ASCII IPA: a way to represent speech using a computer keyboard

by Markus Laker, with some additions by Bob Cunningham

 

Contents

What is this?

On the newsgroup alt.usage.english we often want to represent the way we speak. It's dangerous to make statements such as "bother rhymes with father" or "father sounds like farther" because, for many people, those statements aren't true. Besides, nobody knows how you say bother and farther.

To get round the problem, we use a notation called ASCII IPA. We all agree on what sound each symbol represents, regardless of our own accents. ASCII IPA is similar to the International Phonetic Alphabet used in modern dictionaries, but it uses the symbols available on most computer keyboards.

[For a full description of the International Phonetic Alphabet, see the Web site of the International Phonetic Association at http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/IPA/ipa.html. The IPA symbols shown on this page are from the 1979 revision of the International Phonetic Association's IPA Chart. For that reason, some of the symbols shown may not be the same as those shown in later revisions of the Phonetic Association's chart. In particular, 'turned-t' is no longer used for the sound in 'tsk tsk', and lowercase iota is no longer used. BC]

This page is an introduction to ASCII IPA; whether you already know conventional IPA or not, you should find ASCII IPA easy to learn here. If you don't, please contact the webmaster ([email protected]) and suggest how this page might be improved.

Not every ASCII IPA symbol is shown here, only those used most often on alt.usage.english. Other ASCII IPA symbols are used in descriptions of other languages and on other newsgroups, such as the linguistics group sci.lang.

Each word in the following tables is used to demonstrate a particular sound. Don't worry if other parts of the words sound different from the way they're pronounced in your part of the world; the idea is to demonstrate the sounds themselves, not the words they form.

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Let's get started!

Reading ASCII IPA is easier than writing it. For one thing, no one will know if you make a mistake. I suggest you learn to read it and then, when you can start to read words without constantly referring to the tables below, start to write.

Reading ASCII IPA

ASCII IPA looks like this: /bIt/. The /slashes/ are just a way of keeping the ASCII IPA in and the English spelling out. All you have to do is to look up the three symbols "b", "I" and "t" in the tables below. You'll find that /b/ and /t/ are just what you expect them to be, assuming that you grew up speaking English, and /I/ is the vowel in it and bridge. Put it all together and you get the word bit.

Here's a more complicated example: /'fA:[email protected]/. What are all those symbols? Well, the apostrophe (') is a stress marker: it says that the following syllable is stressed. The colon (:) lengthens the preceding vowel. The at-sign (@) represents a schwa, the neutral, unstressed vowel in the words about and lemon. Put it all together and you get the way I [Markus Laker] - a Brit who drops his R's - say father. The word schwa, by the way, is pronounced /SwA:/.

You'll find it easier to learn ASCII IPA if you remember the following points:

  1. In English spelling, some sounds are represented by combinations of letters, such as the "th" in thin. This never happens in ASCII IPA. One sound corresponds to one symbol. The "th" in thin, for example, is represented by the symbol /T/.

  2. In English spelling, some letters change their sounds depending on what follows. The "a" in mat changes if you add an "e", making mate. The "a" and the "g" in rag both change if you add an "e", making rage. In this respect, ASCII IPA is a good deal easier than English spelling because each symbol always represents the same sound.

    (Actually, that's only nearly true. There are a handful of symbols that do change the preceding symbol, but always in a predictable way. The only one you'll meet in the early days is the colon ":", which we've already described. You'll find the others in the other symbols table.)

  3. Conversely, some sounds are represented in two or more ways in English spelling. Consider the first consonants in the words cat and kitty or fun and phone. Again, ASCII IPA is easier: there's only one way of representing each sound.

  4. In English spelling, the sound of a word doesn't depend on whether it's written in capital letters or not. ASCII IPA is different, and one of the most common mistakes is to get the case of a symbol wrong. For example, /tin/ represents the word teen and /TIN/ represents thing.

  5. Sometimes, sounds that we think of as a unit are really two or even three sounds in a row. For example, say the word cold slowly to yourself. Although we hear it as a single sound and write it with a single letter, the "o" is really a glide from one sound to another. Which two sounds those are depends on your accent. Similarly, the vowel in cake is, very roughly, a glide from the vowel in egg to the vowel in leek.

    These two-in-one vowel sounds are called diphthongs. Three-in-one vowel sounds are called triphthongs. There's a table of them further down.

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Writing ASCII IPA

Writing ASCII IPA is easy once you can read it fairly fluently.

To represent a word in ASCII IPA, you have to break it down into its component sounds. The word cat, for example, has the "k" sound from kick, the "a" sound from pan and the "t" sound from hit. All you do is to find the relevant sounds in the tables below, pick the corresponding symbols, and write them one after another inside a pair of /slashes/. So the ASCII IPA for cat is /k&t/.

For longer or more complex words, use an apostrophe (') to indicate that the following syllable is stressed. Use a colon (:) to indicate that the previous vowel is lengthened. You can learn how to use the rest of the other symbols table from other people as and when you need it.

Sometimes you should use [square brackets] rather than slashes when you write ASCII IPA. But don't worry about that now; learn the symbols and how to use them, and then read the little essay near the end of this page.

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About the sound files

If you are able to listen to sound files, I [Bob Cunningham] recommend that you emphasize use of the sound files to associate each symbol with a sound. Don't be concerned about whether or not the example words are pronounced as you would pronounce them. An example word has the sole purpose of illustrating the sound associated with a symbol, so all that matters is that the speaker is pronouncing the word with the correct sound of the symbol. I'd like to call particular attention to the section that is headed Vowel pronunciations by experts. The sounds presented in that section should be the most reliable and authoritative guide for associating sounds with symbols. (BC)

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A quick look

The traditional 'long' vowels (note that three of the 'long vowels' are really diphthongs):

bait [beIt] - beet [bit] - bite [baIt] - boat [boUt] - beaut [bjut] - boot [but]
Sound: [WAV] [MPEG]

The traditional 'short' vowels:

pat [p&t] - pet [pEt] - pit [pIt] - pot [pAt] - putt [pVt] - put [pUt]
Sound: [WAV] [MPEG]

Other vowels and diphthongs:

pert [p@rt] - port [pOrt] - pout [paUt] - point [pOInt] - potential [p@'tEnS@l]
Sound: [WAV] [MPEG]

Special consonants:

that [D&t] -  thin [TIn] - yet [jEt] - hung [hVN] - ship [SIp] - chip [tSIp] - gyp [dZIp] - measure ['mEZ@r]
Sound: [WAV] [MPEG]

You might find that that's all the ASCII IPA you need to know for pronunciation discussions in alt.usage.english.

The Quick Look section in its entirety has been added by Bob Cunningham. Evan Kirshenbaum made some recommendations for changes that have been incorporated.

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The Symbols

Consonants and vowels

The consonant symbols [b], [d], [f], [h], [k], [l], [m], [n], [p], [r], [s], [t], [v], [w], and [z] have their usual English values. In other words, they always have the same sound in English spelling, and that's the sound they have in ASCII IPA, too.

The following table lists the other sounds most often used in ASCII IPA. It shows each IPA symbol, its ASCII IPA equivalent, its name, some words that use that sound, and the way that British and American speakers typically pronounce those words. Hypertext links inside this table lead to sound samples.

Owing to the limitations of HTML, the IPA symbols may appear larger or smaller than normal letters. Their relative size will depend on your output resolution and default font size.

Symbols in the table (click on a blue arrow to return here): A   A.   a   C   D   E   e   g   I   I.   i   j   N   O   o   R   S   T   t!   U   u   V   V"   W   x   Y   y   Z   &   @   ?   *

ASCII
symbol
IPA
symbol
Name Example British American  
A IPA symbol Script a Ah
Cart
Father
Farther
French bas
U.S. All
U.S. Bother
U.S. Caught
U.S. Cot
U.S. Hot
U.S. Sorry
(Note 1)
/A:/
/kA:t/
/'fA:[email protected]/
/'fA:[email protected]/
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
/A:/ 2, 3
/kArt/ 2, 3
/'fA:[email protected]/ 2, 3
/'[email protected]/ 2, 3
/bA/
/A:l/ 3
/bA:[email protected]/ 3
/kA:t/ 3
/kA:t/ 3
/hA:t/ 3
/sA:ri:/ 3
 
uparrow
This sound requires opening your mouth wide
and feeling resonance at the back of your mouth.
A. IPA symbol Turned
script a
U.K. Bother
U.K. Cot
U.K. Hot
U.K. Sorry
/'[email protected]/
/kA.t/
/hA.t/
/'sA.ri/
  uparrow
This symbol (for the sound traditionally called "short o")
is not much used to transcribe U.S. pronunciation. [A] or
[O] is used instead, according to which vowels the speaker
merges; but the sound used by many such speakers will
certainly be heard by Britons as [A.]. The sound is
intermediate between [A] and [O], but typically of shorter
duration than either. Imagine Patrick Stewart saying "Tea,
Earl Grey, hot."
a IPA symbol   French ami
German Mann
Italian pasta
Chicago pop
Boston park
(Note 6)
/a'mi/
/man/ 1, 2
/'pasta/
/pap/
/pa:k/
 
uparrow
Also in diphthongs: "dive" /daIv/ (yes, folks, the sound
traditionally called "long i" is actually a diphthong!),
"out" /aUt/. Typically, [a] is not distinguished
phonemically from [A]; but if you use in "ask" a vowel
distinct both from the one in "cat" and the one in "father",
then [a] is what it is. (Note 2)
C IPA symbol C cedilla German
(Hochdeutsch) ich
/IC/ 1, 2 uparrow
D IPA symbol Edh This /DIs/ /DIs/ 3 uparrow
E IPA symbol Epsilon End
Get
Merry
Mary
/End/
/gEt/
/'mErI/
/'[email protected]/
/End/ 3
/gEt/ 3
/mEri:/ 3
/mEri:/ 3
uparrow
Some U.S. speakers do not distinguish between "Mary",
"merry", and "marry" [3]. (Note 3, Note 4)
e IPA symbol   Eight
Chaos
/eIt/
/'keA.s/
/eIt/ 3
/'keIA:s/ 3
uparrow
g IPA symbol   Get /gEt/ /gEt/3
uparrow
I IPA symbol or IPA symbol Iota (upper- or
lower-case)
It
Bridge
/It/
/brIdZ/
/It/ 3
/brIdZ/ 1, 3
uparrow
I. IPA symbol Small
capital Y
German Glück /glI.k/ 1, 2 uparrow
Round your lips for [U] and try to say [I].
i IPA symbol   Eat /i:t/ /i:t/ 3 uparrow
j IPA symbol   Yes /jEs/ /jEs/ 3 uparrow
N IPA symbol Eng Hang /h&N/ /heIN/ 3 uparrow
O IPA symbol Open o U.K. All
U.K. Caught
Court
Oil
/O:l/
/kO:t/
/kO:t/
/OIl/
 
 
/kO:rt/ 3
 
uparrow
The [O] sound requires rounded lips, but lips making a
a bigger circle than for [o]. If you do not use the
same vowel sound in "caught" as in "court", then you are
one of the North American speakers who use [O] only
before [r]: you do not round your lips for "all" and
"caught", and you should use some other symbol, such as
[A] or [a], to transcribe the vowel.
(Note 5)
o IPA symbol   U.S. No
U.S. Old
U.S. Omit
 
  /noU/ 3
/oUld/ 3
/oU'mIt/ 3
uparrow
The pure sound is heard in French beau /bo/. British
Received Pronunciation does not use this sound,
substituting the diphthong /@U/ (/[email protected]/, /@Uld/, /@U'mIt/).
If you are one of the few speakers who distinguish such
pairs as "aural" and "oral", "for" and "four", "for" and
"fore", "horse" and "hoarse", "or" and "oar", "or" and
"ore", then you use [O] for the first and [o] for the
second word in each pair; otherwise, you use [O] for both.
R IPA symbol Right-hook
schwa
Equivalent to /@r/, /r-/, or even /V"r/ uparrow
S IPA symbol Esh Ship /SIp/ /SIp/ 3 uparrow
T IPA symbol Theta Thin /TIn/ /TIn/ 3 uparrow
t! IPA symbol Turned t tsk-tsk or tut-tut /t! t!/ /t! t!/ 3 uparrow
U IPA symbol Upsilon Pull
Butch
/pUl/
/bUtS/
/pUl/
/bUtS/
uparrow
u IPA symbol   Ooze /u:z/ /u:z/ 3 uparrow
V IPA symbol Turned v U.K. Hurry
Shun
Up
/'hVrI/
/SVn/
/Vp/
 
/SVn/ 3
/Vp/ 3
uparrow
U.S. speakers tend not to use [V] in words (such as "hurry")
where the following sound is [r]: they would say /'[email protected]/. [3]
And some U.S. speakers, especially in the eastern U.S.,
substitute [@] for [V] in all contexts. If you do not
distinguish "mention" /'mEn [email protected]/ from "men shun" [3]
/'mEn SVn/, then you should use [@] and not [V] to
transcribe your speech.
V" IPA symbol Reversed
epsilon
Fern
Hurl
/fV":n/
/hV":l/
/fV"rn/
/hV"rl/
uparrow
Many U.S. speakers substitute [@] for [V"], so they would
say /[email protected]/, /[email protected]/ [3]. Many other U.S. speakers pronounce
"fern" with no vowel at all: /fr:n/, /hr:l/. If you are one of the
few speakers who distinguish such pairs as "pearl" and "purl"
(using a lower, more retracted vowel in "purl"), then you can
transcribe "pearl" /[email protected]/ and "purl" /pV"rl/.
W IPA symbol o-e ligature French heure
German Köpfe
/Wr/
/[email protected]/ 1, 2
uparrow
Round your lips for [O] and try to say [E].
x IPA symbol   Scots loch
German Bach
/lA.x/
/bax/ 1, 2
uparrow
Y IPA symbol Slashed o French peu
German schön
/pY/
/SYn/ 1, 2
uparrow
Round your lips for [o] and try to say [e]
y IPA symbol   French lune
German müde
/lyn/
/'[email protected]/ 1, 2
uparrow
Round your lips for [u] and try to say [i].
Z IPA symbol Yogh Beige /beIZ/ /beIZ/ 3 uparrow
& IPA symbol Ash Ash
Cat
Marry
/&S/
/k&t/
/'m&rI/ (Note 3)
/&S/ 3
/k&t/ 3
/'m&ri/
uparrow
@ IPA symbol Schwa Lemon /'[email protected]/ /'[email protected]/ 3 uparrow
? IPA symbol Glottal Uh-oh /'[email protected]/ /'V?oU/ 3 uparrow
* IPA symbol Fish-hook r A short tap of the tongue use by some U.S.
speakers in "pedal", "petal", and by Scots
speakers in "pearl": all /pE*@l/. If you are
a U.S. speaker but distinguish "pedal" [3] from
"petal" [3], then you do not use this sound.
uparrow

Note 1: The pronunciations shown for the previous six lines are not heard in every part of the United States. They are the ones in my [Bob Cunningham's] idiolect and probably are typical of the pronunciation of most speakers west of the Rocky Mountains. (BC)

Note 2: Some Britons, including the Oxford University Press, now feel that the diphthong in dive is /VI/ rather than /aI/.

Note 3: Among those who use the same vowel in 'Mary', 'merry', and 'marry', not all of them have the common vowel /E/ in the three words. One reader has said that he pronounces all three with /&/. (BC)

Note 4: Some Britons, again including the Oxford University Press, now feel that the final vowel in words such as Mary and hurry is now /i/ rather than /I/. You'll notice from the sound samples that this is true of my [Markus Laker's] own accent.

Note 5: The remarks concerning the pronunciation of [O] were taken verbatim from Mark Israel's AUE FAQ. Some AUE contributors have expressed the opinion that the remarks are too sweeping a generalization, and that there are American pronunciations of 'caught' and 'court' that don't follow the guidelines given by the remarks. (They happen to apply exactly to my [Bob Cunningham's] idiolect.) In any case, if you are able to listen to the auditory pronunciations, you should ignore such explanatory remarks and should also ignore example words. You should give priority to listening to the sound files. Example words and explanatory notes are crutches for the benefit of those who don't have sound cards. (BC)

Note 6: The reference to 'Chicago pop' first appeared in Mark Israel's AUE FAQ, and I [Bob Cunningham] believe it was copied from there by Markus Laker for inclusion in his ASCII IPA guide. Some AUE readers have expressed disagreement with the Chicago pronunciation of 'pop' with [a]. I have no opinion on the subject, having no knowledge of how 'pop' is pronounced in Chicago. I suggest that you use your own knowledge or your own judgement about whom to believe. In any case, example words should not be relied upon in general to illustrate pronunciation. First priority should be given to listening to the sound files to learn the pronunciation associated with any symbol. Example words are to be regarded as crutches for the benefit of those who do not have sound cards. (BC)

[Start of "Consonants and Vowels"] [Top]

Affricates, diphthongs and triphthongs

A diphthong is a glide between two pure vowel sounds but which is normally considered as a unit. The vowels in cake, dive, bone are diphthongs.

A triphthong is a glide between three vowels - again, normally considered as a unit. The vowels in fire and power are triphthongs.

An affricate is a plosive consonant immediately followed by a fricative or spirant. In simple English, it's a consonant that momentarily stops the air flow through your mouth followed by a second consonant that you pronounce by forcing the air through a small gap. The two consonants in charge are affricates.

Observant readers will notice that /hw/ doesn't belong in this table at all.

Symbols in the table (click on a blue arrow to return here): tS   dZ   hw   eI   @U   oU   aI   aU   Oi   [email protected]

ASCII
symbol
IPA
symbol
Sample
words
Pronunciation  
tS IPA symbol Chin
Butch
/tSIn/ 3
/bUtS/ 1
uparrow
dZ IPA symbol Jet
Bridge
/dZEt/ 3
/brIdZ/ 1
uparrow
hw IPA symbol Scots when /hwEn/ uparrow
The difference between [hw] and [w] does not
usually affect meaning (common exceptions
being while/wile and whether/weather)
and many speakers never use [hw] at all.
eI IPA symbol or IPA symbol Gate /geIt/ uparrow
@U IPA symbol British RP stone cold /[email protected] [email protected]/ uparrow
oU IPA symbol American stone cold /stoUn koUld/ 1, 3 uparrow
Many British accents use [oU], rather than [@U],
before /l/ in certain positions. These accents
would say [[email protected] koUld]. Some other British
accents use [oU] for /@U/ all the time.
aI IPA symbol or IPA symbol Dive /daIv/ 3 uparrow
aU IPA symbol Out /aUt/ 3 uparrow
Oi IPA symbol Oil /OIl/ 3 uparrow
[email protected] IPA symbol British RP sour
American sour
/[email protected]/
/[email protected]/ 1, 3
uparrow
A schwa /@/ can be added to many other
diphthongs to form triphthongs, as in British
fire /'[email protected]/, thrower /'[email protected]@/, slayer /'[email protected]/.
The American equivalents would be /[email protected]/ [3],
/'[email protected]/ [3], and /'[email protected]/ [3].

[Start of "Affricates, diphthongs, and triphongs"] [Top]

Other symbols

Symbol Effect
- Previous consonant syllabic as in "bundle" /'[email protected]/ or /'bVndl-/,
"button" /[email protected]/ or /bVtn-/
~ Previous vowel nasalised, or previous consonant velarised
: Previous sound lengthened
; Previous sound palatalised
<h> Previous sound aspirated
' [apostrophe] Following syllable has primary stress
, [comma] Following syllable has secondary stress

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Slashes or square brackets?

If you read alt.usage.english for long, you'll sometimes see ASCII IPA written between /slashes/ and you'll sometimes see it between [square brackets]. Which is right? This apparently simple question baffled me [Markus Laker] for months. Here is the understanding that I, as a non-linguist, eventually reached, along with four useful words that interested amateurs - like me - will find useful.

  • A phone is a simple vowel or consonant, such as a [p].
  • A phonetic transcription is concerned with phones - it attempts to write down the sounds that are actually made, regardless of what they mean.
  • A phoneme is a sound that distinguishes one word from another.
  • A phonemic transcription is concerned with the meanings of sounds. It is not concerned with differences between sounds unless they affect meaning.
Phonetic transcriptions are enclosed in square brackets.

Phonemic transcriptions are enclosed in slashes.

Here's an example. In English English, cold is pronounced /[email protected]/. This is true for all English accents, even those that sound very different from RP (Received Pronunciation or 'BBC English'). In many English accents, however, the presence of the [l] changes the [@U] to [oU], and the word comes out as [koUld]. But it's still correct to write it phonemically as /[email protected]/ because the change from [@U] to [oU] doesn't affect the meaning. In fact, all words in the same class - soul, pole, sold -- undergo the same change and we aren't normally even conscious of it.

A second example: phonemic transcriptions - which use slashes - don't distinguish between the four [t] sounds in tot, bottle, button, and don't know. Phonetic transcriptions - which use square brackets - do attempt to distinguish. The scheme shown on this page can't make all these distinctions (although the [t] in don't know would be replaced by a [?]). More elaborate distinctions are possible using the full definition of ASCII IPA at Evan Kirshenbaum's Web site, although they aren't often used on alt.usage.english. Evan's definition is also available in a PDF version for those who have the Acrobat reader. He has stated "The PDF file is the one that should be treated as authoritative (to the extent that any of this is)."

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Vowel pronunciations by experts

Symbols in the table (click on a blue arrow to return here): A   A.   a   %   E   e   I   i   O   o   U   u   V   V"   &   @

ASCII
IPA
symbol
IPA
symbol
Articulatory
description
IPA
sound
Lausanne
sound
 
A IPA symbol {low,bck,unr,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow
A. IPA symbol {low,bck,rnd,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow
a IPA symbol {low,fnt,unr,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow
None (see note) IPA symbol {smo,cnt,ntl,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow
E IPA symbol {lmd,fnt,unr,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow
e IPA symbol {umd,fnt,urd,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow
I IPA symbol or IPA symbol {smh,sft,unr,vwl} [4]   uparrow
i IPA symbol {hgh,fnt,unr,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow
O IPA symbol {lmd,bck,rnd,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow
o IPA symbol {umd,bck,rnd,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow
U IPA symbol {smh,sbk,rnd,vwl} [4]   uparrow
u IPA symbol {hgh,bck,rnd,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow
V IPA symbol {lmd,bck,unr,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow
V" IPA symbol {lmd,cnt,urd,vwl} [4]   uparrow
& IPA symbol {smo,fnt,unr,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow
@ IPA symbol {mid,cnt,urd,vwl} [4] [5] uparrow

Articulatory descriptions:

 
bck back part of tongue
cnt tongue at its central position between front and back
fnt front part of tongue
hgh tongue at its highest position
lmd 'low mid', tongue between middle and low positions
low tongue at its lowest position
mid tongue between open-mid and lower-mid positions
ntl 'neutral' (neither rounded nor unrounded)
rnd lips rounded
sbk 'semi-back', tongue between lower-mid and low positions
sft 'semi-front', tongue between central and front positions
smh 'semi-high', tongue between upper-mid and high positions
smo 'semi-open', tongue between open-mid and open positions
umd 'upper mid', tongue between middle and high positions
unr lips unrounded
vwl vowel

In these abbreviations the terms 'open' equals 'low'. If 'close' had been used, it would equal 'high'.

 

Note: There is no ASCII IPA symbol for the IPA 180-degree-rotated lowercase 'a', which corresponds to the central vowel that is midway between open-mid and open. I've added sound files for this vowel because at least one AUE person has said that he thinks he may use a central open vowel. The rotated lowercase 'a' is slightly higher than open. It seems reasonable to guess that the difference between it and a fully open central open might be similar to the difference between /&/ and /a/, since they are the same difference apart on the openness scale. Anyway, for what it's worth, there it is. If you want to use it, I suggest you use one of Evan Kirshenbaum's ad hoc symbols (/$/ or /%/) for it and define it in your accompanying text. (BC)

[Start of "Pronunciations by experts"] [Top]

Credits

ASCII IPA was developed by a team of alt.usage.english and sci.lang members led by Evan Kirshenbaum ([email protected]).

The material in the Consonants and vowels and Other symbols tables is taken from the alt.usage.english FAQ written by Mark Israel ([email protected]). He and Evan Kirshenbaum made many helpful suggestions and corrections during the production of this page.

Many thanks to those who've kindly provided sound samples:

  • German sound samples were provided by Antje and Igor Merfert. Igor is the originator of the a.u.e Audio Archive.
  • French sound samples were recorded by Jean-Luc Pellequer, from Champagne, France.
  • American sound samples marked 1 were provided by Bill T, a Mid-Western speaker from Dallas, TX.
  • American sound samples marked 2 were provided by a doctor in Michigan, an upper Mid-Western state.
  • American sound samples marked 3 were recorded by Bob Cunningham, who was born in 1922, spent his youth in California, Utah, Nevada, Washington, and the U.S. Merchant Marine, and has lived in Southern California since 1946.
  • Sound samples marked 4 were copied with permission of the copyright owners from the compact disk 'Sounds of the IPA', which is copyright 1995 by Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, University College London. Permission to use them has been granted under the condition that they will not be used in any commercial way, and in particular will not be used to produce any further CD using the sounds. To read about - or buy - the CD or cassette called 'Sounds of the IPA', go to http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/cassette.htm. (BC)
  • Sound samples marked 5 are from the Online Phonetics course at the University of Lausanne (http://www.unil.ch/ling/phonetique/api-eng.html), permission to use them having been obtained from that organization. (BC)
  • The remaining sound samples were recorded by Markus Laker, who was born in 1965 in South London and moved down to the south coast of England in 1983.

This document is for the most part the work of Markus Laker (version at his web site). In early 1999 Bob Cunningham added the large number of pronunciation examples that are marked 3. He also added the indexes to individual characters and some linkages to other programs at his Web site, and made some other minor changes to suit his own taste. On 2 June 2000 he added the 'Quick look' and 'Vowel pronunciations by experts' sections. Bob writes: Let me call attention to the fact that I've tried to leave all of Markus Laker's comments as he wrote them. My intent has been to flag with initials 'BC' any comments that I've added. I hope I've found all of them. Any comments that are not so tagged should be assumed to be by Markus Laker. (BC)

Mike Barnes made a number of changes to the presentation of this page, in May 2002.

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Help to complete this page!

You'll have noticed that some of the symbols in the tables above don't have sound samples. That's because they don't occur in the contributors' dialects. If your dialect or language uses one of these sounds and you have a multimedia computer, please send to the webmaster ([email protected]) a recording (see Recording Suggestions) of yourself saying one or more of the words shown. If you send a sample, please say how you'd like yourself named or described.

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