International Phonetic Association, Early history

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Summary

The International Phonetic Association (IPA; in French, ', API) is an organization that promotes the scientific study of phonetics and the various practical applications of that science. The IPA’s major contribution to phonetics is the International Phonetic Alphabet—a notational standard for the phonetic representation of all languages. The acronym IPA is used to refer to both the association and the alphabet.

Details

In 1886, in Paris, a small group of language teachers formed an association to encourage the use of phonetic notation in schools to help children acquire realistic pronunciations of foreign languages and also to aid in teaching reading to young children. The group, led by Paul Passy, called itself initially Dhi Fonètik Tîcerz' Asóciécon (the FTA). In January 1889, the name of the Association was changed to L'Association Phonétique des Professeurs de Langues Vivantes (AP), and, in 1897, to L'Association Phonétique Internationale (API)—in English, the International Phonetic Association (IPA). The IPA’s early peak of membership and influence in education circles was around 1914, when there were 1751 members in 40 countries. World War I and its aftermath severely disrupted the Association's activities, and the Journal did not resume regular publication until 1922.

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