Jtir 18:35, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Looks like a joke or a subtle advertising attempt (or maybe just an honest mistake). In any case, good call. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 18:54, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm going to go with honest mistake. Lobbuss (talk · contribs) is relatively new and doesn't seem to have a history of adding links to articles on commercial products. The tweaking is the sort of automatic tidying up anyone would do without necessarily endorsing the link. —Angr 20:04, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
I guess it's a classic example of WP:AGF then. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 20:48, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

I probably spent way too much time finding these, but:

  • It was introduced here.
  • It was copyedited here. (Sorry if I offended you The ikiroid, the original is vague.)

This site describes The Rosetta Project, which "is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to build a publicly accessible digital library of human languages." Although I didn't see anything about the IPA, this convinces me that the analogy is with the stone, not the software.

--Jtir 21:03, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Stress marks in "IPA" itself?

Now that ébauche and international have been corrected, isn't it time to get IPA itself right? The image in the infobox at the top of the article simply has [aɪ pʰiː eɪ]. There should surely be at least a primary stress mark there—& probably a secondary one too (ie [ˌaɪ pʰiː ˈeɪ]). --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 17:23, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Image:IPA in IPA stress.svg. Hope it's accurate :) Fvasconcellos (t·c) 17:33, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
Looks fine to me! What do others think? --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 17:58, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't mark stress at all. First of all, with [] notation we don't need to include everything that's phonemic. Secondly, all three syllables are stressed, as is common in acronyms. If we do add stress, we can show it as three stressed 'words' (([ˈaɪ ˈpʰiː ˈeɪ])) or as a single word, without spaces ([ˌaɪpʰiːˈeɪ]). I think either of those might provoke argument, though. Maybe best just to leave it as the broad transcription that it is now. kwami 20:59, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
You may be right—though a "broad" transcription surely wouldn't mark the p as aspirated ( [pʰ] ), would it? --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 14:22, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
You can pick & choose which features to show. Often you'll see [c] for an affricate, for example, even when other affricates are overt. Yeah, it does seem odd to leave out something that is phonemic (stress) when including something that is not (aspiration), but I've seen that often enough, such as showing allophonic detail in tonal African languages without marking tone. kwami 17:40, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

WP:GA/R Results

By a vote of 4-1, this article shall keep Good Article status. Votes were 2 "Strong Keep", 2 "Keep", 1 "Weak Delist". Although it did survive review, it is recommended that the contributing editors to this article view the archived discussion and address mentioned concerns. Regards, LaraLoveT/C 07:07, 27 May 2007 (UTC)


IPA pronunciations are being added to lots of articles, is there a source that can be cited for them? -Ravedave 22:47, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

I doubt there's one single source that can be cited for all of them. You'd have to look for each one separately. Are there any specific ones you're skeptical of? —Angr 04:47, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Well there has been a glacially moving edit war over Minnesota's pronuciation. Is there any reason not to source every single one? Would it be original research to say that Wisconson is pronounced [ˌʍɪnɛˈsoʊtʒ]? -Ravedave 05:10, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
No prob, it was just a Dutch learner of English with a distorted perception of English phonology. [1] [2]JackLumber /tɔk/ 13:26, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
A dictionary that uses IPA would be an excellent source. Minnesota is IPA: [ˌmɪnəˈsoʊtə]. --Jtir 15:51, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

unreferenced section?

I removed it. /why was this here? --Mkouklis 10:39, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

If you are referring to the section on ASCII transliterations, IPA influence on other phonetic alphabets:
  • The usage of mapping systems has been declining as technical support for Unicode spreads.
An assertion of "decline" is general enough to require citation. An alternative would be to reword to remove the generalization.
  • There are also many personal or idiosyncratic extensions, such as Luciano Canepari's canIPA.
There needs to be a link (internal or external) to more info.
Asserting "many" while giving only one example is not persuasive. This sounds like over-generalization.
The formatting of the name is sufficiently strange that it should be explained.
Saying personal or idiosyncratic is POV.
--Jtir 11:09, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

alternatives to saying machine pronunciation in exlink annotations?

I have re-annotated two exlinks to say that they are with machine pronunciation of IPA symbols. I am not satified with calling these machine pronunciations. Alternatives? [3] [4] --Jtir 19:56, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

There is an exlinks subsection called Sound files. That works for me. --Jtir 23:33, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

propose combining Notes and Citations

The Notes section uses the hard-to-maintain {{Ref label}} templates. I propose converting the section to use the more flexible <ref></ref> tags and merging it with the Citations section in one section called Notes. This would then conform to WP:LAYOUT. --Jtir 16:39, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

The Notes and Citations seem to have been separated because it was getting a bit confusing with them mixed together. You might want to discuss this with the person who inserted the label tags (whose name I will find shortly). Personally, I agree with your idea. --Śiva 18:15, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
I believe it's User:Circeus who separated the notes from the citations. --Śiva 18:32, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
OK, I see he made the change here.
Here is the last version that had a unified notes section.[5]
--Jtir 19:35, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Query re MOS

The Manual of Style says:

"Pronunciation in Wikipedia is indicated using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For ease of understanding, fairly broad IPA transcriptions are usually used."

Can someone tell me what "fairly broad" means in this context? It should be explained or removed in the MOS. Tony 13:29, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Heh... I would gloss "fairly broad" here as "similar to English, rather than actually correct." -- Visviva 13:56, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for that, although Fv provided a precise link, which I've just included in the MOS here. BTW, the person who removed my previous query about the same matter, apparently because s/he considered it irrelevant to this page, should, frankly, get a life. Tony 14:03, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, article Talk pages are generally meant for queries regarding the article and not its subject. I reinstated your query because, frankly, the editors of this page probably have the necessary expertise to answer it, and I don't think you'd get that anywhere else on WP :) I'm glad the link I provided was accurate enough. Fvasconcellos (t·c) 14:23, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

// vs []

Should // vs [] be added to the IPA chart for English? Also when [] is used doesn't that mean the accent used should be described as well? -Ravedave 02:55, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

The tie bar?

My computer it displaying the tie-bar too far to the right. What font shows it correctly? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I haven't looked at tie bars, but personally I think Doulos SIL is the most advanced when it comes to combining characters. --Kjoonlee 18:11, 5 July 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't there be a criticism section? IPA ia at least a little controversial; I've come across plenty of IPA-haters on many WP discussion pages. I personally find it fairly useless when using WP as a quick look-up reference; my eyes just fly past those odd squigglies.Armandtanzarian 19:14, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

A criticism section should certainly be added if it is based on published, reliable sources, preferably by professional linguists. Laymen saying "I don't like IPA because I've never learned to read it" (which is the only anti-IPA sentiment I've ever encountered at Wikiepdia) is not actually a valid criticism. —Angr 19:20, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
So this is NOT a talk page? I post a remark and it's simply removed? Or perhaps it's a private club and I failed to notice the sign.Arglebargler 23:09, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
It is. Read the history and User:Angr's comment to his removal! Your comment had nothing to do with this article, but with the Wikipedia guidelines. He gave a better link, you should post your comment there. — N-true 02:11, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
"Laymen saying "I don't like IPA because I've never learned to read it" (which is the only anti-IPA sentiment I've ever encountered at Wikiepdia) is not actually a valid criticism." This represents a POV and the POV is that Wikipedia exists for the benefit of those who write it, not for the benefit of those who read it. IPA is incomprehensible to virtually every human being on Earth. It's perfectly appropriate to include IPA pronunciations, but not to the exclusion of systems which might be useful to someone other than a linguist. Assuming that schoolchildren use Wikipedia as an aid to study, do we expect them to learn IPA? Ninquerinquar 23:27, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
This page is for discussing improvements to Wikipedia's article on the IPA, not for discussing Wikipedia's internal use of the IPA. The anti-IPA sentiment among some Wikipedia editors--which is not based on valid criticisms of the alphabet as a system, but rather on ignorance of the alphabet itself--is not notable enough to be mentioned in this article. —Angr 04:12, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree. If you have a complaint about the use of IPA in Wikipedia, this is not the place to make it. And all this "I don't understand IPA, so it's elitist" is a very poor argument indeed. garik 10:07, 13 August 2007 (UTC)