Template talk:Infobox cobalt

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IPA/ Respell?[edit]

There was some discussion on the cobalt talk page about six years ago now regarding the IPA and respelling keys for this word. "Cobalt" is also mentioned in the current respelling help page as a word for which respelling is problematic. The OED IPA for the word reads thus: /ˈkəʊbɒlt/, which the {{IPAc-en}} template replaces with /ˈkbɒlt/ (ain't it grand when the highly-specialized IPA comes up with two different spellings for the exact same pronunciation of the exact same word? Gotta love it!) which has the same first syllable as "cobra" and "coincidence". That clears up the first syllable (sort of) but still leaves us with "bolt". The OED indicates the "o" is is like the sound of "o" (more like "ah") in "body" and uses the character "ɒ". Other sources, however, (dictionary.com for one) use the character "ɔ" and suggest it is to be pronounced "aw" as in "awful". Merriam Webster says it is the sound indicated by their character "ȯ", making it rhyme with "pole vault" and "rock salt" and "asphalt" (their examples, not mine). The OED says asphalt is /ˈæsfælt/, /-fɔːlt/, neither of which is a phonetic match for the phonetic spelling they give for "cobalt". The word "halt" should rhyme with "cobalt", and the OED says it is transcribed /hɔːlt/, which does match one of the two versions they give for "asphalt". I am not an authority to supersede the OED, but while I think we should retain the OED's IPA, I think we should use a respelling of "KOH-balt" (alternatively, "KOH-bawlt") and not "KOH-bolt" as is the current situation. KDS4444 (talk) 08:49, 19 November 2016 (UTC)

The problem is that while o in our pronunciation respelling key is supposed to always represent /ɒ/, the word bolt actually has the pronunciation /boʊlt/. Using a is wrong because that is supposed to mean /æ/ while aw means /ɔː/. So while what you currently write may be more intuitive, it goes against the key provided for the respelling scheme. Double sharp (talk) 11:48, 19 November 2016 (UTC)
Damn it, and I had thought I had been so thorough. But one thing I did not check was the value of the current respelling character "a". What about "ah"? This signifies IPA "/ɑː/", which is still not the undesirable sound "aw" (/ɔː/) but still seems very close to what we need here. Would this work, do you think? "KOH-bahlt"? KDS4444 (talk) 23:45, 19 November 2016 (UTC)
I daresay most of our readers would read that exactly as /ɑː/, which does not sound at all like the /ɒ/ we need to me (maybe the degree of difference differs between dialects, but I'd hate to give anyone the wrong impression of pronunciation). Double sharp (talk) 04:17, 20 November 2016 (UTC)
Let me get this right: the sounds /ɑː/ and /ɒ/ sound... "not at all" alike to you? "father and pod don't seem phonetically similar to your ears? Because the IPA help page for English notes that these two sounds are not distinguished in the GenAm (general American) dialect (which is what I speak, and so let us clarify— what dialect do YOU use?). Following that, how does the respelling "KOH-bahlt" read/ sound to you? Because it sounds fine to me, and much better than "KOH-bolt" ever did. KDS4444 (talk) 13:44, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
I use RP, where these two vowels have not merged. I'm really not sure how to describe it to you if your dialect doesn't distinguish them, but it really doesn't sound right to me. Double sharp (talk) 14:24, 22 November 2016 (UTC)