Talk:Phonetic transcription

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Wells PDF file[edit]

There is a 29-page PDF about phonetic transcription and analysis by Prof. John Wells written, it says on his website, for a "forthcoming encyclopedia". A lot of the material will be covered in Wikipedia already in various articles on phonetics topics, but it might be a good idea for someone knowledgeable to make use of Wells's work, which is after all written as an encyclopedia article, as a guide to expand the stub we currently have here. — Trilobite (Talk) 14:03, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

yes, it is not bad. he focuses on IPA, which is his thing. he only mentions alphabetic notation — although this is the major type of phonetic notation, there are others worth mentioning. i think the following is a very good article:
  • MacMahon, Michael K. C. (1996). Phonetic notation. In P. T. Daniels & W. Bright (Ed.), The world's writing systems (pp. 821-846). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507993-0.
peace — ishwar  (SPEAK) 06:36, 2005 Jun 14 (UTC)

phonetic notation[edit]

hi. i didnt know that this page existed before i made phonetic notation article. maybe merge? — ishwar  (SPEAK) 06:31, 2005 Jun 14 (UTC)

Well the article you wrote is obviously much more comprehensive than this. I notice someone has already added the content here there. It needs to be merged better, if there is anything here that isn't already covered there. I think however, that the final article should be caled "phonetic transcription" because that's the more commonly used term, with a redirect of course from "phonetic notation". Cheers! Nohat 06:55, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
ok. here it comes... — ishwar  (SPEAK) 07:39, 2005 Jun 14 (UTC)
Looks good. I eagerly anticipate watching and helping the article grow. Nohat 08:16, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Broad and narrow[edit]

I've just upgraded this section from a stub in a way which I hope is helpful. However, I had problems with the IPA symbols which don't show correctly on my browser. Perhaps someone could check that these are correct. --Doric Loon 22:09, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Doric Loon, I can't answer your question, but I have a separate comment.
I notice that many dictionaries enclose the symbols between brackets, even though they look to me like the broad transcriptions described in this article section. And I agree with the description that broad transcriptions are easier for non-experts (me!) to interpret, and have more general application.
Yet in the later section it is recounted that Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle transcribed the English word "night" phonemically as /nixt/. This seems to me to be an example of a transcription that would be completely useless to a non-expert, were it to appear in (say) a dictionary. The recommendations appearing under the Alphabetic sub-heading also appear much stricter than those discussed in this section.
— DIV ( 08:41, 5 July 2007 (UTC))

"Copied from IPA"[edit]

Why does this article have a great big section copied from the IPA article? This means that it has to continuously be kept in sync with that article. I can think of two solutions: (a) We should abolish it, and rewrite it to include the necessary parts. A link can easily be established to the IPA article (or vice versa) for more detail on the IPA in particular or phonetic transcription in general. (b) We could just add the copied-over text to a template, and edit the template. That way, the articles are always in sync automatically.

I much prefer the first option, but maybe someone has other suggestions or reasons for the actual copying you should add on new things as a prize.

Felix the Cassowary 10:22, 31 July 2006 (UTC) (signed a few minutes late)

the truth is 'a little' different[edit]

Commenting on this part: 'In the orthography of most European languages, the fact that many letters are pronounced or silent depending on contexts causes difficulties in finding out the appropriate pronunciation, especially in the cases of English and French. However, in other languages such as Spanish and Italian, there is a consistent relationship between orthography and pronunciation.'
I would just say that the truth is oposite. In the most of European languages the writing is PHONETIC. Phonetically written are not only Spanish and Italian, but also- German, Dutch, Scandianvian languages, Slavic and Baltic languages, Greek, even Albanian language. Only English and partially French are not phonetically written. Anyway, having a phonetically written language is a very smart thing and it saves a lot of time, energy and NERVES that are usually wasted on memorizing the spelling and pronouncing of the words in non-phonetically written languages! Cheers! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 07:03, 23 July 2007

Indeed, I think this paragraph should be completely rewritten. Even French is mostly phonetic. The only exceptions are the rule of "liaisons" and silent letters, which only applies to the last letter of words; and the silent "ent" in the plural form of the 3rd person of conjugated verbs. But to compare that with English could be considered insulting by some French ;) The question in French is whether to pronounce a letter or not. In English, it is how to pronounce a particular letter, or sometimes where to put the emphasis (Think of the noun "record" and the verb "record" for example). Some letters or groups of letters can be pronounced in as many as 5 different ways, depending on contexts. English is far more inconsistent between its orthography and its pronunciation than any other European language of which I know.
The result is fairly evident: native English speakers (who learn their language first orally) have a real hard time spelling English words. This is of course a problem in any language, but more particularly so in English.Nicolasconnault (talk) 09:03, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
French isn't as consistent as you make on. brun is pronounced with a mid vowel and brune a high vowel even though the only orthographic difference is the "silent" e. There are a number of morphonemic alternations between certain oral vowels and not so similar nasal vowels (fin vs fine. au usually represents /o/ but in Maure and similar words it is more open. I could go on. Maybe I'm being nitpicky. The paragraph could do with some revision. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 11:11, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Mild confusion reigns[edit]

I'm quoting from the article:

"Another commonly encountered alphabetic tradition is the Americanist phonetic alphabet, originally created for the transcription of Native American and European languages. There exist somewhat similar traditions used by linguists of Indic, Finno-Ugric, Caucasian, and Slavic languages. The difference between these alphabets and IPA is relatively small, although often the specially created characters of the IPA are often abandoned in favour of already existing characters with diacritics (e.g. many characters are borrowed from Eastern European orthographies).
"There are also extended versions of the IPA, for example: extIPA, VoQs, and Luciano Canepari's canIPA.
"[edit] Other transcription systems
"The IPA is not the only phonetic transcription system in use. The other common Latin-based system is the Americanist phonetic notation, devised for representing American languages, but used by some US linguists as an alternative to the IPA. There are also sets of symbols specific to Slavic, Indic, Finno-Ugric, and Caucasian linguistics, as well as other regional specialties. The differences between these alphabets and IPA are relatively small, although often the special characters of the IPA are abandoned in favour of diacritics or digraphs."

I'm trying to puzzle through this fascinating and challenging subject. It seems to me the first and last paragraphs above are especially confusing and need some edits to clarify. The first is about "Americanist phonetic alphabet", the last about "Americanist phonetic notation". It's not clear if these are two distinct things, or two names for the same thing. The two paragraphs say much the same thing in different words, I think.

Will someone who understands the subject better than I (that does not narrow the field very much) please take a look at this?

Thanks, Wanderer57 (talk) 17:50, 1 August 2008 (UTC) ---P.S. This is a minor point but in these paragraphs the word "often" is used too often.

Dialect Embarrassment[edit]

I'm not sure how this point should be incorporated into the section on narrow versus broad transcription so I'll mention it here in the hopes that somebody else can take the point under advisement. One of my English teachers was from the UK. When she was learning the IPA, it was from a Professor whose speech betrayed a working-class upbringing that he thought had been eradicated from his speech. His students quickly learned when practicing transcription to record the upper-class accent the fellow thought he had, rather than how he actually was pronouncing certain words. (talk) 10:55, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

I don't suppose there's any way to work that anecdote into the article, but it reminds me of what happened to me when I was learning phonetic transcription in my first college linguistics course. We were to transcribe words as we ourselves pronounced them, but the teaching assistant who graded the papers was not a native English speaker. And what I learned was to transcribe words the way foreigners are taught to pronounce them, rather than how I actually pronounce them myself, otherwise it would get counted wrong. —Angr 14:11, 11 October 2008 (UTC)


"However, phonemic transcriptions may also be broad or narrow, or perhaps it would be better to say abstract vs. concrete."

Perhaps? This seems like rather clumsy phrasing, as if the article can't make up its mind. (talk) 03:42, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

Plurals with S- and Z-sounds.[edit]

I have an issue with the line "these would be |petz| and |bedz|". The S in 'beds' is indeed pronounced as Z, but the S in 'pets' certainly isn't, as it follows an unvoiced consonant. I prefer to raise an issue than interfere in the page itself, so if an author would like to address this issue, that would be appreciated. Thanks. SP1R1TM4N (talk) 15:13, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

The answer can be read immediately before that line - |(...)| is a morphological analysis, not a phonemic one. Mr KEBAB (talk) 19:32, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. My mistake. SP1R1TM4N (talk) 13:37, 10 June 2016 (UTC)