International Phonetic Alphabet

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Summary

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)"The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself (from the phrase 'International Phonetic Alphabet') that resistance seems pedantic. Context usually serves to disambiguate the two usages." (Laver 1994:561)

Details

is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin alphabet. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association as a standardized representation of the sounds of oral language.International Phonetic Association (IPA), Handbook. The IPA is used by lexicographers, foreign language students and teachers, linguists, speech-language pathologists, singers, actors, constructed language creators, and translators.

The IPA is designed to represent only those qualities of speech that are part of oral language: phones, phonemes, intonation, and the separation of words and syllables. To represent additional qualities of speech, such as tooth gnashing, lisping, and sounds made with a cleft palate, an extended set of symbols called the Extensions to the IPA may be used.

IPA symbols are composed of one or more elements of two basic types, letters and diacritics. For example, the sound of the English letter may be transcribed in IPA with a single letter, , or with a letter plus diacritics, , depending on how precise one wishes to be.The inverted bridge under the specifies it as apical (pronounced with the tip of the tongue), and the superscript h shows that it is aspirated (breathy). Both these qualities cause the English to sound different from the French or Spanish , which is a laminal (pronounced with the blade of the tongue) and unaspirated . and are thus two different IPA symbols for two different, though similar, sounds. Often, slashes are used to signal broad or phonemic transcription; thus, is less specific than, and could refer to, either or depending on the context and language.

Occasionally letters or diacritics are added, removed, or modified by the International Phonetic Association. As of the most recent change in 2005, there are 107 letters, 52 diacritics, and four prosodic marks in the IPA. These are shown in the current IPA chart, posted below in this article and at the website of the IPA.

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External Links

  • WikipediaInternational Phonetic Alphabet Chart with SoundsLinguistics IPA LAB

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