Talk:International Phonetic Alphabet/Archive 8

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Labiodental flap letter

The labiodental flap letter (U+F25F) in Wikipedia belongs to Private Use Area (PUA). The letter can be only used when a certain font like DejaVu fonts, Charis SIL, etc. was set up. But it is not set up.

Without setting up the font like DejaVu, Charis SIL, etc., it can makes a problem in some computers. My computer is one example. Packages of Windows XP Korean Version contain 새굴림 (RR: Saegullim; English name of the font: New Gulim), 새바탕(Saebatang; New Batang), 새돋움 (Saedodum; New Dotum) and 새궁서 (Saegungseo; New Gungsuh) that are including Old Hangul syllables located in PUA. (Unicode experts in Korea call it "Hanyang PUA code". "Hanyang" means "Hanyang Information & Communications Co., Ltd.", the font manufacturer.)

The kernel of the problem is that the letter (U+F25F) makes confliction with other PUA code like Hanyang PUA code. Therefore the letter is displayed as an Old Hangul syllable in my computer. (The captured image is here.)

In order to solve this problem, we should add a new class into MediaWiki:Common.css and create a new template for that letter (like the class "IPA" and the template {{IPA}}). Therefore we will be able to keep away the confliction between different PUA codes. ― 韓斌/Yes0song (談笑 筆跡 다지모) 16:19, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

IMHO we should avoid using PUA codepoints without mentioning they are PUA codepoints. (We should only use PUA codepoints when we mention they are PUA codepoints, like at the labiodental flap article.) The codepoint has been removed from the article, and the izhitsa has been left in its place. BTW, DejaVu fonts do not support the hooked v; they only support the izhitsa. --Kjoonlee 12:57, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
Oops, I can see DejaVu Sans includes it. --Kjoonlee 13:03, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Voiced velar plosive symbol inconsistency

The symbol for the Voiced velar plosive in the IPA table is ɡ instead of g, as the image shows. -- JS, 04:17 UTC, 7 August 2007

Which image? Image:IPA chart 2005.png uses ɡ. —Angr 09:56, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
JS, if ɡ doesn't show up as an open-tailed g, you should install a font with better IPA support. The ɡ character is the correct character, not g, which can often have a closed-tail. --Kjoonlee 12:47, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
It was a font issue. It displayed correctly in the 'Symbols and sounds' section, but not in the IPA table, which is apparently a different font face. Every other character in the table displayed properly, which seemed odd. Thanks for pointing out this issue. I should have noted which font doesn't display the correct character before I tried another, in case someone else has the issue. --JS 1:37 UTC 16 August 2007
If it displayed as ɣ instead of as an opentail g, the font causing the problem is MS Reference Sans. There's discussion about it at Talk:Voiced velar plosive. —Angr 04:23, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Native speakers needed.

Sounds should be recorded by speakers who have them in their native language. I have high doubts about correctness of some. [ʐ] sounds incorrect to me (I don't hear Polish often, but this sounds very different than their "rz" to me.), and [ç] is also wrong. ([ç] sounds close to [x], not close to [ʃ] as it sounds in recording) 18:02, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Two comments on this: First, I think this is quite a good idea, but it might be a little "distracting" (can't think of a better word right now) to have many different phonemes spoken by people, female and male, with various voices, high and low, in different sound qualities... hmm. And then again, will we find native speakers of languages with such seldom phonemes as [ʙ] or [ʜ]? My suggestion would be to include sound samples by native speakers for the example words in the corresponding article of each phoneme. Second, about the [ç], I'm a native speaker of German and in my opinion, the [ç] in the sound file sounds almost perfect. Definitely not wrong. And it does sound closer to [ʃ] than [x]; it has to. — N-true 15:57, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree that native speakers should be preferred. However, I can tell you from experience that the [ɛ] of English and the [ɛ] of Korean sound a bit different from each other, despite being represented by the same IPA character. The [e] of Swedish (in Stockholm) sounds very different from the [e] of the English diphthong [eɪ] as well. Maybe you're noticing the same sort of thing as I did..? --Kjoonlee 17:15, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
I also agree that native speakers should be preferred. The late Peter Ladefoged had an excellent talent for pronouncing all sorts of sounds not native to him, and there are others like him, but I suspect we're likely to find many people who think they can do non-native sounds perfectly well, and can't. I also agree that there is much variation hidden by the various IPA symbols. This is a classic problem of using discrete symbols to mark points on continua. garik 17:58, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
Interesting. I'm not native speaker of German, but can hear German often from German TV's, and for me as Czech,[ç] sounds like somewhat hissy [x] and very different from [ʃ]. Maybe that perception of similarity of sounds depends on native language. I agree with you that sounds from different speakers with different voices could be distracting. Computerized voices might be a good solution. 18:59, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
I strongly suspect different languages "hear" a foreign sound in different ways. An interesting example is that European French speakers usually reproduce /θ ð/ as /s z/, whereas Quebec speakers use /t d/. It's obvious a language with velar or alveolo-palatal fricatives is likely to hear /ç/ in a different fashion as one that doesn't. Circeus 05:04, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Both Czech and German have velar fricatives, and don't have alvelo-palatal. Czech and German have the same inventory of unvoiced fricatives, except [ç]. I would never thought that such close languages as Quebec French and European French make people hear unknown sounds differently. 12:57, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Circeus, people listen for distinctive features, so different people can repeat same sounds in different ways. --Kjoonlee 18:44, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

It's impossible to get "correct" pronunciations because, despite its name, the IPA is a phonemic alphabet, and only secondarily a phonetic one, and the identities are somewhat abstract. IPA /ç/ isn't the same thing as German /ç/, and German /ç/ varies significantly between dialects. A phoneme in any one dialect has variation between tokens, speakers, prosody, and context, and a phoneme in a different language that is written with the same IPA letter may be accoustically or cognitively very different. Polish /ʐ/ is a very different sound than Mandarin /ʐ/. Ladefoged tried hard to not pronounce the letters as they are in any actual language; he articulated his vowels, for example, at the extremes of vowel space, as this is the closest you can get to a universal standard. Consequently to most people they sound exagerated. If we use native speakers, I suggest we present the sound clips as examples, in a particular language, of a family of sounds that are identified with an IPA category, and not claim that they represent the IPA letter itself. kwami 17:07, 7 October 2007 (UTC)


"For education, the IPA can help standardize resources which prepare students and very young children (ages 6-36 months) for universal language acquisition through familiarization and subsequent imitation of the breadth of human speech sounds." What does it mean, "universal language acquisition"? SuperElephant 14:51, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

I think it refers to language acquisition of any (either native or non-native) language. Circeus 15:22, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
Children are quite obviously well prepared for that.SuperElephant 15:39, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Featured Article

I'm really impressed with the quality of this article; it's one of the better WP pages I've seen. I think this page is very worthy of being a FA, amirite? 07:08, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

It was a candidate last spring but didn't get promoted. The discussion is at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/International Phonetic Alphabet/archive1. We need to go through that and address all of the concerns, and then probably go through another peer review, before putting it up for FAC again. —Angr 10:27, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Removing unsourced statements

I am removing the following statements that have been tagged as needing a source for several months:

  • the voicing of [ʡ] is ambiguous
  • [h] and [ɦ] are not actually glottal, fricatives, or approximants. Rather, they are bare phonation. They are retained in the chart for historical reasons.
  • It has been suggested that this [viz. the bilabial flap] be written with the labiodental flap symbol and the advanced diacritic, [ѵ̟].
  • The usage of mapping systems in on-line text has been declining as technical support for Unicode spreads

If anyone can find a source for these claims, feel free to re-add them. —Angr 18:32, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

The sources are, I believe, in the individual articles, except for the last, which I have no idea about. kwami 19:20, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Then they need to be added here as well, since someone questioned the statements. And please don't use your rollback button on good-faith edits, it's rude. —Angr 19:22, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. Looks like they were never added. The first two are from SOWL, which I don't happen to have handy. The third was in the IPA proposal, but I don't recall which of the two refs in the [ѵ] article that was. kwami 19:28, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Found. kwami 01:59, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Greek symbols

The Symbols and sounds section states:

[ʋ], for example, is a vowel in Greek, but an only indirectly related consonant in the IPA.

It looks like the consonant Nu to me—certainly not the vowel Upsilon, which is a different IPA symbol. --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 10:32, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

You mean ʊ? I know the IPA calls that an upsilon, but it doesn't look much like one. I think ʋ looks more like υ than ʊ does, but it depends a lot on what typefaces you're looking at. I've always wondered why the IPA went with ʊ rather than a straightforward small capital U when they decided to replace ɷ as the symbol for the FOOT vowel. —Angr 11:05, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
No: what I mean is that ʋ (a labiodental tap or flap) looks like lower-case Greek Nu (the equivalent to Latin N)—not like LC Greek Upsilon. --NigelG (or Ndsg) | Talk 21:57, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
Again, I think it varies depending on what typeface you're looking at. I'm accustomed to nu having a pointy bottom and upsilon having a rounded bottom, and ʋ (the labiodental glide actually, not a tap or flap) usually has a rounded bottom. —Angr 22:07, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
It definitely looks more like a (lowercase) upsilon than a nu. FilipeS 19:34, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Another IPA font

I don't know how to put this in the article, but if someone else wants to add this in: This is a IPA character map that uses .NET. Here is the link: (talk) 20:55, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Good. Thanks. kwami (talk) 21:00, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I see it was already there. kwami (talk) 21:01, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, sorry, I didn't see that... I thought I checked to see if it was already there... Laytonsmith14 (talk) 00:26, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

IPA tables do not format properly

Formatting a table with class="IPA wikitable" does not force the symbols into the same font as the {{IPA}} template. Does someone know how to fix this? kwami (talk) 07:22, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Okay, formatted all cells with {{IPA}}. kwami (talk) 07:40, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
Strange. It used to work. −Woodstone (talk) 12:51, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
On my FF browser it displays in Arial, which doesn't handle IPA too well (e.g. ligatures). kwami (talk) 17:14, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't understand something about the R-sounds

I don't know if there is anybody here who is good at phonetics, but I have the following question. The ɾ / r sound pair doesn't mean the same if I write it as r / rː? I see some inconsequency in this marking, because as I mean, a trill is the long sound sound for the flap, or viceversa, the flap is a simple trill. For example, the Italian word terra in IPA is transliterated as ['terːa], while really the rr soind in it is not longer than a trill [r], it is pronounced the same way as Spanish tierra, however, for Spanish you would put ['tjera]... So, I don't really understand what the difference is between the [r] and the [rː] sign, because the sound they represent is exactly the same. --TheMexican (talk) 18:12, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Transcription of a language doesn't happen in a vacuum; the transcription depends on how sounds pattern in a language (the language's phonology. In Italian, consonants contrast for length, and you get pairs like fato [fato] vs. fatto [fat:o]. So for Italian, it makes sense to transcribe terra as [ter:a], because the long trill is functioning as a geminate consonant. But in Spanish, there is no gemination like there is in Italian, so transcribing tierra as [tjer:a] wouldn't make sense within the system of Spanish phonology. So instead, the distinction between pero and perro in Spanish is transcribed as [peɾo] vs. [pero], flap vs. trill. Also, it's not clear that a trill is a long flap. It's more like a series of ultra-short flaps. A long flap might just be [d]. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 18:40, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Mex, Angr gave you the phonological argument, but there's also a phonetic one: There's a difference in articulation between a one-contact trill and a flap. With a flap, you purposefully move the tongue to strike the top of the mouth; with a trill, you hold the tongue in position and it vibrates in the airstream. A short trill may make only one contact, but it may make more. In one study of Italian trills from five speakers, the single r had 1-2 contacts, while the geminate rr had 3-7. That is, the difference truly is one of length. Spanish is different: its flap can only make one contact, because the tongue is not relaxed to allow it to vibrate the way it does with rr. kwami (talk) 20:20, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Thank you, now I see. Only one note, the other problem with Spanish is that you call "flap", isn't always really a flap, because for example in the word perla it trills at least 2-3 times, while in tierra, at least 4. It's true that in Spanish the r is the only sound with a long pair and phonological distinction, though there also exists the double "n" with this distinction in some words, for example: díganos ['diganos] (="Let him/her tell us") and dígannos ['digan:os](="Let them tell us") or also in single words, like innato [in'nato]. Thanks again. --TheMexican (talk) 21:31, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

They may be in free variation in a word like perla, or perhaps perla has a trill for all speakers. But in a word like pero, can there ever be more than one contact? It's only between vowels that we have a distinction. kwami (talk) 01:32, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

To tell the truth, I've never listened to it carefully, but I don't consider it impossible. Also there is some misunderstanding in the name of these phonemes between English and Spanish, because in Spanish both are called vibrante (simple and múltiple) which would mean "short trill" and "long trill" in English, though for the vibrante simple the "flap" sign is applied, which, as you have explained above, is not the same as a short trill. :) I think that's why Spanish linguists don't prefer using the standard IPA signs, but instead a simple r for the vibrante simple and an r with a horizontal line at the top for the long trill. (Btw, how could I type this sign?) Regards, --TheMexican (talk) 14:40, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

PS: Generally in languages with no distinction, there is only a trill, like in Modern Greek, the rho, though in writing it can appear as signle or doubled, both of them are prononounced a semi-long trill with 2 or 3 contacts. The same happens in Finnish. --TheMexican (talk) 15:16, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

The Unicode entity for a combining macron is ̄ so if you type r̄ it will render as r̄. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 16:15, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
We should bring this up at Spanish phonology.
Ladefoged gives Finnish and Italian as examples of languages with long vs. short trills, but Spanish, Arabic (some dialects), Shilluk, and Afar as examples of languages with trills vs. taps. kwami (talk) 16:41, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Thank you all! Regards, --TheMexican (talk) 19:17, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Recent edit

I felt like reverting this edit [1], but now I realize it reads like an ad. Revert and make less POV? — Zerida 23:24, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

There are lots of variants of the IPA, which merit an article of their own - in fact, I think Campari is already covered there. kwami (talk) 02:41, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Is it just me?

Is it just me, or does note I (roman numeral one) have the words "from the phrase phrase 'International Phonetic Alphabet'", even though the source code has only one instance of the word "phrase"? Is something wrong with my browser (IE 7 on Vista), or is MediaWiki acting up? --Śiva (talk) 02:54, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Looks fine on my browser (Firefox on Windows XP). —Angr If you've written a quality article... 06:41, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

I think [ʎ] is in wrong place in the table

As far I as know, [ʎ] is not an approximant, but a palatal lateral fricative. Also the sound sample recording is wrong. The main article about this sound brings also the Spanish language for ocurrence example, but the sound in Spanish is obviously a palatal lateral fricative and not an aproximant in those few dialects where it is conserved. When you pronounce this sound, your tongue touches the paladar and not only approaches it. You pronounce this sound the same way as an l, just the point of articulation is palatal and not alveolar. I suggest correcting the table and the sample sound recording. Thank you, --Mextalk 17:22, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

It's correct in the table. [l] and [ʎ] are both approximants. However, you're right about the sound sample: that sounds like [j]! — kwami (talk) 17:45, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Maybe what I know is the traditional concept, according to wich L is a palatal lateral fricative. For me approximant is the sound when the tongue does not touch anything in the mouth, just approaches it. And when pronouncing the L, your tongue touches the palate. --Mextalk 18:10, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

[edit conflict] Ah, I see where you're coming from. Yes, in all lateral consonants the tongue makes solid contact with the center of the roof of the mouth. What's relevant is how close it is at the sides. If it only approaches the sides, so you have clear lateral airflow, you have an approximant. If it contacts the sides, so you have noisy lateral airflow, you have a fricative. — kwami (talk) 18:13, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Now I see. Anyway, it's just question of interpretation, :) Thank you. (Btw, I can cut out the correct sound sample from a Spanish recording if you want.) --Mextalk 18:19, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

[ʎ] is so unstable in Spanish I'd almost rather have a sound sample from a different language like Portuguese, Italian, or Serbo-Croatian. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 19:22, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

I wrote to the person who made all the sound sample recordings and asked him to re-record it the correct way. --Mextalk 19:33, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Mistake in old vowel symbols remark?

[ʊ] and [ɪ] were written as <ɷ> and <ɩ> respectively in older versions of the IPA. That's funny: I was writing to report that the latter current symbol appeared to be identical to the latter older version (both looked like a small capital I). But now that I've pasted the text here, in the text area where my browser displays it in a serifed, monospaced font, I see they are two different symbols, the former like a small capital I, the latter like Greek lower-case iota (or "Latin Small Letter iota", U+269). Beware. —Largo Plazo (talk) 09:44, 31 March 2008 (UTC)