Talk:International Phonetic Alphabet/Archive 9

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Is there a member of the International Phonetic Association here?

This section is a "wish list" for the IPA. Indirectly, the discussions are a critique concerning the limitations of the IPA. If there is a member of the International Phonetic Association here, please consider proposing the suggestions below to become official updates to the IPA. --Haldrik (talk) 03:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Add the symbol [ẏ] (y with dot above) as an alternative form for the symbol [j]

I feel it is too alien for American English-speakers, when the IPA uses the symbol [j] to represent the sound "y". The strangeness of this symbol [j] may even be a reason why the IPA hasnt really caught on in America, despite a strong need for it. Too many times, I needed to transcribe the pronunciation of an ancient word but found myself refusing to use the IPA because the frequent symbol [j] would confuse, distract, or intimidate the general reader. As a solution, I suggest the IP Association adds the symbol [ẏ] (y with dot above) as an alternate symbol for [j]. Visually, the dot above and descender below helps remind the reader to equate them, for example when switching back-and-forth between American and German linguists. Note, the IPA already uses two alternate symbols for the sound [g]/[g]; the sound [j]/[ẏ] can do similarly. For example, the word "yellow" could be transcribed as either [jɛloʊ] or [ẏɛloʊ] --Haldrik (talk) 03:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

(I'm not a member of the IPA, but have some slight knowledge of its history.) Actually, a few decades ago the IPA purged the alphabet of all alternate symbols, except for the ones you can create yourself using diacritics. (The one IPA letter for the voiced velar plosive is <ɡ>; they merely acknowledge that not everyone is going to bother with it.) There is no way they are now going to start introducing new alternates, especially if the only reason is that you don't like it. One reason for keeping <j> is that there is iconic similarity between <j> and <i>. ẏ would ruin that. kwami (talk) 06:05, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
For myself, I dont have a problem with symbol [j]. (My brother's name is Jarl!) However, too often, I feel I cant use the IPA because of the [j], which is too problematic for American lay readers. If it was just me who didnt like it, I wouldnt mind. However I feel millions of people defacto refuse to use the IPA because of it. The IPA has ambitions to be the foremost international standard, and toward this goal, it would help if Americans used it too. Allowing an alternate symbol for [j] would be a wise strategy. Decades from now, future users can always reduce it back to one symbol, AFTER most of the world becomes familiar with the IPA. --Haldrik (talk) 06:59, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Kwami: "There is iconic similarity between [j] and [i]". Regarding archeology, I love how the form j retains vestiges of i from which it evolved. Regarding phonetics, it's totally irrelevant. Regarding Americans, for them, the form i has nothing to do with the sound [dʒ], and the use of j just creates confusion. Even for the general American reader who is aware that [j] means "y", it is highly distracting. It's impossible to implement it on-the-fly. Texts that need to discuss pronunciation are ALREADY complex and technical. Substituting the letter [j] for "y" adds too much confusion, because the reader doesnt just need to learn what some new symbol means, but has to keep on "unlearning" what "j" normally means. --Haldrik (talk) 06:59, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree it's a problem. Just teach the IPA with <y> for <j>. People do this kind of thing all the time, with extra letters for affricates, etc., especially with Amerindian languages. kwami (talk) 08:03, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
The purpose of the IPA is to provide a common, unified system of graphic symbols so that people all over the world can communicate with each other about phonetics, the same reason chemists worldwide use H for hydrogen regardless of whether the word in their language for "hydrogen" starts with an "h" (to wit, Italian or German) or whether even their written language involves an alphabet. A system that has alternate symbols so that speakers of each language can pick and choose the one he is most comfortable with defeats the purpose of the IPA.
If you want to use IPA in a work geared toward English-speaking laymen, then give them a guide. You have to give them a guide regardless of the system you use if you care about distinguishing between [u] and [ʊ] and [ʌ], for example, and expect them to know what you mean. —Largo Plazo (talk) 09:13, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Regarding the lay reader, its easy to learn [u], [ʊ], and [ɐ]. It isnt easy to "unlearn" "j" every time theres a [j]. One can intuitively guess [yɛloʊ] means "yellow" without too much concentration. But [jɛloʊ] continues to throw the reader off every time. The [j] symbol requires the writer to spend too much energy to make sure the IPA is clear, when the energy should focus on the point that the writer is trying to make. The extra worry adds confusion to a discussion that is already technical. Besides, IIRC, the IPA isnt just for linguists, but is intended to become a normal alphabet for everyone in the world. So, the IPA gains if it as friendly as possible for lay readers. --Haldrik (talk) 09:45, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I disagree with your feeling that [j] = "y" is hard to learn. Have you conducted a study showing this to be terribly difficult for people, or is this a presupposition? English speakers cope just fine with "ja", Jarlsberg cheese, and Johann Sebastian Bach. Besides, if you're writing material where use of IPA would be germane, then you aren't exactly dealing with the lowest common denominator of human intellect.
Meanwhile, I disagree entirely that [yɛloʊ] is at all intuitive, and I disagree even more strongly when you're using similar symbols to represent words that the reader doesn't already know (which is usually the reason why you'd be providing a phonetic representation to non-technical people). How does the reader know intuitively what [ɛ] means or how it differs from [e], and in particular how would a non-technical reader, who has no idea that phonetically our "long o" is a diphthong, know what the [ʊ] means or what it's there for? If you're using IPA for phonetic representation, then if you aren't assuming a level of intelligence sufficient to deal with [j] representing our "y" sound, then you shouldn't be assuming a level of intelligence sufficient to deal with IPA at all.
And certainly, if English speakers were going to use [y], or some variant thereof, for "y", then naturally they'd have the same expectation of being able to use [j], or some variant thereof, instead of [dʒ], for the sound that we write as "j"—and never mind that speakers of other languages are using [j] for [j] and may be using the same variant of [j] for something else. And then Germans will similarly want to use [w] or some variant thereof to represent [v], which they spell "w", and likewise for speakers of languages where [ʃ] is spelled "x" or "ch", where [ʒ] is spelled "j" or "ll" or "y", and so on. —Largo Plazo (talk) 12:14, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
By the way, where did you get the impression that "IPA ... is intended to become a normal alphabet for everyone in the world"? If that were true then your proposal would defeat the purpose outright! You'd be proposing that instead of using one IPA, speakers of each language use symbols that are "intuitive" to them based on their old writing system—and then we wouldn't all be using the same alphabet anyway, and nothing would have been accomplished. —Largo Plazo (talk) 11:58, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Actually, it's been my experience that <j> is a major hangup for Usonians learning the IPA. It's much harder to unlearn something than to learn something new. German <j> isn't such a problem, because you're learning a foreign language, and it's all new. But with the IPA, students generally practice transcribing English, and that really screws them up. But if you say, 'this is where everyone screws up, so you know it's going to be on the test', and giving examples from German, Polish, etc., then they get it all right. kwami (talk) 13:45, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Just because you're American, speak English, a language which was influenced by a ruined language (French) that had a consonant change where [j] turned into [d͡ʒ], you say we should start changing letters until all letters match the English alphabet? You do realize that j is to i as u is to v, namely, they're very new letters and were until relatively recent times pronounced identically? There's a reason why j is just an i with a hook, the letter "j" never represented [d͡ʒ]. In languages that haven't gone through an extraordinary amount of change or that have revised orthographies, j still represents the semi-vowel version of [i]. --nlitement [talk] 14:16, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
I have to admit I find this kind of criticism of the IPA absolutely laughable, and preposterously parochial. This kind of wish-list also has nothing to do with improving this article and should probably be removed per WP:talk. garik (talk) 17:33, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree that this is not an appropriate place to be discussing what the IPA should be. As far as I know, talk pages should be used for discussing the article, not (in this case) the IPA in general. —Politizertalk • contribs ) 17:38, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Relocate the symbol [a] in the IPA Vowel Chart to the Open Central Semirounded Vowel

The symbol [a] is extremely important, but it gets wasted on the cardinal Open Front Unrounded Vowel, which possibly doesnt occur in any language. Informally, many linguists reuse this symbol instead for the Open Central Semirounded Vowel, which occurs in many languages (like [a] in 'spa', 'father', or 'car', depending on dialect). Make this reuse official: relocate the symbol [a] in the IPA Vowel Chart to the Open Central Semirounded Vowel. (If necessary, create a new symbol for the cardinal Open Front Vowel.  ;-) It doesnt matter what the new symbol looks like since transcriptions will almost never use it anyway.) --Haldrik (talk) 03:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

The symbol used to be central. It was redefined to be front. kwami (talk) 06:56, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Well switch it back! It was a mistake. --Haldrik (talk) 07:19, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
The change was made so that the vowels could be given some objective definition, the way the consonants are, rather than the subjective definitions of "sounds like X in language Z". If you move your tongue as far forward as it is possible to pronounce a vowel, and so high that raising it any further will produce turbulence (an approximant), then the vowel is cardinal [i]. As far back as possible, with rounding and lip protrusion, and the vowel is cardinal [u]. As low as possible, and the vowels are cardinal [a] (front) and [ɑ] (back: any backer and you'd get a pharyngeal approximant). Few languages have any of these, except maybe [i] (and even cardinal [i] is more extreme than the /i/ in many if not most languages). They are theoretical fixed points that can be used to define any vowel: Divide the tongue height into thirds, with adjustments to rounding, for example, and you've got cardinal [e], [ɛ], [ɔ], [o]. Then you can divide backness to get the central vowels, and adjust rounding for the others.
Sure, but they shouldnt have wasted the [a] symbol on the theoretical cardinal vowel. They should have made up a new symbol for it, and kept the [a] in Central where its actually useful - where linguists actually use it. --Haldrik (talk) 08:06, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Then we would have no symbol for the cardinal vowel. The entire IPA is based on the idea of only having letters for sounds which are phonemically distinctive, and low front & center are not distinctive. But this is an issue for all vowels: Hardly any of them match the cardinal vowels. If we can use <u> for English /u/, we can use <a> for Spanish /a/. Few of them are ever going to be exact. — kwami (talk) 07:59, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Theres a decisive difference between Open Front, which is an Unrounded vowel, versus Open Central, which is Semirounded. So, there is a phonemic distinction. Pragmatically both locations are important and warrant separate symbols: the Front is an important theoretical limit while the Central is an extremely common vowel. It would make more sense, to move the common [a] symbol to Open Central, and then move the [æ] symbol to Open Front to serve as the cardinal. Then the Mid-Open location would use the [æ̝] with the diacritic mark, but since the cardinal Open never gets used, the Mid-Open can always use this symbol without a diacritic. With this shift in locations, linguists will still continue to use the symbols in transcriptions in the same way they already use them now, except the IPA would officially recognize this reality. (Incidentally, if the [æ] symbol moves to the cardinal corner, the Front vowels would mirror the Back vowels symmetrically.) In sum, the Vowel Chart seems more useful if [a] moves to Central, and [æ] to Open. --Haldrik (talk) 09:18, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you, and what you're proposing is the way it used to be. But phonemicity has nothing to do with rounding, it has to do with contrast within a language. Also, IPA vowels are either rounded or unrounded. And where do you get the idea that [ä] must be semi-rounded? kwami (talk)
But the vowel in [hæt] is phonemically distinct from the one in [car]. The only difference in the Vowel Chart would be, the [æ] would represent the cardinal, instead of the [a]. In the exact same way, the [ɒ] represents the cardinal for the Back vowels. Regarding [ä], Iv seen studies describe it as Semirounded. Its similar to Semirounded [ɐ] but more Open. --Haldrik (talk) 10:02, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't know where you get that [ɐ] is semirounded either. Low vowels are generally not rounded.
If you want <æ> for [a], fine. Then we discard <a>, because there isn't a three-way distinction here. Anyway, this discussion would be fine for a user page, but it is useless here, where we're supposed to be discussing the article. —kwami (talk) 10:59, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
"Then we discard <a>". Why? The above reasoning doesnt make sense to me. I dare say, as the chart is now, theres no such thing as a phonemic distinction between open front [a] and near-open front [æ] in any language. As is, one of these symbols is discardable, since either symbol is proximal enough to stand for either sound. But elsewhere, there *is* a phonemic distinction between the open central [ä], like "car" [cär], and the near-open central [ɐ], like "cup" [cɐp]. Now, an updated Vowel Chart could move the [æ] symbol to the unused cardinal open front vowel, thus be able to move the important [a] symbol from there to the important open central vowel. There would remain phonemic distinctions between all of these: "cap" [cæp], "cup" [cɐp], and "car" [car]. --Haldrik (talk) 01:15, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
either symbol (<æ> and <a>) is proximal enough to stand for either sound. Yeah, the only time I've seen <æ> and <a> used to distinguish vowels is when <a> is used to express the low central vowel or the low back vowel. While it's true that the low central vowel is not a cardinal vowel, it's still ironic that the most common vowel in the world's languages has no IPA symbol! I do remember one proposal for using [a] with the advanced or fronting diacritic for the low front vowel, but I think the ash symbol works fine, leaving <a> for the central one (even though, confusingly, that's used for the low back vowel sometimes). We're frequently forced to do that anyway. It's true we're not in the business of changing IPA here, but linguists do contend with some of the issues you raise. — Zerida 05:09, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Aren't there parts of New England (Maine? Hahvahd Yahd?) where "hard" = [ha:d] and "had" = [hæ:d]? —Largo Plazo (talk) 03:37, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Boston accent (not certain)? — Zerida 04:10, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't think had has a long vowel in those accents, at least, not as long a vowel as hard has. —Angr 04:31, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Supposing that to be true: I'm not sure that matters because I don't think that length is phonemic. I believe that whether you uttered [had] or [ha:d] they'd understand you to be saying "hard", not "had", because it's the openness that's distinctive, not the length. Likewise, I believe they'd hear both [hæd] and [hæ:d] as "had". —Largo Plazo (talk) 11:36, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, while not a professional phonetician, I can say living in Boston that <æ> is not a characteristically long vowel in the accent here. It might be elongated in environments such as "ladder" (as it is in many varieties of English), but in "bad" and "had" it's short--no longer than the vowel in "bud" or "bed". --Atemperman (talk) 16:55, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
So, "ladder" [ˈlæ:ɾə] vs "larder" [ˈla:ɾə]? —Largo Plazo (talk) 21:39, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Remove the symbol [ɧ]

This is the place for suggesting improvements to Wikipedia's article on the IPA, not improvements to the IPA itself. (That said, my wishlist would include getting rid of the silly symbol "ɧ" and adding a symbol for the unrounded equivalent of [ʊ].) —Angr If you've written a quality article... 04:26, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

What language(s) have the unrounded vowel? — Zerida 05:47, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Before that, we need a way to transcribe Swedish and Japanese vowels. Since we only have the silly ɧ symbol because of Swedes on the IPA board, I find it amazing that there's no unambiguous way to do that. kwami (talk) 06:09, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't know if I remember this correctly, but I used to hear a phonetician complain tongue-in-cheek that the IPA board was "controlled by French" (or was it British?) — Zerida 06:36, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
There have been complaints of favoritism towards the languages of the members of the IPA. They even removed the symbols for the voiceless implosives, despite their being phonemic in Nigeria and Guatemala. If they were phonemic in English or French, there's no way that would ever have happened. kwami (talk) 06:54, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Make a symbol for the Unrounded Near-Close Near-Back Vowel

Per Angr, make a symbol for the Unrounded Near-Close Near-Back Vowel, that is, the unrounded equivalent of [ʊ]. --Haldrik (talk) 06:41, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

The IPA only adds symbols when they can be shown to be phonemically distinct in some (important) language. For minor phonetic distinctions, use diacritics, in this case <ɯ̽> or <ʊ̜>. kwami (talk) 06:52, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Haldrik, this is pointless. You might as well write on the Pluto article that you want Pluto reinstated as a planet, or on the Northern Cyprus or Abxazia articles that you want them recognized as independent countries. kwami (talk) 06:58, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia benefits from the minds of millions of people, who are often experts in the subject. These discussions are valuable. Its good to have it in Talk. Again, in this case, the "wish list" is instructive because it clarifies what the IPA can do. --Haldrik (talk) 07:23, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Per Zerida, how many languages use the unrounded [ʊ]? --Haldrik (talk) 07:32, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
In English [ʊ] is often not very rounded. Portuguese is supposed to have it. I don't know where else, since it isn't phonemic. kwami (talk) 07:42, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
If it comes to that, how many languages have [ɶ] that's phonemically distinct from [œ]? Probably none, but they have the symbol anyway. Another addition on my wishlist is [ɪ], a symbol widely used but not official IPA, which is a phoneme in northern dialects of Welsh. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 16:03, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
To clarify, my question wasn't rhetorical. I wanted to know what language or languages might have that vowel sound. I was still under the impression that [ɶ] was not attested in any language. Only now did I find out after reading its article that it does exist in some dialects. — Zerida 17:56, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
English uses the sound often, especially American English (in fact, I find rounded ones rarer than unrounded ones) but they're not technically "distinguished" in the language. If you were to switch the rounded/unroundedness of the vowel on a particular word no one would notice, and there are no words where a version of it with the rounding reversed will mean something different. So that's why the IPA doesn't include an official symbol for it. LokiClock (talk) 18:54, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
My wish list is a diacritic for the Swedish and Japanese compressed vowels, which cannot currently be transcribed in IPA. kwami (talk) 20:18, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Alveolar trill

Shouldn't it have a voiced/voiceless distinction? One of the best-known examples of this sound is in Spanish (the double r in words like "perro"), where it is voiced. But from what I understand of Welsh phonology, the Welsh "rh" makes the same sound, but without voicing. A. Parrot (talk) 18:39, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Classical Greek had a similar sound. You transcribe it using the voiceless diacritic. I know what you're getting at: it seems arbitrary that there should be (e.g.) symbols for both /t/ and /d/, but none for a voiceless /r/. garik (talk) 19:00, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
The IPA has only voiced symbols for sonorants, which are rarely voiceless, and both voiced and voiceless for obstruents, which are frequently both. You could argue that's due to frequency, but it's really a consequence of basing the IPA on the Latin alphabet. Note implosives and clicks are an exception: there aren't even symbols for nasal clicks, as these aren't relevant for European languages, which is what the IPA was designed for. The only voiceless sonorant is ʍ, because it's found in English, one of the original IPA languages. If English had had a voiceless rhotic, we'd have a dedicated symbol for it too. kwami (talk) 20:17, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Wish lists

Am I the only person who thinks that Wikipedia talk pages are not the place for this kind of wish list? garik (talk) 19:03, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Wish lists, no, but I think the biases in the IPA, which is not really very international, are worth commenting on. kwami (talk) 20:19, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but only if the purpose of discussing them here is to improve this article. Now there's nothing wrong with including information in the article about criticisms of the IPA — no one's saying it's perfect — but not if they're Wikipedia editors' criticisms! We need criticisms by people we can cite. Much of this section is just OR, and borders on being a soapbox. garik (talk) 10:08, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Note links don't work

They will return you to the text once you get to them, but won't take you to the note in the first place. kwami (talk) 17:51, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

No need for IPA templates in tables

Hi, the tables in the article have the "IPA wikitable" classes set, so you don't have to call the IPA template in the tables. --Kjoonlee 07:04, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Hm, if you only have "span.IPA" in your user stylesheets, then the CSS rules will not cascade onto all cell contents. Switching to ".IPA" in your user styles can be a solution. It's just too useful, and the global stylesheets are set up to work that way as well. --Kjoonlee 21:15, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Need IPA help, probably in wrong place

Wəlæm'ət vs. wɪ'læmət. The accent should be on the second syllable, sounds like "wuh-lamm-it" or "wuh-lamm-uht" not "Will-uhm-ett" (a quick marker for a tourist). I think this is wrong and I have changed it, but my knowledge of the IPA is pretty weak. If there's an "IPA help board" somewhere, feel free to move this comment there.Somedumbyankee (talk) 01:17, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Okay, done. kwami (talk) 03:07, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

"Non-Contextual" Claim

"There are no letters that have context-dependent sound values (as <c> does in English and other European languages)"

That's not true. That's the idea, yes, but in practice you have variable usage in some cases, such as dipthongs ending in [i] being regularly transcribed with <ɪ>, e.g. <eɪ> for [ei] as in "bay". LokiClock (talk) 15:36, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

By writing it <eɪ>, the author is claiming that it is [eɪ] (or /eɪ/), so that isn't context dependent. kwami (talk) 23:29, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
But English vowels are almost universally listed with [ɪ], not [i]. I have never in any dialect heard that dipthong pronounced <eɪ>. Yet it's under the official IPA help page for English. LokiClock (talk) 19:01, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Also, the same sound is transcribed both ways, when they'd obviously be transcribed the same way every time if it was non-contextual. The only way you could confuse [ei] with [eɪ] would be if you confused the sound values that correspond to the characters, which can easily be the case, since they're both variants of the letter I. LokiClock (talk) 17:33, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
It really sounds like /ei/ to me too. But I know Ladefoged worked w my dialect, and when he mapped the diphthongs in vowels space, they didn't quite reach /i/. kwami (talk) 00:39, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Google Chrome

It looks like we have a new problem. The new Google Chrome browser does not display IPA very well. Especially diacritics like superscripts and ties. Any ideas how to find a remedy? −Woodstone (talk) 13:07, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Looks perfectly fine to me—same as in Firefox... Fvasconcellos (t·c) 13:16, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

IPA in Jaws

Michael found a possibly useful link, with advice on reading IPA or other Unicode characters in JAWS, by editing an .sbl file :Getting JAWS 6.1 to recognize "exotic" Unicode symbols.Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy Mabbett; Andy Mabbett's contributions 21:13, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Sibilants and fricatives

As a fanciful thought, I constructed:


Dental: θ ð/s̪ z̪

Alveolar: θ̠ ð̠/s z

Postalv.: /ʃ ʒ

Retroflex: /ʂ ʐ

Palatal: ç ʝ/ɕ ʑ

Velar: x ɣ/ɧ ɧ̬

Now tell me why it's wrong. (talk) 13:39, 17 September 2008 (UTC)


Angr, I am good at this sort of thing, and it's sure not a tap like we have in US English "butter". And for me it's voiced, not voiceless. So I dispute your reversion. -- Evertype· 11:36, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm good at this sort of thing too, and it's sure not a [d] either. As usual in such cases, what do the published sources say? —Angr 11:55, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
In General American, it's definitely a tap, like Angr put. I'm not disputing how you personally might pronounce it, Evertype, but if you do pronounce it that way then you're probably speaking a slightly different dialect (and there's nothing wrong with that--I don't speak exact General American English either).
Regarding the voicing...first of all, unless my fonts are displaying funny, the smbol Angr put in is a voiced tap. And, as far as I know, all taps are voiced, since they go by so quickly there's not really time for a significant pause in the vibration of the vocal cords (I'm not a phonetician, though, so correct me if I'm wrong about that). But anyway, if you're worried about the voiced/voiceless distinction, then yeah, [ɾ] is voiced (you can double-check the chart if you don't trust me). --Politizer (talk) 13:46, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and I should also mention this, so that Angr doesn't have to.... I may be wrong about this, but I'm pretty sure the guy behind Angr worked on the Telsur Project (at UPenn) with Labov, so he knows his stuff a lot better than I do. --Politizer (talk) 13:47, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
No, I didn't. I've used the Telsur Project and the Atlas of North American English as a source because I own the book, but I was not involved in that research myself. —Angr 15:04, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Ah, my bad. I've used some of the dialect maps and various distinction/merger maps you have up on Commons, and I was under the impression that you had been part of that project. Anyway, my bad! --Politizer (talk) 15:13, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Paragraph for removal?

From International Phonetic Alphabet#Dictionaries:

One of the benefits of using an alternative to the IPA is the ability to use a single symbol for a sound pronounced differently in different dialects. For example, the American Heritage Dictionary uses ŏ for the vowel in cot (kŏt) but ô for the one in caught (kôt).[1] Some American speakers pronounce the vowels ŏ and ô the same way (for example, like IPA [ɒ] in the Boston dialect); for those speakers who maintain the distinction, depending on the accent, the vowel in cot may vary from [ɑ] to [a], while the vowel in caught may vary from [ɔ] to [ɑ], or may even be a diphthong. Using one symbol for the vowel in cot (instead of having different symbols for different pronunciations of the o) enables the dictionary to provide meaningful pronunciations for speakers of most dialects of English.

No sources are given for the general analysis here (the only source is for the Bartleby dictionary example), which makes this paragraph look to me like a synthesis of ideas (read: OR). Also, more importantly, it doesn't say how this is a benefit...i.e., what tangible benefits are there for using the same symbol with different diacritics in transcription of cot and caught (and what is a "meaningful pronunciation"?)? I'm not straight up deleting that paragraph, because I'm hoping that by posting it here someone will go add sources and a better explanation of why this is a benefit...but if it doesn't get cleaned up soon I think we should consider removing it. —Politizer talk/contribs 14:50, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

The paragraph is factually false, but true in practice. If a Usonian dictionary transcribes cot as (kŏt) and caught as (kôt), most Usonians have no trouble accepting this even if they pronounce the two words the same. However, if a dictionary transcribes them as /kɒt/ and /kɔːt/, people will adamantly object that for them they are pronounced [kɑːt], and therefore that the transcription is wrong or biased against them. Logically, of course, there is no difference between the two systems, but most people mistakenly believe that the International Phonetic Alphabet is phonetic, which it is not. Also, because (kŏt) and (kôt) are based on the same vowel letter <o>, people who pronounce them the same seem more to accept them. Diacritics are seen as peripheral to the base letters, which of course is also factually incorrect in many cases, but is how the human mind works (or at least the human mind raised on the Latin alphabet). I believe AH chose the symbols (ŏ) and (ô) intentionally to work with people's intuition rather than against it. kwami (talk) 19:03, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Learning IPA

Hi, this is very much out of place, but I've been searching for days, but cannot find what I'm looking for. I want a resource where you can learn how to accurately pronounce all the consonants and vowels of the IPA. At the moment, all I've found is guides for learning and pronouncing the sounds of english. But is there a resource, somewhere (either on the net, in a book, anywhere) where I can learn ALL the current IPA symbols, and how to pronounce them? Thanks if someone can help, and although this isn't the right place to ask this, I was hoping someone here may know about what I seek. --Paaerduag (talk) 03:13, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Try Help:IPA. It's not perfect, but it's a start. kwami (talk) 07:10, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
And note that most symbols are backed by sound files you can play, and refer to wiki articles that explain the details. −Woodstone (talk) 09:53, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Ah thanks for that. I didn't know such a great resource was so close at hand :) now to try practicing and memorizing them hehe.--Paaerduag (talk) 10:00, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Here's a more professional site:UCLA IPA. kwami (talk) 18:49, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
    • ^ "Pronunciation Key". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 2000. Retrieved 2006-09-19.