Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Pronunciation

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Reboot: Pronunciation placement[edit]

I've just now become aware of the above discussion, where it was proposed that pronunciation could be moved out of the lead in favor of the infobox. It's a year-old discussion with no consensus but I think it's a fantastic idea and we should keep pursuing it. Does anyone support an RFC for this? —Designate (talk) 19:03, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Several Bio info boxes now support pronunciations. This guide has suggested the option of moving it out of the lede for months. There may be cases where the pronunciation is so counter-intuitive that a simple opening text is insufficient, but in most cases, like Renoir or Hitler, there's no real need for pronunciation in the lede. I'm linking this discussion from infobox talk pages for comment. — kwami (talk) 22:00, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Generally it makes sense that pronuciation is not what makes a person notable, for example, so I would agree, can be taken out of lede. But it seems a minor nit. W Nowicki (talk) 23:08, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

So I thought. But when I started cleaning up the ledes, I got a demand that I revert all of my edits because I didn't have consensus. I'm not going to, of course, but I thought it was worth bringing up, just in case all the people who have complained about ledes getting cluttered up with pronunciations were not representative. — kwami (talk) 23:38, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
I would strongly oppose this, as infoboxes should be kept as short as possible. They are a very space-inefficient way of giving information, and are supposed to be less detailed than the lede, so this seems clearly a step in the wrong direction. The amount of work required to change the now long-established habit of putting them in the first sentence for thousands of articles would be fantastic. Who is going to do this? Even if there were a large consensus in favour of this, which with only 4 people commenting in 6 weeks there clearly isn't, it should not be done unless it can be done consistently. Johnbod (talk) 01:02, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
That's an argument against ever changing anything. As far as your concept of infoboxes, it isn't matched by practice. In practice, we put data in infoboxes when it wouldn't be good style to put it in the text, such as details that most people won't want up front etc. They are, actually, much more space-efficient than text, and it's the opening line of the lede that, for legibility, needs to be kept as short as possible, not the infobox. — kwami (talk) 02:50, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't believe that is general practice, and if it is, it emphatically shouldn't be. A new item in an infobox takes a whole new line and spacer after, admittedly in a smaller font, and this usually to convey one or two words. Johnbod (talk) 12:57, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
A bot could do this easily, so that part isn't an issue. —Designate (talk) 01:22, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
I very much doubt that, as the placing and phrasing isn't consistent now. Johnbod (talk) 02:15, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Very rarely do we need foreign transcriptions in the lede either. Here's an example I ran across today, Genghis Khan (here as I found it):

Genghis Khan (English pronunciation:/ˈɡɛŋɡɪs ˈkɑːn/ or /ˈɛŋɡɪs ˈkɑːn/;[1][2]; Cyrillic: Чингис Хаан, Chingis Khaan, IPA: [tʃiŋɡɪs xaːŋ]; Mongol script: Cinggis qayan.png, Činggis Qaɣan; Chinese: 成吉思汗; pinyin: Chéng Jí Sī Hán; probably May 31, 1162[3] – August 25, 1227), born Temujin (English pronunciation: /təˈmɪn/; Mongolian: Тэмүжин, Temüjin IPA: [tʰemutʃiŋ]; Middle Mongolian: Temüjin;[4] traditional Chinese: 鐵木真; simplified Chinese: 铁木真; pinyin: Tiě mù zhēn) and also known by the temple name Taizu (Chinese: 元太祖; pinyin: Yuán Tàizǔ; Wade–Giles: T'ai-Tsu), was the founder and Great Khan (emperor) of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death.

How do we expect anyone to read that? Now compare it to the non-parethetical text:

Genghis Khan (1162?–1227), born Temujin and also known by the temple name Taizu, was the founder and Great Khan (emperor) of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death.

Of course, now the info box of that article is overcrowded with all that stuff, but that's because allowance hasn't been made for such things (i.e., there's no place for birth name, temple name, posthumous name, native script, transcription, etc), and most of it could be moved to a separate section in the article. We could also use <ref group="Note"> to clean some of it out; I'll make a note of that on the talk page. — kwami (talk) 02:57, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Even for Ghengis, that is just far too many languages (did he ever even visit Russia?), and all thouse transcriptions and more are easily, and perhaps more reliably, available through the interwikis at the side anyway. Or what you said; but absolutely not in the infobox. Johnbod (talk) 12:51, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
There's no Russian in there. That's Mongolian, which is relevant.
I agree that that shouldn't all be in the info box. I only put it there to get it out of the way, and because I'm not one of the ones designing the structure of the article. I dropped a note on the talk page that it should probably be cleaned up.
But even if this is extreme, there are tens of thousands of articles with all sorts of peripheral details in the lede. It's getting so that I'm pleasantly surprised whenever I come across an article that simply starts with what the article is about. — kwami (talk) 16:14, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
I am of two minds. I don't like 'em (pronunciations) in the lede sentence and I prefer putting elsewhere; and I am not crazy about infoboxes. For now I placed about 8 artist pronunciations into infoboxes and I am holding up until this RFC determines where they (pronunciations) should go...Modernist (talk) 13:08, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
I reversed 4 of those pending the outcome here...Modernist (talk) 13:13, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

For a more typical example than Genghis, consider:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (/ˈrzəvɛlt/ ROH-zə-vɛlt or /ˈrzəvəlt/ ROH-zə-vəlt; January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945) also known by his initials, FDR, was ...


Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882–1945), also known by his initials, FDR, was ...

And in this case the moved material does not clutter the infobox. — kwami (talk) 16:42, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

  • Comment – there's a complaint about Kwami's efforts at WP:AN/I#Pronunciation, but the people complaining are mostly not here talking. Personally, I haven't followed this, but it seems to me that decluttering the lead sentence is more important that decluttering the infoboxes. Dicklyon (talk) 01:12, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment - aspects relating to pronunciation of names in biographical articles should be discussed at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (biographies) rather than here, as the style of the lead of biographical articles needs to be considered as a holistic whole, not split up into micro-discussions on different pages for different aspects. Aspects relating to pronuniciation in non-bio articles should still be discussed here, though I think most of the discussion so far has focused on biographical articles. I'll start a new discussion at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (biographies) to discuss the lead section of biographical articles. Carcharoth (talk) 15:27, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Please see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (biographies)#Style of lead sections. Carcharoth (talk) 16:00, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment—I'm still of the opinion that a pronunciation guide in the first sentence is disruptive to the flow, but I realize that there's a vocal constituent who are opposed to the idea of removing the pronunciation from the lede. Hence I'm skeptical that a consensus can be achieved. Regards, RJH (talk) 16:33, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
  1. ^ "Genghis Khan". Webster's New World College Dictionary. Wiley Publishing. 2004. Retrieved July 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Genghis Khan". Oxford Dictionaries Online. Oxford University Press. 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ Rashid al-Din asserts that Genghis Khan lived to the age of 72, placing his year of birth at 1155. The Yuanshi (元史, History of the Yuan dynasty records his year of birth as 1162. According to Ratchnevsky, accepting a birth in 1155 would render Genghis Khan a father at the age of 30 and would imply that he personally commanded the expedition against the Tanguts at the age of 72. Also, according to the Altan Tobci, Genghis Khan's sister, Temülin, was nine years younger than he; but the Secret History relates that Temülin was an infant during the attack by the Merkits, during which Genghis Khan would have been 18, had he been born in 1155. Zhao Hong reports in his travelogue that the Mongols he questioned did not know and had never known their ages.
  4. ^ Central Asiatic Journal (O. Harrassowitz) 5: 239. 1959 Retrieved July 29, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)


I doubt this is controversial, but when I found the pronunciation of "Montana" in the articles List of entertainers from Montana, List of athletes from Montana, and List of people in Montana history, I thought it would be best to advise against multiple transcriptions when the main article is adequate. (Esp. if further edits mean that the articles get out of sync.) — kwami (talk) 05:05, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Obviously unnecessary. Anyway, the leads on List of entertainers from Montana and List of athletes from Montana are insane and have nothing to do with the subject. Designate (talk) 16:51, 6 October 2011 (UTC)


I am not sure where to raise this request, is there a WP:Pronunciation project somewhere that I could make this request? If not, could someone please drop in on the Casein article and add the proper pronunciation for that word? Thanks. SaltyBoatr get wet 17:03, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Done. −Woodstone (talk) 16:53, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Poincaré as emblematic of a more general problem[edit]

I have heard "POIN care" more than once, and it might be nice if English-speakers used the something closer to the correct French, which is more like "Pwoin-ka-RAY." This is of course in IPA pronunciation, but this is inaccessable to most readers. But when I look at WP:PRON, it seems to allow for additional phonetic rendering besides IPA only for English:

For English words, transcriptions based on English spelling ("pronunciation respellings") such as proh-nun-see-ay-shən may be used, as may US dictionary-style transcriptions such as prō·nŭn′·sē·ā′·shən, but only in addition to the IPA. All of these should link to an explanation of the symbols, which are not universally understood.[1] For other languages, only the IPA should be used, as respellings are inadequate to convey them.

I don't know where the last policy came from, if indeed it is what I think it is. Perhaps dictionary transcription isn't adequate to convery the nuances of non English words, but English-speakers still need to be left with something more accessable than IPA, if they don't read IPA. Thus, I suggest that this kind of thing be done words like Poincaré, since names (in particular) are so frequently mauled by Anglophones. I think this is not a case of "other languages", but rather a case of how English speakers would/should attempt to say the name in English. It may not come out perfectly French, to be sure, but at least it will be an improvement on POIN care. It this a case of the "best being the enemy of the good"? Isn't a pretty-good dictionary transcription better than an IPA which most people can't read? SBHarris 01:17, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

It's not accessible if it's wrong, and if it's not English, it's going to be wrong. But if it's assimilated into English, there's no problem. That it, it's fine for English pronunciations of Poincaré, just not for French ones. — kwami (talk) 04:07, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Discussion on Jimbo's talk page[edit]

About usefulness of IPA, alternatives etc. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 18:03, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Revisiting the IPA first/only style[edit]

I agree that IPA has value because it's accent-independent, but it's also nearly useless because it's inaccessible to most people. (I'm probably one of the few people I know who has even heard of IPA and I have trouble figuring out how to pronounce a word reading its IPA-transcription.) The recent vandalism of {{cleanup-IPA}} expresses the argument well:

...[this article] may contain pronunciation information that is useful to a typical reader. It should be expanded with an International Phonetic Alphabet transcription in order to render the pronunciation information unintelligible to all but a small elite group of fluent IPA speakers.

Wikipedia should find a middle ground, perhaps using Received British and/or Standard American pronunciations. These aren't universal accents, but nearly any English-native speaker would understand them. In addition, I expect that the vast majority of English-as-a-second-language (ESL) training uses one or the other. (talk) 16:56, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure there's anything to revisit. For English words, we already have the Wikipedia:Pronunciation respelling key to use alongside the IPA. For non-English words, the IPA is clearly the best option if we want something halfway accurate. garik (talk) 18:37, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Read {{cleanup-IPA}} and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation, both of which appear to emphasize the use of IPA to the exclusion of other tools. The IPA is only clearly the best option for people who understand IPA; for those who do not, it's not any help at all.
Put another way: IPA helps 1 of 100 people to be completely accurate while including RPB or SAE would allow a lot of people to be at least halfway accurate. (talk) 00:12, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Are you arguing that we unfairly force people to use only IPA or are you arguing that we don't articulate non-IPA options clearly enough in pages describing our policies? I'm not even sure what you mean by splitting up our pronunciation indicators into American and British transcriptions... what would that be with if not the IPA? — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 00:24, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
As far as I can see, both the template and the style guide you link to emphasize the use of the IPA as primary, but not to the exclusion of other tools. This is as it should be. Indeed, for English words, English respellings are clearly permitted, and I'm very much in favour of them myself—provided we're consistent, and that they're provided alongside IPA (which is more helpful for many readers, particularly non-native speakers, and maintains consistency with foreign words). For foreign words, however, IPA clearly is the best option. No existing system would really be more transparent without sacrificing a good deal of accuracy, and many would be less so. Now, there is an argument (the argument you're making?) for allowing English respellings for foreign words too, but that would mean giving a rather inaccurate idea of how those words are pronounced. I'm not entirely against that: Giving people a vague notion of how to pronounce a word is better than giving them no idea. However, it is a little unsatisfactory and is something of a concession to ignorance, which isn't really what an encyclopedia should be about. garik (talk) 00:58, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and I second Aeusoes1's points. garik (talk) 01:00, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't see IPA as being more helpful to more people; there just aren't that many who understand it. While I agree that anything else feels unsatisfactory, I don't believe it's a concession to ignorance to make encyclopedia entries accessible to those who haven't learned what amounts to a technical language. That would be like telling people they can't play poker unless they understand combinations and permutations.
Maybe the problem is how {{cleanup-IPA}} is phrased: "This article or section contains non-IPA pronunciation information," makes it sound as if including non-IPA data is wrong. Perhaps it should be rephrased as "This article does not yet include any IPA pronunciation data." Further, the first paragraph of the style guide makes no allowance for anything other than IPA and an audio file. That's seems very different from recommending that we offer other alternatives.
In other words, I think we unreasonably force people to use IPA and we don't have any strong non-IPA alternatives to recommend (never mind articulating them in the policy). I fully believe that IPA is the most accurate system, but it's unrealistic to expect that it's helpful to most people. Admittedly, finding a neutral/unbiased alternative is difficult. Leo Rosten used rhymes in The Joys of Yiddish, but that means choosing a specific accent as a baseline. That might not be ideal or neutral, but it would be more accessible. (talk) 12:30, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I've mentioned your suggestion in the talk page at {{cleanup-IPA}}, but your characterization of the style guide's lead (or, as you say, first paragraph) is false. It emphasizes IPA but it makes several references to alternatives and even links to them.
Since you don't really have any viable alternative to the IPA or the respelling system, the black and the white of what you're saying is that the IPA is not perfect. All we can really say is, "noted." — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 16:57, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────You say that "we don't have any strong non-IPA alternatives to recommend", but for English words we have the pronunciation respelling key, which I think is a very strong alternative. For foreign words there just isn't a strong alternative to the IPA. There are so many sounds in foreign words that simply don't exist in English that any system we use will have to involve representing non-English sounds (and there really is no better alternative to the IPA) or giving only a very rough approximation, for which we might as well use the respelling key. But I see your point about rewording the template. And I agree with Aeusoes1 about the style guide. I'm not sure I agree with him/her that your main point is that the IPA isn't perfect, however. It is imperfect, but I don't think that's the issue. The key issue is that any system that accurately presents foreign pronunciations (apart from recordings) will be hard to understand for a lot of people who aren't prepared to take time to learn how it works. And this is just an example of an even broader problem: Understanding how to pronounce words with sounds you don't have in your own language is simply difficult without training. There's no shortcut. As a reliable encyclopedia we must not compromise on providing accurate pronunciation information, and for that the IPA is the only sensible choice. However, as I said above, I agree that there's an argument for also including a very rough English approximation for the cursory reader, unsatisfactory (and often somewhat subjective) though that may be. I think that is your main point, right? garik (talk) 18:48, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Understanding how to pronounce words with sounds you don't have in your own language is simply difficult without training should be "Understanding how to pronounce words with sounds you don't have in your own dialect is simply difficult without training." It's just as difficult for most Americans to pronounce /ɒ/ as it is for me as a speaker from southern England to pronounce /x/. Peter coxhead (talk) 14:47, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Proposal - Add to WP:PRON -
To make using Wikipedia readable to the widest audiences, always try to use the Wikipedia:Pronunciation respelling key. It there are multiple pronunciations, put them in a section at the end of the article, not in the lead.
Wikipedia encyclopedia articles are about their subject. Dictionaries are about the words referring to that subject. One should not have to learn a new alphabet to use Wikipedia. WP:PRON makes it impossible for most users to use Wikipedia at the very outset of an article. WP:MOS says, "It helps editors write articles with... clear... , and precise language... The goal is to make using Wikipedia easier and more intuitive". Special pronunciation characters my have more precise, but if a user does not know them, they are certainly not clear. and the clarity and precision are means to an end of making Wikipedia easier to use, not harder.
The Genghis Khan example above argues that pronunciations should not be in either the lead or in infoboxes. The certainly should not appear in mid-sentence.
There may be examples where pronunciation differences are notable enough to appear prominently in multiple RS sources. For example, it is commonly stated in books about lichens that in the UK lichen rhymes with "kitchen", and in the US the pronunciation of lichen is like in "like in" "liken". But this is rarely if ever the first piece of information in any serious text, and whether or not to include it at all is a WP:UNDUE decision. (Apologies to Petercoxhead who comments next. I modified this comment after he responded to it. I'll try not to do that again.)
However, respelling systems regularly require alternative respellings for speakers of different English dialects, since, particularly for vowels, they only show how the grapheme is pronounced in the reader's dialect. Thus the Wikipedia:Pronunciation respelling key uses o for /ɒ/, yet few US speakers will pronounce it this way. It also involves non-intuitive graphemes, such as dh for /ð/ or kh for /x/, albeit fewer than IPA. (Even in the example given, "lichen" is not pronounced like "like in" in my dialect of English but like "liken".) Peter coxhead (talk) 14:39, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't know what "/ɒ/" or /ð/ are symbols for. This argues for leaving pronunciations not using elementary school alphabets out altogether. FloraWilde (talk) 00:43, 26 September 2014 (UTC)


Is it OK to use to hear the correct pronunciation of words and use them in Wikipedia? There are lots of contributors in Forvo from all over the world in 281 languages; they've added more than 1,241,404 words until now. The site lets you hear and download an mp3 file for each word. They use Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). So is it possible to use their mp3 files in wikipedia? --Yoosef (talk) 13:03, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Use of Japanese script purely as a pronunciation guide[edit]

I would like to hear a wider range of opinions on a subject that is currently under discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Japan#Kana as a pronunciation guide. The Manual of Style for Japan-related articles recommends that the names of Japanese entities are written as "{{Nihongo|'''Hideki Matsui'''|松井 秀喜|Matsui Hideki}}" in the opening sentence, which renders as Hideki Matsui (松井 秀喜 Matsui Hideki?) indicating the English name, Japanese name, and Romanized Japanese name. This style has been around for a long time, and I don't think anyone has any particular problems with it, as it shows how the name is also rendered in Japanese. A problem has however arisen more recently concerning the style that should be used for Japanese entities (particularly entertainers such as Misia or Yui (singer) and bands such as AKB48) with names that are always written in English or the Roman alphabet even in Japanese situations. The Japanese manual of style does not specify a format for such situations, but a small number of editors insist that Japanese script should be added to the lead sentence to indicate the pronunciation, so now we have situations in which the lead sentence of DJ Ozma reads "DJ Ozma (ディージェイ オズマ Dī Jei Ozuma?, stylized DJ OZMA))", even though his name is always written as "DJ Ozma" or "DJ OZMA" in Japanese. The problem I see with this is that it implies that the person's name is also written as "ディージェイ オズマ" in Japanese, which is not true. If a guide to pronunciation is deemed necessary, which might be the case for Misia (as it is pronounced more like "Meesha"), surely it would be more sensible to use IPA, which is more universally understandable to native English readers than Japanese script. I would therefore be grateful if pronunciation/IPA experts here could comment on the discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Japan#Kana as a pronunciation guide, and offer advice on a clear way of indicating pronunciations for Japanese names that conforms to the Manual of Style guidelines concerning pronunciation. --DAJF (talk) 07:51, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

We're writing in English for people who read English. If the spelling in Roman letters is not enough to indicate pronunciation, use the IPA. "DJ Ozma" and "Yui", for example, are straightforward. The AKB48 page explains how it's read in words which is the best solution; "エーケービーフォーチィーエート" would be absurd. "Misia" is different since it's not Romanised according to usual practice, here we could use [miːɕa]. Those who want pronunciation in katakana can go to the Japanese wiki. JIMp talk·cont 15:21, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree. We can give the pronunciation of Misia as mīsha, but to transcribe it as ミーシャ is simply wrong, at least according to WP-jn. Hiragana is not a pronunciation guide on WP-en. However, any names normally written in kana in Japanese should be so written on WP-en, as a guide to the orthography rather than pronunciation. — kwami (talk) 19:00, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

The example for internet explorer under technical issues is not rendered consistently[edit]

An example is given under the technical issues header to compare rendering with and without using the IPA template. However, the example is not in an image but in text which leads to a situation where it can only be seen as intended by users that are affected by the issue (users using IE). I think it is much more useful for unaffected users to see the example because they do not notice the problem when editing. So maybe it would be better to show an image instead. PinkShinyRose (talk) 16:56, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Distinction between British, American and Australian: example[edit]

The word 'observation' doesn't strike me as an ideal example to show cross-dialectal pronunciation differences. The pronunciations given begin /ɒbs/ but most dictionaries prefer /ɒbz/. RoachPeter (talk) 17:18, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Respell vs USdict[edit]

It seems to me that, if we're to avoid being parochial, we should encourage respellings (per WP:Pronunciation respelling key) over US-Dictionary style transcriptions as an accompaniment to IPA, at least in articles that aren't very American in focus (and even then...). For people who aren't familiar with USdict or IPA, the former isn't much help. The respelling key has the virtue of being comparatively intuitive even to people who've never seen it before. The use of small caps for the stressed syllable is an obvious example. Any thoughts? garik (talk) 14:41, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

If there were a standard US dictionary pronunciation guide, it would be reasonable to use it. As there isn't, I think respelling is better. --Trovatore (talk) 19:25, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Even before being exposed to the IPA, I never bothered learning the dictionary's system. If there was ever any doubt, I would refer to the guide (or the transcription of similar words) and then forget shortly after. If other Americans are as lazy as I am, they're probably equally as knowledgeable of the US dictionary system(s). — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 19:36, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Dare I go ahead (given a little more time to gather comments) and edit the Project Page to recommend Respellings (over USdict)? garik (talk) 23:16, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Propose: Where multiple pronunciation of a name exist...[edit]

This stems from a dispute at Haile Selassie I:

Propose: that WP:PRONOUNCE be changed for articles about people for whom there are both an Anglicized(i.e. Bastardized) and Native pronunciation of a PERSON'S NAME (also applies to living people); that the Native IPA be the only pronunciation given in the lead and all other pronunciations starting with the Anglicized be listed in a footnote attached to the Native IPA. Or at least that the native IPA be listed first. The reasoning behind this proposal are listed below:

  1. Although an English name and therefore an English pronunciation of a place or thing are just as valid as the native name, the same cannot be said for a PERSON'S name. I contend that the current version this MOS leads to a style that is misleading and ignorant. It is tantamount to spreading misinformation for the sake of consistency.
  2. Editors have realized this; they have consistently chosen to ignore this MOS and have instead chosen to inform there readers of the proper pronunciation of the name or chosen to remove the IPA all rather than give an English. I have found many many articles where this is true. Many of these articles are FA or GA quality and have gone through thousands of edits and many peer-reviews. The first of these examples demonstrates the desire of articles to deviate from the MOS because it is actually the article used in the example of this MOS:

For more discussion please see Haile Selassie I. ---- አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh) (talk) 21:52, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Wasn't there a proposal to move pronunciation information to an infobox? Having two (or more) pronunciations in the first sentence of a lede can be cumbersome, but putting them in an infobox would work pretty well IMHO. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 21:54, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Fine with that with the addendum that the first IPA listed in Biographical articles being the Native language of the person. አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh) (talk) 01:09, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree that WP:PRONOUNCE needs revising. I agree with user Ƶ§œš¹. The main issue is that there is too much linguistic information cluttering the lede on names where for example there is an English pronunciation, a name in a foreign script, a transliteration of that script, and the IPA for the language. People have often been dealing with this through bubbles which are not exactly elegant and are rarely formatted consistently. I also believe it is necessary to establish sufficient criteria for when it is appropriate to include English pronunciations. The Russian poet Bakhyt Kenzheev for example does not have a well established Anglicized pronunciaion for his name, and it would probably not be appropriate to include. It only should be added on high profile figures with well-established Anglicized pronunciations. Similar issues have been discussed by other users above, but there has yet to be any action taken on the matter. An explicit consistent policy, and a taskforce to implement it is poorly needed. I also agree with Janweh64 that the native language should come first and the English second. My point on the Haile Selassie page was that the English pronunciation should not be deliberately concealed because of prejudiced beliefs about bastardization. -Devin Ronis (d.s.ronis) (talk) 06:39, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

First revision of proposal[edit]

OLD Examples[edit]

Survey (NOT SO simple up or down vote)[edit]

I've been asked to review my position in light of the current version of the proposal. However, I don't know what the current version is. I probably still oppose, because the problem is not the pronunciation in the lead, but the opening line gathering a lot of cruft, which may or may not include pronunciation. I have no problem with an article opening with a bolded key word (title) following by a single pronunciation, just as I have no problem with a bio starting with a bolded name following by vital year dates. I oppose blanket removal of pronunciations from the lead, as sometimes that's the best place for them. The MOS already advises that the pronunciation be moved out of the lead if it starts interfering with the flow of the text, but that is no different from having multiple languages and scripts, or places and multiple calendars for vital dates, or any of the other cruft that builds up in our articles. I still think this is best addressed at MOS:LEAD. — kwami (talk) 01:04, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Consistency is key. All the best, Miniapolis 16:11, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Support moving all pronunciations out of lead. No preference about infobox or footnote placement. Designate (talk) 23:47, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - seems like a solution in search of a problem. It is in no way too complicated to put the pronunciation in the lede. — Carl (CBM · talk) 20:31, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - [from uninvolved editor invited by RfC bot] Agree that the native language pronunciation is vastly more important than the pronunciation of Anglo/English variants. Also agree that the lead should not be cluttered with two or more pronunciations. Also agree that lead should include the primary pronunciation, because that is what good encyclopedias do. Based on these opinions, it follows that the Anglo/English alternative pronunciations should be in a footnote or Infobox (I have no preference on that). --Noleander (talk) 19:06, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Support giving primacy to native pronunciations, no preference on placement (insofar as I understand what is going on in this mess). ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 01:25, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
The idea was to consistently move all pronunciation to footnotes AND the infoboxes of articles while at the same time giving primacy to native pronunciations. My confusing attempts to give examples has certainly created a mess. I am glad to see support to move some if not all pronunciation out of lede. Also, there is quite a consistent support for giving primacy to native pronunciation (which I believe has only one objecting editor). We need more voters or perhaps a voting table for people to indicate what exactly they are supporting and opposing. I am, however, quite discouraged by my failure to have a run a clear discussion and I'm not inspired to create one. I, welcome someone to try to gauge people opinions on the following criteria:
  1. Give primacy and include only English pronunciation in lede with all other pronunciation moved as discussed,
  2. Same, but giving primacy and including in lede only native pronunciation,
  3. Move all pronunciation giving primacy to English,
  4. Move all pronunciation giving primacy to native,
  5. #2 in Biography articles and #1 in others,
  6. #4 in Biography articles but #3 in others.
  7. Leave all articles like the inconsistent mess they are now! Heck, we don't need a table.

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Just choose your number: I support #6 but will settle for #5, #4 or #2 in that order. — አቤል ዳዊት?(Janweh64) (talk) 02:13, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Threaded discussion[edit]

Add discussion of specific concerns below (do not add any more discussion above):

No infobox[edit]

I like it. What do we do with articles that don't have infoboxes? Is that when we'd do the footnote option? — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 15:06, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

They can remain in the lead until an infobox is created. I believe the trend is to include an infobox on all articles. It should be an added encouragement to create an infobox. አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh) (talk) 15:11, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
There is strong resistance to the idea of adding info boxes to all articles. A lot of editors see them as needless clutter. — kwami (talk) 07:36, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Whether they like it or not is inconsequential. 9 out of 10 well-developed articles when you press Random article have an infobox. The exceptions being lists and disambiguation pages. — አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh64) (talk) 19:12, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Especially considering that one of the places that WP:WikiProject Microformats can get consistent metadata is from {{infobox}} based templates. Infoboxes are not going away, and are arguably going to become ever more important for well-written articles as time goes by. VanIsaacWS Vexcontribs 11:40, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
The longstanding tradition is that all material that is in infoboxes is supposed to also be included in the body of the article; even if the pronunciation is in the infobox it should also be in the article proper. — Carl (CBM · talk) 20:30, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
This has been addressed by also including them in a footnote attached. Footnotes are considered as part of the body in this case. Actually, they are the recommended method to be used to de-cluttered. Please read discussion and revisions below. — አቤል ዳዊት?(Janweh64) (talk) 22:15, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

English pronunciation in infobox[edit]

Federal Republic of Germany

Bundesrepublik Deutschland
[ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant])
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit(German)
Unity and Justice and Freedom
Anthem: The third stanza of Lied der Deutschen  
Song of the Germans[1]
ISO 3166 code DE

The wording of the proposal makes it seem like the German example is incorrect. Wouldn't the English pronunciation also go somewhere in the infobox? — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 17:45, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

When I first wrote the modified proposal, my idea was to move all pronunciation to the info box. But when making examples, I realized that it would not work. It clutters the title box of the infobox. Take a look at the example here and tell me if you agree. We could then move the native pronunciation to the bottom with all the other possible pronunciations but that would be like hiding it. I like the examples above like they are now. In the end, this is the English Wikipedia. I don't think there is anything wrong in having pronunciation of the common English name of the country or place or thing. I would rather modify the proposal again to reflect the examples given. Something like:
  • Move all non-English AND Anglicized pronunciations to the bottom of infobox leaving ONLY the English pronunciations in NON-biographical articles in the LEAD.
  • Most common native pronunciation will be listed under the name at the top of the infobox in all articles. With some explanation of what to do when the native pronunciation is English
  • And that the Anglicized name in Biographical articles is considered an alternate pronunciation and therefore belongs at the bottom of the infobox.
  • And that biographical articles will contain NO IPA information in the LEAD. This is because with date/place of birth there is already too much there.
Basically, we would categorized pronunciation into three categories: English Names, Native Names and Anglicized Names of People አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh) (talk) 19:57, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
The pronunciation/transcription stuff doesn't have to be at the top, which I think is what makes it look cluttered. I think there's a mountain-related infobox that puts pronunciations at the bottom. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 20:18, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't agree completely. I only support the infobox where there is too much linguistic information. In articles like for Germany, Ben Bernanke, Sophia Loren, or Manuel Noriega, there is no reason to move the IPA to the infobox because the clutter is not too excessive, like you have with foreign scripts or multiple names. Many WPChina articles put all the Chinese in a box on the side to remove the clutter, like Zhuangzi. I meant something along those lines. A separate infobox for linguistic information when dealing with other scripts, otherwise the IPA whether person or place should remain in the lede. There are many place names with no established English pronunciation, and to say that it's only appropriate to include the English pronunciation for those and put the native pronunciation elsewhere seems out of keeping with the spirit of wikipedia. What should we do about Hajigabul? Just remove the Azeri from the lede? We've got nothing else to put there. I don't see how that's really an issue. The lede in the Venice article would be violating the new policy but I think it's great as it is. -Devin Ronis (d.s.ronis) (talk) 01:07, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
  1. THIS PROPOSAL ONLY APPLIES TO ARTICLES WITH NAMES THAT HAVE MULTIPLE POSSIBLE PRONUNCIATIONS! Therefore, this does not apply to Ben Bernanke, and possibly even Hajigabul (I don't know? That article is so bad!)
  2. A separate infobox or attached, that is a trivial distinction. But we must draw a clear line for when this guideline should be applied. Saying when it is "too much" is too vague.
  3. The "NO IPA IN LEAD" Only applies to biographical articles.
  4. I believe Sophia Loren and Manuel Noriega are perfect candidates for this rule. Look how much better they look than their originals (even with OMRI shorten the first line is unreadably cumbersome). Note the very bottom of the info boxes: አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh) (talk) 06:38, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

No need of IPA for ordinary English[edit]

Not sure where this comment should go, because the whole thing is sorta long and involved, but: Seriously? You want to put a pronunciation guide for Federal Republic of Germany? I can't buy that. I understand that not everyone who comes to is a native speaker, but it is not our mission to teach people how to pronounce ordinary English. The article should not say anywhere — neither in an infobox nor anywhere else — how to pronounce such an ordinary sequence of common words. --Trovatore (talk) 10:16, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

(Oh, just a detail — I do not believe the /t/ sound in Venezia is geminated.) --Trovatore (talk) 10:31, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
NO, I do not think we should spell out how to pronounce "Federal Republic of Germany." I only gave that example to explain to Ƶ§œš¹ why I did not also move the English pronunciation for Germany into the infobox. Since people seam to be against my idea to add the pronunciation to the top of the infobox and instead want it lower down in the body of the infobox, that example of Germany's info box no longer seam to matter. Just ignore it. አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh) (talk) 23:14, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

More old examples[edit]

I believe as Wikipedia develops to include more "Help:IPA for" guides, this new format will allow people to actually use the IPA instead of think of it as that thing they have to skip to get to the article.
አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh) (talk) 06:38, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Still too messy[edit]

I support the idea of streamlining the opening of the lead, but this just shifts the mess elsewhere. See template:infobox planet for a better format, where the template has a dedicated section for names and pronunciation. And where there isn't a template, we can always footnote it.

I tried getting this done with the bio template, but couldn't get very far with it. I don't think addressing it here at PRON will get us what we want. It needs to be at the main MOS and also BIO.

IMO, we should remove a lot more than just the pronunciation: in bios, vital dates should be reduced to the years, with days and locations moved to the body or to the infobox, or both. In all articles, foreign equivalents should be moved out as well, unless they have currency in English texts. They might go in the 2nd line of the lead, in the 2nd paragraph, in the info box, a dedicated section of the text, etc, but the opening line should IMO be cleared of cruft.

I'd prefer:

  • Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in west-central Europe.
  • Sophia Loren (born Sofia Villani Scicolone, 1934–) is an Italian actress.
  • Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno (1934–) is a former Panamanian politician and soldier.
  • Venice is a city in northeast Italy ...
  • Ben Shalom Bernanke (1953–) is an American economist and currently ...

kwami (talk) 07:33, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

We cannot fix everything that is wrong with leads here. SO PLEASE let us limit discussion HERE to what to do with pronunciation. If we deal with problems piecewise, we can actually get something accomplished. This not the right venue for discussing what to do with dates or alternate names. ONLY PRONUNCIATION. Period.
As to using the format in {{Infobox planet}}, I would be TOTALLY for it if that is what people wanted to do. I only had a pronunciation in the top of infoboxes because I did not want people to say we are hiding the pronunciations, which I don't think putting it in the infobox does. I can modify the proposal so that NO IPA appears at the top of infobox but we instead use format in Pluto for example. (BTW I have moved this section to bottom to encourage people to start new discussion there.) (talk) 22:56, 18 January 2013 (UTC)— አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh64) (talk) 19:45, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, putting IPA at the top of the infobox looks horrible!
Some time ago I created (expanded?) the Placement section to address concerns like this. We could perhaps make the suggestion firmer. However, I think MOS:LEAD is the real place to craft such a guideline. — kwami (talk) 02:51, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I strongly, strongly support simplifying the lead sentence exactly as you proposed. —Designate (talk) 23:42, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Infoboxes are not part of article content[edit]

I can't support this revised proposal. I like the idea that native pronunciation comes first and that if uncommon an anglicized/ignorant one can go in a footnote, but pronunciations cannot simply be shunted into infoboxes. See WP:INFOBOX Help:Infobox: Infoboxes are not part of article content per se. Like navboxes, they are templates, and many forms of reuse of WP content will drop them entirely. Strictly speaking, not one single fact of any kind is supposed to be in an infobox, ever, unless it is already integrated into the main prose of the article. Few articles live up to this standard yet, but that is no reason to make that situation worse by trying to codify a new rule here to force material to appear only in an infobox, in contravention of the long-established rule that we simply don't do that. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 09:03, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

SMcCandlish, I think you meant to link to the infobox help page, which says that stuff in infoboxes "should still be present in the main text" (I've modified your post as such). That's pretting damning. Perhaps we should revert back to the original proposal that involves putting long-winded pronunciation information into footnotes. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 15:23, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
So let's put it in the infobox *and* in a footnote. Anything that moves it out of the first sentence is a victory for readers—more accessible (in a generic, non-technical sense), more legible, more reasonable. I agree with kwami's vision of what a lead sentence should look like, and this is one solid step in that direction. —Designate (talk) 23:45, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
That's a good idea. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 01:06, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I like the idea of doing both. — አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh64) (talk) 19:00, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I share SMcCandlish's distaste for infoboxes, and I agree with other users that it's pretty unsightly in the infobox. I think kwami's treatment of the lede would be highly detrimental. The infobox works for Chinese (which has its own infobox, it's not placed in the main one) because it's so complex. There is usually Simplified, Traditional, Pinyin, IPA, Wade-Giles, Cantonese, and other dialectal pronunciations, and it is overly cumbersome, but for most other circumstances I believe pronunciation should stay in the lede and don't see the necessity to change. The real necessity is implementation of consistent formatting. Pronunciation is vitally important, because the majority of people reading a Wikipedia page have not heard of the subject before and may not know how the topic is normally pronounced or if a norm exists. There is a lot we take for granted too, like the fact that "Friedman" is not pronounced "fried man."
Remember, there are no ignorant pronunciations only ignorant people. No individual chooses the pronunciation established by their language community (unless you do not participate in one because you live on wikipedia). These do not merit special treatment, they are the facts of life regardless of your opinion about it. I do agree with the "if uncommon" clause which should be "if unciteable" since uncommon is far too subjective and not implementable. All that means is that a norm has not yet been established and so the pronunciation variations which exist should not be included.
In response to Janweh64, my guidelines for "too much" were very clear, namely when a foreign script is involved. There was nothing wrong with the Khrushchev article until the Cyrillic was added to the lede which is what tipped it over too far. Two pronunciations is fine and perfectly manageable if not enlightening for the reader, beyond that is when it gets too messy, and I think we would be doing a disservice to readers by sweeping pronunciation into a far-off corner they probably won't see, as is the case for Pluto (though granted for most planets it's not necessary). The MOS says you should put non-roman scripts in the lede in a footnote if it's too cluttered while it does not say to do this with pronunciation. This is perhaps what needs implementing rather than revising the MOS. Also, the distinction you make between people and place names in English is completely trivial. Phonetically Mannheim and Karl Mannheim are not qualitatively distinct. They receive equal treatment from the English language and the Wikipedia MOS. -Devin Ronis (d.s.ronis) (talk) 13:52, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
First, I apologize for adjusting the tabbing, but your comments were not targeted directly to what Designate and Ƶ§œš¹ were discussing.
I don't know what you are trying to get at in the rest of your rant but I disagree with your very last point. A language cannot define a persons name. We may use the standard of most common name to define the TITLE of articles to make them easy to find for readers but we cannot use the same standards to define pronunciation of peoples' names. Remember some of these people are still ALIVE. We have PRESIDENTS and PRIME MINISTERS who names are being mispronounced. We cannot allow this to continue because of your perfect definition of what language is. Perhaps you do not understand how infuriating it is to here your name mispronounced.
Wikipedia is not a dictionary
Wikipedia is not a soapbox
Wikipedia is not a scientific journal
The proposal has evolved with discussion so your rant is quite unnecessary. The only distinction between place names and peoples' names will be in the order that they appear. And Ƶ§œš¹, SMcCandlish, Designate all seam to agree with me that the native pronunciation of peoples' names should appear first. And I believe they are all fine with it in the infobox as long as it is also included in a footnote to agree with Help:Infobox and MOS.
MOS DOES NOT say "you should put non-roman scripts in the lede in a footnote". It says, "consider footnoting equivalents in non-roman scripts and their transliterations rather than placing them at the opening of an article." Discussion of what to do with alternate names and non-roman scripts belongs at WP:MOSPN and NOT HERE.አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh64) (talk) 19:00, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps you should make a proposal at MOS and WP:MOSPN that non-roman scripts be placed in a footnote and a separate infobox like I am trying to have pronunciations placed in footnotes and into existing infoboxes. — አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh64) (talk) 20:42, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I was saying that the issue with cluttering the lede is not pronunciation and so pronunciation should not be revised beyond perhaps changing the order (for both people and places), since removing pronunciation would be a disservice to readers. My point about non-roman scripts was completely relevant since cluttered ledes is the only issue being cited by other users as a reason for changing the MOS and following the advice given at the MOS on ledes would help clear up that issue. Furthermore, the examples for the proposal below places all linguistic information into a footnote, not just the pronunciation, so this is clearly not the right place for this discussion to be held.
Every language on earth can and does define the pronunciation of people's names in that language. This is an indisputable scientific fact, and English is no exception just because it is not made explicit via our writing system. Winston Churchill is Uinston Çörçill in Azeri. It is a one-to-one phonetic writing system, so there is no debate about how it is pronounced in their language. I cannot support a proposal such as SMcCandlish's which is based on misinformation, misconceptions, and popular mythology that has been debunked by generations of linguists. The proposal below is an improvement but is not relevant to this discussion board.
I know very well what it's like to have my name mispronounced. It happens quite regularly, so I correct the speaker, and it's not an issue. I don't get angry at people for not knowing something they could not possibly know. Those are nonce pronunciations which are easily corrected and should not be confused with normal, well-established pronunciations. -Devin Ronis (d.s.ronis) (talk) 06:53, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Wow, you are right. I seam to have taken too much out of the lede. I would have to put some of it back because that is out of the scope of this MOS. — አቤል ዳዊት?(Janweh64) (talk) 09:25, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

New examples in most current form of the proposal[edit]

Federal Democratic Republic of

የኢትዮጵያ ፌዴራላዊ ዲሞክራሲያዊ

ye-Ītyōṗṗyā Fēdēralāwī Dīmōkrāsīyāwī
Flag Emblem
Wodefit Gesgeshi, Widd Innat Ityopp'ya
March Forward, Dear Mother Ethiopia
and largest city
Addis Ababa
9°1.8′N 38°44.4′E / 9.0300°N 38.7400°E / 9.0300; 38.7400
Ethnic groups (2012[1])
Demonym Ethiopian
Pronunciation                   /ˌθiˈpiə/

the rest of the infobox...

Ethiopia[a] (Amharic: ኢትዮጵያ?)[b], officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia[c], is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world and the second-most populated nation on the African continent, with over 91,000,000 inhabitants. It occupies a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi). Its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa.[1]

Ethiopia is one of the oldest sites of human existence known to scientists.[27] It may be the region from which Homo sapiens first set out for the Middle East and points beyond.[28][29][30] Until the end of Haile Selassie I's reign in 1974, Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history—tracing its roots to the 2nd century BC.[31] Alongside Rome, Persia, China and India,[32] the Kingdom of Aksum was one of the great world powers of the 3rd century and the first major empire in the world to officially adopt Christianity as a state religion in the 4th century.[33][34][35] During the Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was the only African country beside Liberia that retained its sovereignty as a recognized independent country, and was one of only four African members of the League of Nations. Ethiopia then became a founding member of the UN. When other African nations gained their independence following World War II, many of them adopted the colors of Ethiopia's flag, and Addis Ababa became the location of several global organizations focused on Africa. Ethiopia is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement, G-77 and the Organisation of African Unity. Addis Ababa is currently the headquarters of the African Union, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce, UNECA and the African Standby Force.


  1. ^ Pronounced: /ˌθiˈpiə/, we need to work on IPA for Amharic :)
  2. ^ Transliterated: ʾĪtyōṗṗyā About this sound listen . Remember that alternate names and non-english scripts still have to stay in the lead FOR NOW so we can get at least something accomplished. Discuss removing other things from lead elsewhere in specific subjects of WP:MOS!
  3. ^ Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ ፌዴራላዊ ዲሞክራሲያዊ ሪፐብሊክ?. Transliterated: ye-Ītyōṗṗyā Fēdēralāwī Dīmōkrāsīyāwī Rīpeblīk
Federal Republic of Germany
Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit(German)
Unity and Justice and Freedom
Anthem: The third stanza of Lied der Deutschen  
Song of the Germans[1]
Location of  Manual of Style/Pronunciation  (dark green)– in Europe  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  –  [Legend]
Location of  Manual of Style/Pronunciation  (dark green)

– in Europe  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)  –  [Legend]

and largest city
52°31′N 13°23′E / 52.517°N 13.383°E / 52.517; 13.383
Official languages German[4]
Ethnic groups 81% Germans,[36][37][38][39]
7% other Europeans,
4% Turks,
2% Asian,
6% others
Demonym German
Pronunciation             Listeni/ˈɜrməni/

the rest of the infobox...

Germany[a] (German: Deutschland)[b], officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland)[c] is a federal parliamentary republic in west-central Europe. The country consists of 16 states, and its capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 81.8 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state in the European Union. Germany is one of the major political and economic powers of the European continent and a historic leader in many theoretical and technical fields.

A region named Germania, inhabited by several Germanic peoples, was documented before AD 100. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward and established successor kingdoms throughout much of Europe. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire.[40] During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation while southern and western parts remained dominated by Roman Catholic denominations, with the two factions clashing in the Thirty Years' War, marking the beginning of the Catholic–Protestant divide that has characterized German society ever since.[41] Occupied during the Napoleonic Wars, the rise of Pan-Germanism inside the German Confederation resulted in the unification of most of the German states in 1871 into the German Empire, which was Prussian dominated.

After the German Revolution of 1918–1919 and the subsequent military surrender in World War I, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic in 1918, and some of its territory partitioned in the Treaty of Versailles. Despite its lead in many scientific and artistic fields at this time, amidst the Great Depression, the Third Reich was established in 1933. The latter period was marked by fascism and World War II. After 1945, Germany was divided by allied occupation, and evolved into two states, East Germany and West Germany. In 1990, the country was reunified.


  1. ^ a b Pronounced: Listeni/ˈɜrməni/ Can we make the audio icon appear after the IPA as in other templates? Or is there a reason why it is formatted this way?
  2. ^ Pronounced: [ˈdɔʏtʃlant]. Remember again that alternate names still have to stay in the lead FOR NOW so we can get at least something accomplished. Discuss removing other things from lead elsewhere in specific subjects of WP:MOS!
  3. ^ Pronounced: [ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant][42]

Cite error: A list-defined reference has no name (see the help page).

Notice: I tricked the infoboxes into doing these examples and this would have to be written into the code of infoboxes themselves. I will generate examples of biographical articles as well. — አቤል ዳዊት (Janweh64) (talk) 19:00, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Nikita Khrushchev
Никита Хрущёв
A portrait shot of an older, bald man with bifocal glasses. He is wearing a blazer over a collared shirt and tie. In his hands, he is holding a set of papers.
First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
In office
September 14, 1953 – October 14, 1964
Preceded by Joseph Stalin
Succeeded by Leonid Brezhnev
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union
In office
March 27, 1958 – October 14, 1964
First Deputies
Preceded by Nikolai Bulganin
Succeeded by Alexei Kosygin
Chairman of the Bureau of the Central Committee of the Russian SFSR
In office
February 27, 1956 – November 16, 1964
Deputy Andrei Kirilenko
Preceded by Position created
Succeeded by Leonid Brezhnev
Full member of the Presidium
In office
March 22, 1939 – November 16, 1964
Member of the Secretariat
In office
December 16, 1949 – October 14, 1964
Member of the Orgburo
In office
December 16, 1949 – October 14, 1952
Candidate member of the Politburo
In office
January 18, 1938 – March 22, 1939
Personal details
Born (1894-04-15)April 15, 1894
Kalinovka, Dmitriyevsky Uyezd, Kursk Governorate, Russian Empire
Died September 11, 1971(1971-09-11) (aged 77)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Soviet

[nʲɪˈkʲitə sʲɪrˈɡʲejɪvʲɪ̈t͡ɕ xrʊˈɕɕof]
/nɪˈktə sɜrˈɡ.əvɪ ˈkrʊʃ.ɛv/
Religion None

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev[a] (April 15 [O.S. April 3] 1894 – September 11, 1971) led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964. Khrushchev was responsible for the partial de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union, for backing the progress of the early Soviet space program, and for several relatively liberal reforms in areas of domestic policy. Khrushchev's party colleagues removed him from power in 1964, replacing him with Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary and Alexei Kosygin as Premier.

Khrushchev was born in the Russian village of Kalinovka in 1894, close to the present-day border between Russia and Ukraine. He was employed as a metalworker in his youth, and during the Russian Civil War was a political commissar. With the help of Lazar Kaganovich, he worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy. He supported Joseph Stalin's purges, and approved thousands of arrests. In 1939, Stalin sent him to govern Ukraine, and he continued the purges there. During what was known in the Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War (Eastern Front of World War II), Khrushchev was again a commissar, serving as an intermediary between Stalin and his generals. Khrushchev was present at the bloody defense of Stalingrad, a fact he took great pride in throughout his life. After the war, he returned to Ukraine before being recalled to Moscow as one of Stalin's close advisers.

In the power struggle triggered by Stalin's death in 1953, Khrushchev, after several years, emerged victorious. On February 25, 1956, at the 20th Party Congress, he delivered the "Secret Speech," denouncing Stalin's purges and ushering in a less repressive era in the Soviet Union. His domestic policies, aimed at bettering the lives of ordinary citizens, were often ineffective, especially in the area of agriculture. Hoping eventually to rely on missiles for national defense, Khrushchev ordered major cuts in conventional forces. Despite the cuts, Khrushchev's rule saw the tensest years of the Cold War, culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis.


Haile Selassie I
Selassie restored.jpg
Emperor of Ethiopia
Reign 2 November 1930 – 12 September 1974
Coronation 2 November 1930
Predecessor Zewditu I
Successor De jure Amha Selassie I (crowned in exile)
Head of State of Ethiopia
Predecessor Zewditu I
Successor Aman Andom (as Chairman of the Derg)
Spouse Empress Menen
Issue                          Princess Romanework
                         Princess Tenagnework
                         Asfaw Wossen
                         Princess Zenebework
                         Princess Tsehai
                         Prince Makonnen
                         Prince Sahle Selassie

Pronunciation [haɪlɜ sɨlːaseɪ]
Anglicised        /ˈhli səˈlæsi/ or /səˈlɑːsi/
Full name
          Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael

Haile Selassie I[a] (23 July 1892 – 27 August 1975), born Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael,[43] was Ethiopia's regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. He was the heir to a dynasty that traced its origins by tradition from King Solomon and Queen Makeda, Empress of Axum, known in the Abrahamic tradition as the Queen of Sheba. Haile Selassie is a defining figure in both Ethiopian and African history.[44][45]

At the League of Nations in 1936, the Emperor condemned the use of chemical weapons by Italy against his people during the Second Italo–Ethiopian War.[46] His internationalist views led to Ethiopia becoming a charter member of the United Nations, and his political thought and experience in promoting multilateralism and collective security have proved seminal and enduring.[47] His suppression of rebellions among the nobles (mekwannint), as well as what some[who?] perceived to be Ethiopia's failure to modernize adequately,[48] earned him criticism among some contemporaries and historians.[49]

Among the Rastafari movement, whose followers are estimated at between 200,000 and 800,000, Haile Selassie is revered as the returned messiah of the Bible, God incarnate.[50][51] Beginning in Jamaica in the 1930s, the Rastafari movement perceives Haile Selassie as a messianic figure who will lead a future golden age of eternal peace, righteousness, and prosperity.[52] Haile Selassie was an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian throughout his life.


  1. ^ Ge'ez: ቀዳማዊ ኃይለ ሥላሴ qädamawi haylä səllasé [haɪlɜ sɨlːaseɪ], translates to "The First, Power of the Trinity";[53]
    Anglicised pronounciation: /ˈhli səˈlæsi/ or /səˈlɑːsi/[54][55]

Not a perfect demonstration but for Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev and Haile Selassie I, but you get the idea. Please show your support or opposition by adding your vote to the survey section — አቤል ዳዊት?(Janweh64) (talk) 23:24, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

I support this iteration, but note that your link is broken. Designate (talk) 23:49, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, fixed. — አቤል ዳዊት?(Janweh64) (talk) 01:21, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
  1. ^ a b c d e "Ethiopia". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Mangold, Max, ed. (1995). Duden, Aussprachewörterbuch (in German) (6th ed.). Dudenverlag. pp. 271, 53f. ISBN 978-3-411-20916-3. 
  3. ^ Eytan Gilboa, "The Panama Invasion Revisited: Lessons for the Use of Force in the Post Cold War Era," Political Science Quarterly, (v110 n4), p539. "[1]." Retrieved on July 1, 2011
  4. ^ Boyd Marciacq, Carmen. "29, 2007&idnews=33933 Noriega: el dictador." El Siglo. Retrieved on January 8, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Serrill, Michael S. (January 24, 2001). "Panama Noriega's Money Machine". Time. 
  6. ^ a b "Extradition fight halts former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega's release from US prison". International Herald Tribune. Associated Press. September 9, 2007. 
  7. ^ Zamorano, Juan (April 27, 2010). "Noriega extradition to France angers abuse victims". The Associated Press via The Washington Post. Retrieved April 27, 2010. 
  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference AP_2010 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ a b Serrill, Michael S. (December 11, 2011). "Manuel Noriega extraditado a Panamá desde Francia". Impre. 
  10. ^ Eytan Gilboa, "The Panama Invasion Revisited: Lessons for the Use of Force in the Post Cold War Era," Political Science Quarterly, (v110 n4), p539. "[2]." Retrieved on July 1, 2011
  11. ^ Boyd Marciacq, Carmen. "29, 2007&idnews=33933 Noriega: el dictador." El Siglo. Retrieved on January 8, 2010.
  12. ^ Zamorano, Juan (April 27, 2010). "Noriega extradition to France angers abuse victims". The Associated Press via The Washington Post. Retrieved April 27, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f UNESCO: Venice and its Lagoon, accessed:17 April 2012
  14. ^ Mara Rumiz, Venice Demographics Official Mock funeral for Venice's 'death'
  15. ^ a b "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  16. ^ Richard Stephen Charnock (1859). Local etymology: a derivative dictionary of geographical names. Houlston and Wright. p. 288. 
  17. ^ Barzini, Luigi (30 May 1982). "The Most Beautiful and Wonderful City In The World – The". New York Times. Retrieved 28 March 2009. 
  18. ^ Bleach, Stephen; Schofield, Brian; Crump, Vincent (17 June 2007). "Europes most romantic city breaks". The Times (London). Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  19. ^ Mara Rumiz, Venice Demographics Official Mock funeral for Venice's 'death'
  20. ^ Richard Stephen Charnock (1859). Local etymology: a derivative dictionary of geographical names. Houlston and Wright. p. 288. 
  21. ^ Barzini, Luigi (30 May 1982). "The Most Beautiful and Wonderful City In The World – The". New York Times. Retrieved 28 March 2009. 
  22. ^ Bleach, Stephen; Schofield, Brian; Crump, Vincent (17 June 2007). "Europes most romantic city breaks". The Times (London). Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  23. ^ See Inogolo: pronunciation of Ben Bernanke.
  24. ^ Bernanke's first name is Ben, not Benjamin and "Ben Shalom" is not abbreviated. (See: "Big Ben", Slate, October 24, 2005; see also
  25. ^ Bernanke's first name is Ben, not Benjamin and "Ben Shalom" is not abbreviated. (See: "Big Ben", Slate, October 24, 2005; see also
  26. ^ See Inogolo: pronunciation of Ben Bernanke.
  27. ^ Michael Hopkin (16 February 2005). "Ethiopia is top choice for cradle of Homo sapiens". Nature. doi:10.1038/news050214-10. 
  28. ^ Li, J. Z.; Absher, DM; Tang, H; Southwick, AM; Casto, AM; Ramachandran, S; Cann, HM; Barsh, GS; Feldman, M (2008). "Worldwide Human Relationships Inferred from Genome-Wide Patterns of Variation". Science 319 (5866): 1100–1104. Bibcode:2008Sci...319.1100L. doi:10.1126/science.1153717. PMID 18292342. 
  29. ^ "Humans Moved From Africa Across Globe, DNA Study Says". 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  30. ^ Karen Kaplan (2008-02-21). "Around the world from Addis Ababa". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  31. ^ Speaking after his signing the disputed treaty between Ethiopia and Italy in 1889, Emperor Menelik II made clear his position: "We cannot permit our integrity as a Christian and civilized nation to be questioned, nor the right to govern our empire in absolute independence. The Emperor of Ethiopia is a descendant of a dynasty that is 3,000 years old – a dynasty that during all that time has never submitted to an outsider. Ethiopia has never been conquered and she never shall be conquered by anyone." J.E.C. Hayford, Ethiopia Unbound: Studies In Race Emancipation, Taylor & Francis, 1969, ISBN 0714617539, p. xxv
  32. ^ Ancient India, A History Textbook for Class XI, Ram Sharan Sharma, National Council of Educational Research and Training, India
  33. ^ Stuart Munro-Hay, Aksum: An African Civilization of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh: University Press, 1991, p. 57 ISBN 0-7486-0106-6.
  34. ^ Aksumite Ethiopia. (2007-03-24). Retrieved on 2012-03-03.
  35. ^ Paul B. Henze, Layers of Time: A History of Ethiopia, 2005 ISBN 1-85065-522-7.
  36. ^ Cite error: The named reference pop was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  37. ^ Germans without any migrant background
  38. ^ "Press releases - For the first time more than 16 million people with migration background in Germany". Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) - 2010-07-14. Retrieved 2012-11-04. 
  39. ^ "Pressemitteilungen - Ein Fünftel der Bevölkerung in Deutschland hatte 2010 einen Migrationshintergrund" (in (German)). Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis) - 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2012-11-04. 
  40. ^ The Latin name Sacrum Imperium (Holy Empire) is documented as far back as 1157. The Latin name Sacrum Romanum Imperium (Holy Roman Empire) was first documented in 1254. The full name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" (Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation) dates back to the 15th century.
    Zippelius, Reinhold (2006) [1994]. Kleine deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte: vom frühen Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart [Brief German Constitutional History: from the Early Middle Ages to the Present] (in German) (7th ed.). Munich: Beck. p. 25. ISBN 978-3-406-47638-9. 
  41. ^ "Germany". Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  42. ^ Melvin Eugene Page, Penny M. Sonnenburg (2003). Colonialism: an international, social, cultural, and political encyclopedia. Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 247. ISBN 978-1-57607-335-3. Retrieved 5 October 2009. 
  43. ^ Erlich, Haggai. The Cross and the River: Ethiopia, Egypt, and the Nile. 2002, page 192.
  44. ^ Murrell, Nathaniel Samuel and Spencer, William David and McFarlane, Adrian Anthony. Chanting Down Babylon: The Rastafari Reader. 1998, page 148.
  45. ^ Safire, William. Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History. 1997, page 297-8.
  46. ^ Karsh, Efraim. Neutrality and Small States. 1988, page 112.
  47. ^ Meredith, Martin. The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair. 2005, page 212-3.
  48. ^ Rebellion and Famine in the North under Haile Selassie, Human Rights Watch
  49. ^ Major religions ranked by size – Rastafarian
  50. ^ Barrett, Leonard E. Sr, (1997) The Rastafarians. Boston: Beacon Press.
  51. ^ Sullivan, Michael, C. In Search of a Perfect World. 2005, page 86.
  52. ^ Gates, Henry Louis and Appiah, Anthony. Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. 1999, page 902.
  53. ^ Official Site for Merriam-Webster
  54. ^ entry for Haile Selassie

wikipedia pronuciation guides[edit]

I see that how wikipedia indicates the pronunciation of the key entry is still being discussed. There's no way that will satisfy everyone, so please choose the way that satisfies the greatest number of wikipedia users, viz. the standard US English dictionary system (say, e.g., Webster's New World Dictionary). Don't worry about which dictionary, just choose one and let's get on with it! Jasper41 (talk) 18:35, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

You're right that we can't please everyone. That's why we've already made a choice and are getting on with it. The choice (and there's really no sensible alternative) is to use the IPA, with respelled pronunciations in addition to that as an alternative for English words. For reasons discussed here US Dictionary-style transcriptions are discouraged. garik (talk) 13:59, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Can simple start publishing Spelling Reform 1 ? It is very convinient people need it and only one that can change it is wikipedia. Also Special English should be encouraged.

Repeated deletions of pronunciation[edit]

I have had an editor repeatedly (twice now, in short succession) delete the pronunciation of the name of the subject of an article. It was sourced. No reason was given the first time, which I pointed out in reverting.

The second deletion contained the unhelpful edit summary "no."

I left word for the editor here, but if others have thoughts that may prove helpful.--Epeefleche (talk) 23:31, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Weird. The pronunciation you added didn't follow this manual of style (i.e. it didn't use the IPA or the Wikipedia respelling key — although I've now edited it so that it does), but I can't imagine that was the basis of the revert. Let's jutst see if the editor responds... garik (talk) 16:10, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Status of moving the pronunciation[edit]

What is the status of the idea of moving the pronunciation (and etymology) out of the first sentence of the leading paragraph? I think that the current placement harms the readability and usefulness of the articles; I hope the idea of changing it has not been abandoned. Whikie (talk) 22:19, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Except for *brief* transcriptions of names that readers are unlikely to be able to pronounce, I agree that it's distracting. If there's a pronunciation section, then there's no need to add it to the lead as well unless it's really obscure or counter-intuitive. — kwami (talk) 07:12, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

RfC on Template:Infobox person[edit]

This message is to notify you that there is an RfC ongoing on whether to add pronunciation info to {{Infobox person}}, a discussion which may be relevant to watchers of this page. Your comments on the matter are appreciated. The discussion can be found here. Thanks! 0x0077BE (talk · contrib) 17:26, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

Poorly conceived[edit]

I understand we want to keep things simple, but I don't think this idea of writing a single IPA transcription to cover all accents is well-conceived, particularly in the case of place-names or personal names associated with a particular English-speaking country or region. A reader is likely to assume that the pronunciation given is the standard one for that country or region, not some kind of Wikipedia-specific diaphonemic code that you have to click on a link in order to interpret. If we want to give this kind of international representation, then surely respelling is going to be a better method than IPA in many cases? It also has the advantage that it will be readily understood by far more people. IPA should be used only for pronunciations in specific varieties. Or at least, if the present method is used, the "r" ought to be put in parentheses when non-rhotic accents don't have it. W. P. Uzer (talk) 13:04, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

I've just noticed another interesting method being applied at one article: give the respelling in the text, with the IPA as a footnote. Then more than one IPA representation can easily be given, with explanation as to what they are, without cluttering the text. Of course, I'm not saying there's one solution that needs to be applied everywhere, just that there needs to be flexibility. W. P. Uzer (talk) 08:30, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

There are at least two different issues here, I think, which need different solutions.
  • Non-English words, including names, where the intention is to show the pronunciation in the source language. Only the IPA works here; no re-spelling system does since readers interpret the respelling in their own dialect.
  • Non-English words which have acquired English pronunciations and "difficult" English words, possibly pronounced differently in different dialects of English. Scientific words derived from Latin and Greek, such as the names of diseases or organisms, are examples of this category. Here careful re-spelling can work for a given reader who is expected to use their own dialect, but doesn't always work if the intention is to show the pronunciations in different dialects.
Peter coxhead (talk) 11:34, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, certainly for non-English pronunciations, IPA is usually going to be the only solution, unless there's another well-known system available like pinyin for Standard Chinese (and even that might still be accompanied by IPA, depending on tolerable amount of clutter). For English pronunciations (of the types you mention), all systems have their pros and cons, but it seems to me that, contrary to what is implied in this guideline, respelling (rather than IPA) should be the primary method of choice in cases of dialect differences - it handles most such differences in an intuitive and natural way, whereas IPA is potentially worse than unhelpful: people who don't know it aren't helped by it, and those who do are liable do be misled by it (since they possibly won't suspect that Wikipedia has its own idiosyncratic way of using it). Or maybe better to follow the method I referred to: write out the IPA separately for the different dialects, in a footnote. W. P. Uzer (talk) 10:58, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
However, multiple re-spellings are also needed for different dialects. Consider the word "lichen". In the UK this has two pronunciations which I would respell as "liken" and "litchen". The article says that the first UK pronunciation and the US pronunciation rhyme with "hikin'". However, this certainly isn't correct for me (ignoring the fact that I don't naturally use the "-in'" pronunciation of "-ing"). I pronounce "hikin'" as /ˈhkɪn/, "lichen" and "liken" as /ˈlkən/. So "likin'" isn't a sufficient respelling. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:45, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I agree, but that just seems to be a poor choice of respelling, and anyway appears within a dedicated "Pronunciation" section, where there's plenty of room for all the different representations we need (and in that case the dialect differences are irregular, so there is no possibility of encapsulating them by a single representation in any system). I'm thinking more about the pronunciations that we give in the opening sentences of articles, where we try to be brief. Like at Leicester, for example. What is the final /r/ supposed to be telling people, and how many people in real life are going to actually get it? (In fact that criticism also applies to the slightly IPA-fied respelling system used on that page, which uses the schwa symbol, again followed by an r.) W. P. Uzer (talk) 20:26, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, personally I'd omit the "r" in both the IPA and the respelling, but I suspect that both the recommended IPA and the WP respelling system are geared to the US majority with its many rhotic dialects rather than my southern England dialect. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:38, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it's so much a case of going with the majority (we're told to represent LOT words using the IPA symbol for the RP vowel, not the American one, for example) but an attempt to include all the information about multiple dialects in a single representation. So in effect it's a kind of respelling, but using IPA symbols instead of letters, which is confusing since readers would not be expecting the standard IPA system to be used in this non-standard way (quite apart from the fact that large numbers of readers will not know the IPA system at all). W. P. Uzer (talk) 07:23, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, you and I seem to agree that the present system is neither fish nor fowl, and so not entirely satisfactory, but it seems that no-one else is interested... Peter coxhead (talk) 10:19, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Our system starts with the understanding that the IPA is the best choice for indicating pronunciations. We tried doing dialect-specific transcriptions, which is what is normally done in dictionaries, but we could not justify sticking to just (standard) American and British pronunciations. To make it less wieldy, we created the diaphonemic system that combines both American and British pronunciations; it is a sort of compromise that features the phonemic contrasts of both dialects with the vowel symbols being close to those of British English. The post-vocalic r is not simply a compromise to an American majority readership. Rather, it is part of a representation that encodes for more than one dialect of English. We use dictionaries (which are normally either British or American) as the basis for the phonemes and contrasts that we encode in our representation.
If we had a language-wide or common respelling system, it might make sense to prioritize it over IPA for English pronunciations. However, it isn't always true that a respelling system "handles most [dialectal] differences in an intuitive and natural way." What, for example, would ah represent? The vowel of father? bother? cat? candle? caught? cart? call? Different respelling schemes use ah for quite a number of these. Also, unless I am atypical, I suspect most people familiar with dictionaries that use respelling rather than IPA have not actually bothered to memorize the scheme. If we had a more transparent orthography, the situation might be different.
As has been said in previous similar discussions, the IPA isn't perfect, but it is the international standard. Respelling can accomplish some things with greater ease than IPA, but its flaws put its usefulness under IPA. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 23:34, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
It's partly because it's the international standard that it's wrong for this purpose. People who think they know the standard will not think that they have to look up Wikipedia's specific way of using the symbols provided by that standard. Meanwhile respellings (or descriptions of the "rhymes with" or "sounds like" type) are accessible to a far wider audience, as well as sometimes being factually more accurate. Not in every case, of course, but we can be flexible about what method to use case by case - we're not giving a systematic pronunciation key to every word, after all. W. P. Uzer (talk) 09:37, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I don't follow your logic. It's an international standard for indicating pronunciation and is therefore wrong for an international encyclopedia? Can you give me an example of when someone who "thinks" they know the standard would misread a pronunciation given at a Wikipedia article? — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 02:33, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Well yes, obviously, this is what I've been saying all along. If you think you know the standard, you won't guess that Wikipedia's /r/ implies that there's no r in the prevailing standard in the country in question, or that Wikipedia's /ɒ/ implies ɑː in the country in question, or that Wikipedia's /ɑː/ means whatever it means. It's misleading because we're not using the standard in a way that anyone's used to, while the people who are used to the standard will be expecting us to use it in the way that they're used to. Everyone else will just be confused. And why do you keep restoring the ridiculous assertions at the top of this page about English respellings being inaccessible to non-native speakers and IPA being widely known? If you can't support this with reliable cites, we should just remove it - my intuition is exactly the reverse; in my experience foreigners who know English have a pretty good idea of the pronunciation of regularly spelt words, while few of them really understand IPA. But this isn't even my main point - I'm quite happy for IPA to be used by Wikipedia in an appropriate way, but the way it's being used on numerous articles at the moment is very inappropriate. W. P. Uzer (talk) 08:34, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
There are two issues here: (1) should IPA symbols be widely used in Wikipedia and (2) should Wikipedia's version of the IPA be widely used in Wikipedia. I think W. P. Uzer and I may disagree on (1) but we agree on (2): /hɒt/ should represent my Southern English pronunciation of "hot" and not also the standard American pronunciation. It's even more misleading when the WP version is applied to non-English words. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:46, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Exactly, and I don't necessarily disagree with you about (1) either, but I would suggest that, in contexts where giving and identifying multiple IPA representations is required for accuracy but is felt to be too cluttering, sometimes there will be a respelling or "rhymes with" that will serve the purpose most neatly; and that should then be what we give in the text, with the IPAs consigned to a footnote or to a dedicated pronunciation section. If there is no good respelling-type solution in a given case, then it would be better (again, if we're aiming to minimize clutter) to give one, most appropriate, IPA representation, with a footnote or dedicated section explaining what we've done and giving others. In the case of geographical names, I guess the most appropriate representation will normally be of the standard pronunciation in the country in which the place is. W. P. Uzer (talk) 09:06, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
You've got to walk me through this a little more thoroughly, W.P. Let's say there's a user from London who is used to RP transcriptions of the IPA. He sees our transcription of the word cheater as /ˈtʃiːtər/. It seems like you're saying that he will believe that even non-rhotic speakers must attempt to pronounce an /r/ in the coda, even though this is not a feature of their pronunciation. It's my understanding that such a user will either ignore the r (like they do in orthography) or wonder why there's an r there when there shouldn't be.
Another example. A resident of Los Angeles is used to the IPA transcriptions reflecting GA pronunciations. She sees our transcription of cot as /kɒt/. Will she attempt to pronounce it with a vowel not in her repertoire in a way that leads to a pronunciation different than what is typical for her dialect ([kɑʔt])? Even if she is confused by the vowel symbol, how will this confusion lead to an incorrect pronunciation? Do you see what I'm missing here? Confusion is one thing, but I'm not seeing how this confusion will lead to a misreading of the transcriptions toward a pronunciation different from what we intend. Can you point to a case that is different from cheater and cot where the reader could actually mispronounce the word because our IPA transcription is different?
The claims about the inaccessibility of English respellings to non-native speakers and IPA being widely known were added by other users. I don't have personal experience either way, but your argument doesn't really hold water because "regularly spelt" words can be a far cry from respelling systems used in various dictionaries. Sure, double e's and long i's are pretty regular, but there's the ah issue I brought up. English orthography also offers no good way to distinguish /ʊ/ from /ʌ/, /dʒ/ from /ʒ/, /ŋɡ/ from /ŋ/, or /θ/ from /ð/. Respelling systems just have to come up with their own methods for these. Maybe some ESL instructors can offer some insights into training materials used, but I was under the impression that IPA was used more than any respelling system. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 10:45, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
@Aeusoes1: Two issues again. (1) Is IPA a good idea? Yes, in my view. So I entirely agree with your second paragraph. (2) Should the IPA be used to represent as closely as possible the actual sounds (phones) or should it be used as a phonemic spelling system as Wikipedia effectively does? I agree that when it's used to represent English words which can legitimately be pronounced differently in different dialects, there's no great harm in the way that WP uses IPA. The problems arise when it's used to try to explain how the word is pronounced in a particular dialect or in another language. So if I write that Totnes is pronounced /tɒtˈnɛs/ by the locals, the /ɒ/ does not represent two different sounds, one used by speakers from most of England and the other by speakers from most of the US, it represents precisely what it's supposed to in the IPA. How do I know what is meant by the IPA at Mordor? I usually pronounce the word as /ˈmɔdɔ/; I think Tolkien meant it to be pronounced /ˈmɔrdɔr/. How can this difference be conveyed if in Wikipedia /r/ means "pronounce as you would an "r" in this position in a word in your own dialect"? Carlos Gutierrez doubtless expects the second syllable of his first name to be pronounced /oʊs/ since this is what Americans seem to do, but how can it be explained that the Spanish pronunciation is (approximately) /os/ if, again, this means "pronounce as you would a terminal "os" in your own dialect", so that Americans then read this as -/oʊs/ and most Britons as -/ɒs/?
Go back to what W. P. Uzer wrote at the start of this section, namely that "writing a single IPA transcription to cover all accents" is poorly conceived; it's the "to cover all accents" part that I strongly agree with. Peter coxhead (talk) 14:07, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Peter, the approach of having a system designed to cover all (standard) accents is to avoid having an article list two or more pronunciations. This way, we don't have entries that say that a word like cart is pronounced /kɑrt/, /kɑːt/, or /kaːt/. The diaphonemic system is designed so that readers can understand the transcriptions in their own dialect. The diaphonemic system is not designed to show how words are pronounced in a particular dialect. Totnes might be a border case where a local pronunciation can still be indicated with the diaphonemic system because it is a difference of incidence (that is, a difference in the phonemes used or, in this case, the stress) rather than a phonetic difference. If one wishes to show that locals pronounce a local name with a particular set of sounds, that is typically done in phonetic brackets.
The pronunciation at Mordor isn't English. So the Tolkien-preferred pronunciation of the term is not (and would not be) indicated with the diaphonemic system. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 00:57, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
So how is the reader supposed to know when the IPA symbols are being used "absolutely" and when they are being used in WP's system? How would Tolkien's preferred pronunciation be indicated? Not only are readers supposed to understand IPA, but also identify the difference between (dia)phonemic and phonetic transcriptions. Although it would help those with some linguistic knowledge if different 'brackets' were used consistently (e.g. //..// for diaphonemic transcriptions), this would not be helpful to most readers. No wonder so many editors oppose the use of IPA! Peter coxhead (talk) 08:39, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
The diaphonemic system is represented with /slashes/. Pretty much all others are represented with [brackets]. As long as templates are used, transcriptions link directly to the relevant language-specific help page. For English, that is Help:IPA for English. For Spanish, it is Help:IPA for Spanish, etc. If (as is the case with the languages of Middle Earth) no help page exists, then the transcriptions link to Help:IPA. I would think a reader who has learned the diaphonemic system could also learn the difference between slashes and brackets, though I'm not in a position to know if this sort of knowledge is clear enough for the lay reader. Do you think the explanation of the use of slashes is in need of revision for the sake of lay readers? — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 09:12, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
(after edit conflict, replying to Aeusoes) Readers will only understand the transcriptions in their own dialect if they are used to doing mental conversions from an IPA system into their own dialect AND if the IPA system we use is the same as the one they are used to seeing. The first condition is possible, assuming the reader is used to using modern British dictionaries and/or language textbooks (and has ever paid much attention to the pronunciation keys) (although this is all still far less likely than their being used to doing mental conversions from regular English spellings into their own dialect). But the second condition appears to be pretty much always false, since the Wikipedia system appears to be someone here's own invention. And why assume that readers want to know about their own dialect, or that they would assume that the pronunciation given is supposed to correspond to their dialect? In any case, the Wikipedia system is not sufficient to handle all the possible alternations, even between the major standard dialects (I've just looked up Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and do not find myself properly informed as to how either name is pronounced in my dialect - RP - even though multiple transcriptions are given). W. P. Uzer (talk) 08:59, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think you are underestimating the capacity of readers to learn new systems, W.P. We have developed an explanatory guide for them to learn how they can understand the diaphonemic transcriptions, and each transcription links to the guide for curious or confused readers. If you really don't understand how to read the diaphonemic transcription of Las Vegas, then you are confused by the system, in which case a revision of the explanation of how it works may be in order. In the case of Las Vegas, the RP transcription would actually be exactly the same as the diaphonemic one. There are no mental conversions necessary from the transcriptions you're used to seeing. What, exactly are you confused by here? — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 09:26, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

I am not confused, because I know how the system "works". But it's ordinary readers who will be confused, because we are presenting them with a system that either looks like weird squiggles or like something they're used to. If it looks like squiggles then I suppose no harm is done - the guideline already allows respellings to be added, so it's just a case of hoping that volunteers will come along and add them appropriately. But if it looks like something they think they're used to, then we're misleading them in all sorts of potential ways that we can't fully predict. Of course, they might happen to think to click the link and read and find out what Wikipedia is trying to do, but there's no reason to expect them to do that, nor any reason to make them go to the trouble, when we could be presenting them with accurate and properly annotated IPA representations (even if we have to give more than one of them) right from the start. (And I - and I think most RP speakers - don't pronounce Las Vegas in the way it's given there - it's definitely an /æ/ in the first syllable for me.) W. P. Uzer (talk) 09:43, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
Re the last point, absolutely: in my dialect, which is more-or-less the modern version of RP, Las in Las Vegas is pronounced /læs/; /lɑːs/ is entirely different. Given that /æ//a//ɑː/ differences are a key marker of different dialects spoken in Britain, it's completely misleading to say that /lɑːs/ can represent English dialects generally.
As for Aeusoes1's point above about notation, in all the sources I used in teaching phonetics to computer scientists, /../ marks normal (i.e. dialect-specific) phonemic transcriptions, [..] (allo)phonetic transcriptions. A different notation is needed for diaphonemic transcriptions (as indeed is noted in the Diaphoneme article). The absence of this means that (a) 'ordinary' readers are confused by the IPA symbols (b) those who know IPA are confused by the lack of clarity as to how it is being used. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:10, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
If we're talking about hypothetical users who are familiar with IPA but will misread our diaphonemic transcriptions, I still await an actual example where this could occur. With the Las Vegas example, it's a problem of differences in incidence which the diaphonemic system does not encode for (and an additional transcription may be in order). This is already explained at Help:IPA for English. In other words, a British reader isn't looking at the transcription and mistakenly thinking that the key is telling them their pronunciation is /lɑːs/ when they should be understanding it as /læs/. The transcription is simply incorrect for their dialect.
My preference is to keep single slashes. There's nothing wrong with doing so and certainly nothing inherent to a diaphonemic transcription that precludes their use. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 11:31, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
But using them just adds to the confusion for people who know what they usually mean. If we're going to use a non-standard system, then let's do all we can to mark it as non-standard, not the reverse. As to examples, plenty have already been given, but let's try to spell some out:
  • Boston, given as /ˈbɒstən/. No indication as to who pronounces it like that (I think it's locals with a regional accent, and non-American speakers, but not standard American speakers, who have /ɑː/). A foreigner who knows IPA will probably conclude that Americans generally use [ɒ] in that word. An American who knows IPA might guess right (particularly if they're familiar with British dictionaries), but might assume it's /ɔː/, since ɒ specifically marks roundedness. Someone who doesn't know IPA but listens to the recording might conclude that ɒ represents an unrounded vowel in IPA (thus adding miseducation about IPA to the list of problems). And it would be little difficulty to write out three different pronunciations, saying what each one is supposed to be, thus providing people with full and accurate information.
  • Leicester, given as /ˈlɛstər/. Brits who know IPA will either tut to themselves that Wikipedia is wrong again, or American-dominated, but may conclude falsely that this represents the local pronunciation and the Leicester is a rhotic-speaking city. Foreigners who know IPA (and don't know the finer points of English dialectal phonology) will probably conclude that this word is spoken with an "r"-sound on the end in standard British English. The simple expedient of putting the r in parentheses would probably be enough to avoid most problems here.
  • Bath, Somerset. Given as "/ˈbɑːθ/ or /ˈbæθ/", with no indication as to who says /bɑːθ/ and who says /bæθ/, even though both sequences are phonologically possible in all major dialects. Not really any help to anyone, and even the Help page isn't much help in cases like this, since there are various possible alternations in this area which the Wikipedia system doesn't have enough symbols for (cf. the Las Vegas case).

Does that explain why there's a problem? W. P. Uzer (talk) 11:59, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

See, this just gives me the impression that you don't understand the system. Let me break it down for you:
  • Boston is transcribed with /ɒ/, Help:IPA for English explicitly says that this is the vowel of lot. The mouseover feature says it's the vowel of body.
    • For those who pronounce the vowel of lot with [ɑː], they will read the transcription as [ˈbɑːstən].
    • For those who pronounce the vowel of lot with [ɔː], they will read the transcription as [ˈbɔːstən].
    • For those who pronounce the vowel of lot with [ɒ], they will read the transcription as [ˈbɒstən].
  • I was under the impression that, for speakers who have broad A, the sequence [æθ] does not occur. If I'm incorrect in that, please fill me in. As I've said before, The British pronunciation of Las Vegas may warrant an additional transcription, as we do with Bath. Some users have offered that we include a vowel in the system to represent this ɑː/æ correspondence but we so far have not done so. If we did, it would solve the problem of Las Vegas and Bath.
The remainder of what you described is "potential" confusion. An American familiar with IPA might read /ɒ/ as /ɔː/. Foreigners will probably misunderstand American phonology and may misunderstand British pronunciation. A reader unfamiliar with the IPA might conclude that ‹ɒ› represents an unrounded vowel. Brits may conclude that the given pronunciation is a local one. To me, these seem unlikely, particularly once they read the guide. Again, we're talking about a subset of readers who are confused by the system and don't bother to read the guide; it seems like this would be a tiny minority of readers. So I'm unconvinced that it would be an improvement to scrap the system in favor of writing three pronunciations reflecting predictable dialectal differences (and believe me, it would not be limited to just three transcriptions) when one transcription accomplishes the same effect. And just because there might be people who don't read the guide. Scrapping the system doesn't solve any actual problems other than ones that you are imagining for hypothetical users. You're not the first to come here denouncing the system for the sake of these phantom users, and I've found that such users typically imagine readers to be simpletons incapable of learning or understanding the system. The problem is that the confused readers that you imagine don't appear. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 20:36, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
Once again: I am not confused by the system. But ordinary readers will be confused by the system because it looks like a system they know, so they will not read the guide. Not because they're stupid, but because they're already knowledgeable. Why would you click a link on something you already understand? You began yourself by trumpeting IPA as an international standard that large numbers of people are familiar with - I think it is known to far fewer people than you think, but anyway, however large that set is, we're effectively feeding false information to those people, and expecting them to click a link in order to put themselves right. And the system doesn't even work in the way claimed - it's basically just RP with extra rhotic "r"'s, as far as I can tell - no attempt to reflect any other distinctions that occur in American, Australian, Scottish etc. No ability at all to resolve BATH-related questions (we do have [æθ] incidentally - in math(ematic)s, Cath(erine)). So there would not be any loss of information (and in some cases there would be a large gain, and in many cases far greater clarity) by giving an RP, a standard American and (if relevant) a local transcription. They could be put in a footnote if they would otherwise be too obtrusive. A better way of doing what the current system is trying to do (assuming we want to do it) is respellings - they're no more potentially confusing than multidialect IPA, people are more likely to click through to the guide since they won't assume that any known standard is being followed, and in most cases they're intuitively obvious to a much larger audience. [The current system plus guide is effectively a respelling system anyway, just much less transparent.] But they still don't solve most of the ambiguities I've referred to, so would still often need to be accompanied by multiple IPAs. W. P. Uzer (talk) 08:33, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
OK, the way you worded it with Boston, it sounded like you were confused. I see now that you were putting on an affect of a hypothetical confused user. Doing this muddles your arguments, as it's hard to tell how much is you actually being confused but thinking you're not, how much you're pretending to be confused, and how much you're simply ignoring what I've said. For example, you just said that the system does not attempt to reflect any other distinctions other than those found in RP and rhoticity. However, this isn't true. We have ɨ for the second vowel in roses; some speakers, particularly those in Australia, pronounce this as [ə] and some [ɪ]. Our system maintains the horse/hoarse distinction, which is not present in RP but is in Ireland and parts of the American South, and we also include /x/ as a consonant. When you say that, it makes me think you're confused.
I think we're at the point where we're just going to continue to repeat ourselves. I understand your arguments regarding reader confusion, but I don't buy them without evidence; you're making factual claims and there's just no evidence for them. It's not as though readers and editors wouldn't complain. Look at the archives here and at Help:IPA for English. People used to complain about the system. But we polished the explanatory guidelines, started using {{IPAc-en}}, expanded the diaphoneme article, and even developed an in-house respelling system. Now the complaints are less frequent. I think the last complaint about it was four years ago.
That said, though, your comments about broad A make for a compelling case to include it in our system. I think other editors have been slow to do so because of practical concerns (what symbol would we use? a? A?). — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 10:22, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
OK, the system is perhaps slightly better than I implied, but still way short of achieving what it is claimed to do, and the fundamental defects remain - if people aren't looking at the guide, they're effectively being lied to - they're being fed with false information either about English pronunciation, or about standard usage of IPA. There's absolutely no excuse or reason for Wikipedia to do this, especially when there are perfectly reasonable alternative ways of presenting the information. If others have complained like I have (and I'm seeing complaints higher up this page from much less than four years ago), it means that the types of reader behavior we're postulating are entirely reasonable and likely. (We don't have any concrete evidence either way about whether readers are actually being helped or hindered by any of this; we can only speculate based on our knowledge of typical human behavior.) Another problem (though less fundamental; it could be solved by rewriting the guide) is that there seems to be an assumption (clearly false) that (1) all readers are English speakers with a particular dialect; and (2) they only care about how words are spoken in their own dialect. W. P. Uzer (talk) 10:38, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
If you think the guide itself has flaws, I'd say bring it up at Help talk:IPA for English. Obviously, people are pretty entrenched about using IPA and the diaphonemic system, but anything to help streamline the learning process for users is welcome. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 19:33, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, you seem pretty entrenched, I'm not sure about anyone else. A small and easy improvement, I suppose, might be to add to the template an explicit "(key)" link, so as to suggest to readers that things are not what they seem, but I suspect many of the IPA-knowledgeable audience will still not realize they need it. We could also start putting the rhotic-only R's in parentheses (or write them as superscripts, as I've seen some dictionaries do); that would help to mitigate the most frequent potential cause of confusion. In the (comparatively rare) cases where there are other differences between significant dialects, I really think we should abandon the over-optimistic belief that we can encode everything in one representation, and instead simply write out all we know using separate transcriptions and saying what each one represents - it's not difficult, and the information will as a rule be more complete, much easier to decipher, and much less likely to deceive. And also easier to source and to correct.W. P. Uzer (talk) 20:04, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

IPA for [conlang][edit]

In light of the recently-created Help:IPA for Klingon, we may want to come up with an explicit threshold for which fictional languages are worthy of an IPA for X page. Klingon is certainly notable, though I'm not sure if there would be more than a handful of pages that transcribe Klingon in IPA. Sindarin, the language of Middle-Earth's elves, might warrant one based on the use of IPA in Tolkien-related articles. But where do we draw the line? — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 21:02, 20 December 2014 (UTC)