IPA issues

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IPA issues

stevertigo-2
(Crossposted to wikien and foundation:)

Some points about IPA on all language wikis.

1) As a rule, all language wikis should use International Phonetic
Alphabet as their standard pronunciation scheme. Very few appear to
actually do.
2) All language wikis should attempt to use IPA to pronounce the
endonym of a foreign word, not the exonymic re-pronunciation (ie. Iraq
= /iːˈrɑːk/ not /ɪˈræk/).
3) With rare exceptions, IPA should be the default phonemic
transcription scheme, and
alternate schemes such as [[Wikipedia:Pronunciation respelling key]]
should be avoided or deprecated.
4) Feedback from languages about IPA should be useful. IPA is actually
quite flexible about exactness, while still being phonetically
precise. If there are flaws in IPA itself, the Wikipedia community can
help raise them for the Internation Phonetic Association.
5) Ambiguity about how it is supposed to be used is a cross-project
issue should be dealt with at the Foundation level (ie. global not
just inter-wiki policy).

-Stevertigo

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Re: IPA issues

Nathan Awrich
What's the point of using a phonetic alphabet that 95% of our
readership can't interpret? If the idea is to help readers understand
how a word is pronounced in English, it should actually be useful to
the majority of readers and not largely useless but academically
perfect.

Nathan

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Re: IPA issues

Emily Monroe
I'd have to agree with you, Nathan. I can't read IPA to save my life!

Emily
On Apr 21, 2010, at 5:58 PM, Nathan wrote:

> What's the point of using a phonetic alphabet that 95% of our
> readership can't interpret? If the idea is to help readers understand
> how a word is pronounced in English, it should actually be useful to
> the majority of readers and not largely useless but academically
> perfect.
>
> Nathan
>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: [Foundation-l] IPA issues

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
Hoi,
A lot of so called IPA out there is created by Americans for Americans and
expect that certain sounds can be expressed by the ordinary Latin
characters. The consequence is that such polution makes the whole of IPA
hard to use.

Consequently I argue that in order to save the usefulness of IPA at all we
HAVE to be academically correct in how it is expressed.
Thanks,
     GerardM

On 22 April 2010 00:58, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> What's the point of using a phonetic alphabet that 95% of our
> readership can't interpret? If the idea is to help readers understand
> how a word is pronounced in English, it should actually be useful to
> the majority of readers and not largely useless but academically
> perfect.
>
> Nathan
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: [Foundation-l] IPA issues

Emily Monroe
I think it's better that Wikipedia be usable to  laypeople, and not be  
in "academic savior" mode.

Emily
On Apr 21, 2010, at 6:19 PM, Gerard Meijssen wrote:

> Hoi,
> A lot of so called IPA out there is created by Americans for  
> Americans and
> expect that certain sounds can be expressed by the ordinary Latin
> characters. The consequence is that such polution makes the whole of  
> IPA
> hard to use.
>
> Consequently I argue that in order to save the usefulness of IPA at  
> all we
> HAVE to be academically correct in how it is expressed.
> Thanks,
>     GerardM
>
> On 22 April 2010 00:58, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> What's the point of using a phonetic alphabet that 95% of our
>> readership can't interpret? If the idea is to help readers understand
>> how a word is pronounced in English, it should actually be useful to
>> the majority of readers and not largely useless but academically
>> perfect.
>>
>> Nathan
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> foundation-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/ 
>> foundation-l
>>
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Re: IPA issues

stevertigo-2
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 3:58 PM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
> What's the point of using a phonetic alphabet that 95% of our
> readership can't interpret? If the idea is to help readers understand
> how a word is pronounced in English, it should actually be useful to
> the majority of readers and not largely useless but academically
> perfect.

On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 4:14 PM, Emily Monroe <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I'd have to agree with you, Nathan. I can't read IPA to save my life!

The idea behind IPA is, that there be a single standard alphabet that
everyone can use which can help us all communicate a bit better when
speaking a new language or just using a term from another language.
It's basic and encyclopedic information and should be included.
Consider a word we've all seen recently: Eyjafjallajökull, which
apparently just means "island-mountain glacier" (I suggest that
"Eyja-fjalla glacier" is the sensible English translation). It's not
necessary that anyone pronounce it exactly as [ˈɛɪjaˌfjatlaˌjœːkʏtl̥],
still its basic information about the name itself.  A name is a key
into a concept, and a foreign name is a key into a foreign concept. We
don't omit basic information just because it gives us too much of a
window into strange and foreign ways of conceptualization that we just
don't understand.

The issue of accessibility is valid, but I can answer that by
understating IPA's usability as flexible, ranging from the basic to
the expert. Most people I imagine start with learning few of the IPA
vowels, and the consonants are mostly intuitive. Being flexible means
that its also quite forgiving, and that anyone who makes an honest
attempt at writing in IPA is making a contribution, even if they are
politely corrected here and there by someone a bit more.. 1337.

I agree that IPA can seem a bit cumbersome and even ambiguous when
used at extreme detail (ie. it gets into reproducing whole
foreign-language phonologies at a single-word level, which isn't
always useful nor necessary). At least I can understand why it's not
universally accepted and used on our foreign encyclopedias, namely
that its still a bit esoteric enough for us on en. Nevertheless its,
again, encyclopedic and necessary.

-Stevertigo

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Re: [Foundation-l] IPA issues

stevertigo-2
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 4:19 PM, Gerard Meijssen
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hoi,
> A lot of so called IPA out there is created by Americans for Americans and
> expect that certain sounds can be expressed by the ordinary Latin
> characters. The consequence is that such polution makes the whole of IPA
> hard to use.
>
> Consequently I argue that in order to save the usefulness of IPA at all we
> HAVE to be academically correct in how it is expressed.

Quite. We need to make the distinction between exonym and endonym
transcription. Endonyms come first, and exonym-repronunciations are
noted as such. But likewise we can't get too stuffy about pronouncing
words according to native phonologies, clicks and whirrs and so forth.
:P

-Stevertigo

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Re: IPA issues

quiddity-2
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
As the page banners say, it's a recurring question. These are some of
the relevant links:
Discussions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:IPA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:International_Phonetic_Alphabet
The templates:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:IPA-en
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:IPA-all
2 alternatives we can use:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:USdict
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Respell
Associated project:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_%28pronunciation%29
A Comparison of the various systems:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronunciation_respelling_for_English

So: It's complicated. All options are imperfect. Different
imperfections vex various people.
(Or at least, that was the conclusion I came to, after complaining
about same, and investigating, last year.)

Quiddity


On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 3:58 PM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
> What's the point of using a phonetic alphabet that 95% of our
> readership can't interpret? If the idea is to help readers understand
> how a word is pronounced in English, it should actually be useful to
> the majority of readers and not largely useless but academically
> perfect.
>
> Nathan

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Re: IPA issues

Emily Monroe
In reply to this post by stevertigo-2
Of course, this requires people actually learn the IPA. This is more  
difficult for some than others; neuroatypicalities can make it harder  
or easier, and polyglots can probably learn a lot easier. I don't know  
if it translates well into braille. I wish I did.

I'm concerned that those who can or do have a lot of difficulty  
learning the IPA will be "left out" if we end up depending on this.

Emily
On Apr 21, 2010, at 7:04 PM, stevertigo wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 3:58 PM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> What's the point of using a phonetic alphabet that 95% of our
>> readership can't interpret? If the idea is to help readers understand
>> how a word is pronounced in English, it should actually be useful to
>> the majority of readers and not largely useless but academically
>> perfect.
>
> On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 4:14 PM, Emily Monroe <[hidden email]>  
> wrote:
>> I'd have to agree with you, Nathan. I can't read IPA to save my life!
>
> The idea behind IPA is, that there be a single standard alphabet that
> everyone can use which can help us all communicate a bit better when
> speaking a new language or just using a term from another language.
> It's basic and encyclopedic information and should be included.
> Consider a word we've all seen recently: Eyjafjallajökull, which
> apparently just means "island-mountain glacier" (I suggest that
> "Eyja-fjalla glacier" is the sensible English translation). It's not
> necessary that anyone pronounce it exactly as [ˈɛɪjaˌfjatla
> ˌjœːkʏtl̥],
> still its basic information about the name itself.  A name is a key
> into a concept, and a foreign name is a key into a foreign concept. We
> don't omit basic information just because it gives us too much of a
> window into strange and foreign ways of conceptualization that we just
> don't understand.
>
> The issue of accessibility is valid, but I can answer that by
> understating IPA's usability as flexible, ranging from the basic to
> the expert. Most people I imagine start with learning few of the IPA
> vowels, and the consonants are mostly intuitive. Being flexible means
> that its also quite forgiving, and that anyone who makes an honest
> attempt at writing in IPA is making a contribution, even if they are
> politely corrected here and there by someone a bit more.. 1337.
>
> I agree that IPA can seem a bit cumbersome and even ambiguous when
> used at extreme detail (ie. it gets into reproducing whole
> foreign-language phonologies at a single-word level, which isn't
> always useful nor necessary). At least I can understand why it's not
> universally accepted and used on our foreign encyclopedias, namely
> that its still a bit esoteric enough for us on en. Nevertheless its,
> again, encyclopedic and necessary.
>
> -Stevertigo
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l


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Re: [Foundation-l] IPA issues

Gregory Maxwell
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 6:58 PM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
> What's the point of using a phonetic alphabet that 95% of our
> readership can't interpret? If the idea is to help readers understand
> how a word is pronounced in English, it should actually be useful to
> the majority of readers and not largely useless but academically
> perfect.

We ought to have a speech synthesizer that extension that provides
clickable audio playback for marked up IPA.

IPA is sufficient for a machine pronounceation. I looked into creating
one of these but none of the FOSS synthesizers I could find could take
IPA for their phonetic input. Festival supports a standard input
format which has IPA as a supported mode, but festival lacked support
for the IPA part.

In any case, this seems to be clearly possible it's just a question of
development resources. I think the prospect of a nice machine
synthesizer in the future (with the ability to provide real
recordings, of course) is probably sufficient justification for
continuing to use IPA all by itself.

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Re: IPA issues

Nathan Awrich
In reply to this post by stevertigo-2
On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 8:04 PM, stevertigo <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The idea behind IPA is, that there be a single standard alphabet that
> everyone can use which can help us all communicate a bit better when
> speaking a new language or just using a term from another language.
> It's basic and encyclopedic information and should be included.
> Consider a word we've all seen recently: Eyjafjallajökull, which
> apparently just means "island-mountain glacier" (I suggest that
> "Eyja-fjalla glacier" is the sensible English translation). It's not
> necessary that anyone pronounce it exactly as [ˈɛɪjaˌfjatlaˌjœːkʏtl̥],
> still its basic information about the name itself.  A name is a key
> into a concept, and a foreign name is a key into a foreign concept. We
> don't omit basic information just because it gives us too much of a
> window into strange and foreign ways of conceptualization that we just
> don't understand.

I have a hard time understanding this claim that using IPA improves
communication. Surely a device intended to facilitate communication
should make accessibility its first priority? I suppose forcing all
the various projects to use English might make it easier for the
people who understand English to read them all; but as it happens,
there are quite a few people who don't read English comfortably and
we've sacrificed rigid uniformity for actual usefulness. Is it too
much to ask that pronunciation guides actually help normal readers
pronounce words? Or is some vague notion of "key into concept" (but
only for the 'l33t' few) more important?

As quiddity notes, and most everyone is probably already aware, this
is an old argument. For anyone who hasn't heard it before, it should
now be clear that Steve's demand for uniformity doesn't have universal
support.

Nathan

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Re: [Foundation-l] IPA issues

stevertigo-2
In reply to this post by Gregory Maxwell
Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:

> We ought to have a speech synthesizer that extension that provides
> clickable audio playback for marked up IPA.

Great idea. Is there still some hangup about needing to transcribe IPA
to ASCII, or can these things be done in UTF-8 now?

-Stevertigo

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Re: IPA issues

stevertigo-2
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I have a hard time understanding this claim that using IPA improves
> communication. Surely a device intended to facilitate communication
> should make accessibility its first priority?

OK, its not about "communication" per se, its just a transcription
system for phonetics, that we chose a few years ago to use for
pronunciation keys.

> I suppose forcing all the various projects to use English might make it easier for the
> people who understand English to read them all; but as it
> happens,
> there are quite a few people who don't read English comfortably and
> we've sacrificed rigid uniformity for actual usefulness.

Straw man. Your confusing English with "Roman alphabet" - the latter
of which is just about universal at this point. The rest of your
argument sort of got lost.. I don't understand what you are saying,
except that you are misrepresenting my argument as one about
"universality."

Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I think the prospect of a nice machine
> synthesizer in the future (with the ability to provide real
> recordings, of course) is probably sufficient justification for
> continuing to use IPA all by itself.

Ah. The minimalist argument. :)

-Stevertigo

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Re: IPA issues

Bugzilla from joseph.2008@reagle.org
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
On Wednesday 21 April 2010, Nathan wrote:
> What's the point of using a phonetic alphabet that 95% of our
> readership can't interpret?

I've never been able to. I always hoped that the theory was that from the IPA, you could translate it into some scheme that would make sense in different vernaculars, but I never found the IPA -> English pronunciation link.

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Re: [Foundation-l] IPA issues

Emily Monroe
In reply to this post by stevertigo-2
How is this going to work out? Will it slow down loading for a lot of  
people? Is there any other reason somebody can think of why there  
isn't more devices that support IPA?

Emily
On Apr 21, 2010, at 7:48 PM, stevertigo wrote:

> Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> We ought to have a speech synthesizer that extension that provides
>> clickable audio playback for marked up IPA.
>
> Great idea. Is there still some hangup about needing to transcribe IPA
> to ASCII, or can these things be done in UTF-8 now?
>
> -Stevertigo
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
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Re: [Foundation-l] IPA issues

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
It is much easier to have sound files that have you listen to it. I had
added soundfiles to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer among others on the English WP.. I
had an Italian friend do Silvio Berluscone

For whatever reason they were removed.. Dutch can be hard language to
pronounce .. and as has been said, IPA is not universally understood.
Thanks.
     GerardM

On 22 April 2010 09:11, J Alexandr Ledbury-Romanov <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> Enabling a pop-up (for example) for the IPA prononciation would be a big
> plus as far as I am concerned.
> I've never quite got my head around it, but can see its usefulness. This is
> particularly useful when the word is of non-English extraction: I find it
> an
> added benefit to see the word in its original form (spelling and script),
> notably when there is a local version of the word which has completely
> transformed the native version (e.g. Londres from London, Maroc / Morocco
> from المغرب‎).
>
> Alexandr Dmitri
>
>
>
>
>
> 2010/4/22 Keegan Peterzell <[hidden email]>
>
> > On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 6:19 PM, Gerard Meijssen
> > <[hidden email]>wrote:
> >
> > > Hoi,
> > > A lot of so called IPA out there is created by Americans for Americans
> > and
> > > expect that certain sounds can be expressed by the ordinary Latin
> > > characters. The consequence is that such polution makes the whole of
> IPA
> > > hard to use.
> > >
> > > Consequently I argue that in order to save the usefulness of IPA at all
> > we
> > > HAVE to be academically correct in how it is expressed.
> > > Thanks,
> > >     GerardM
> >
> >
> > I disagree to an extent of the first part of you post, and agree with the
> > second part.  I actually answered an email about this situation, the
> ticket
> > can be found here if you have access <
> >
> >
> https://ticket.wikimedia.org/otrs/index.pl?Action=AgentTicketZoom&TicketID=4739987&ArticleID=5383349&ZoomExpand=0#5383349
> > >
> >
> > The correspondent wasn't very, how shall I say, nice in the initial email
> > or
> > the reply to my response, but here's what I wrote:
> >
> >
> > "The Wikimedia Foundation projects, which include the English Wikipedia,
> > are
> > aimed
> > at and have a broad global appeal.  In fact, many of our contributors are
> > not
> > native speakers of English but use the project as a way to enhance their
> > knowledge
> > of English and providing translations.  We actively encourage that.
> >
> > The "gobbledygook" is the International Phonetic Alphabet, contrived and
> > maintained by an international collection of linguists over a hundred
> years
> > ago as
> > a method, based on Latin characters, to phonetically pronounce even
> > unfamiliar
> > languages.  This method of adoption across our projects allow people from
> > around
> > the globe to understand a pronunciation no matter their language.
> >
> > We are sorry that this is inconvenient for you and diminishes your
> interest
> > in
> > Wikipedia.  We do hope that you can learn the IPA from our language
> guides
> > available- it's actually pretty quick to catch on to and is a common
> sense
> > approach to phonetics.
> >
> > You can find more information about the IPA here
> > <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International Phonetic Alphabet> which
> > includes
> > external links to educational tools in learning the system!
> >
> > Again, we do appreciate your concerns about the usability of Wikipedia."
> > --
> > ~Keegan
> >
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Keegan
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
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Re: [Foundation-l] IPA issues

quiddity-2
Sometimes even a sound file doesn't help some of us.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fb/Eyjafjallaj%C3%B6kull-bjarmason.ogg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyjafjallaj%C3%B6kull
which still makes me smile every time I hear it.

ipa+sound file, is probably the most practical&ideal end goal. unless
we had a preference-gadget to provide the alternative pronunciation
guides..


[or something like that wikidata-semantic-database project, that was
going to further-revolutionize our Wiktionary and Wikipedia projects,
by making data like this extractable and embeddable. Whatever happened
to that? Probably a different thread...]
Quiddity



On Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 12:17 AM, Gerard Meijssen
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hoi,
> It is much easier to have sound files that have you listen to it. I had
> added soundfiles to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer among others on the English WP.. I
> had an Italian friend do Silvio Berluscone
>
> For whatever reason they were removed.. Dutch can be hard language to
> pronounce .. and as has been said, IPA is not universally understood.
> Thanks.
>     GerardM

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Re: IPA issues

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by stevertigo-2
stevertigo wrote:

> Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> I think the prospect of a nice machine
>> synthesizer in the future (with the ability to provide real
>> recordings, of course) is probably sufficient justification for
>> continuing to use IPA all by itself.
>>    
>
> Ah. The minimalist argument. :)
>  
Question. I looked at [[International Phonetic Alphabet]], and while it
is clear that IPA is an "international standard", I don't think the
matter is really discussed there. I'm seeing arguments like "too
international" (not so handy for English readers) and "not international
enough" (too Anglo-centric). I'm quite sympathetic to the idea that
there should be more IPA on the various Wikipedias and other projects.
But I don't feel the foundations for that discussion have been laid. If
for the example the WMF handed down some view on IPA, would it be
endorsing a "standard international standard" like the SI system, or a
"standard" such as some version of "imperial" units? All this affects
attitudes, and the discussion on automation too.

Charles


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Re: IPA issues

stevertigo-2
Charles Matthews <[hidden email]> wrote:

>I'm seeing arguments like "too international" (not so handy for
> English readers) and "not  international enough" (too Anglo-centric).

Hm. People, myself included, don't understand it too well in a couple
of ways: "Too international" to me translates to IPA was meant to be a
tool for understanding foreign phonologies and not just word
pronunciations, so its usage in that area might be excessive. "Not
international enough" to me is an issue with IPA being largely
Roman-based with highly specialistic-looking glyphs that were
conceived of over a hundred years ago by mostly French and English
linguists. I agree with both criticisms.

> I'm quite sympathetic to the idea that there should be more IPA on
> the various Wikipedias and other projects. But I don't feel the
> foundations for that discussion have been laid. If for the
> example the WMF handed down some view on IPA, would it be >endorsing  a "standard international standard" like the SI
> system, or a "standard" such as some version of "imperial" > >units? All this affects
> attitudes, and the discussion on automation too.

We can consider IPA's usage on en.wiki as widespread enough to call a
"foundation," keeping in mind that its a linguistics tool that we
turned into something that many of us consider commonplace. I remember
when some first discussed using IPA back in 2003-2004. Linguists were
highly in support of it, and the word of linguists was enough for our
fearless leader and everyone else. Those are the foundations.

What caused me to write here about this was this alternate system
being promoted on en, which to me is disruptive to the professional
quality of our articles. IPA is specialized, true, but it should not
be abandoned as some appear to suggest. We would be better off looking
at ways to reform it in ways that make it more accessible. As I see
it, simply offering tips on the basics of learning IPA - like learning
the vowels first - sufficiently answers most critics.

-Steve

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Re: IPA issues

stevertigo-2
In reply to this post by Bugzilla from joseph.2008@reagle.org
Joseph Reagle <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I've never been able to. I always hoped that the theory was that > from the IPA, you could translate it into some scheme that
> would make sense in different vernaculars, but I never found
> the IPA -> English pronunciation link.

Well let's face it that most of linguistics looks esoteric to
monoglots and overcomplicated by specialized terminology.

English vowels are morphophonetic (c*ake, w*alk, c*at) wheras Latin
ones are not (torta*, ca*mina*r, ga*to), and that seems to constitute
the bulk of complexity regarding pronunciation of English in IPA.

For IPA beginners, I recommend just learning the *vowels - you can get
away with using English consonants anyway and vowel differences fall
along the lines of English vs. Latin's alphaphonetic pronunciations.

For expediency's sake, I'll agree that the rest is of IPA is mostly Chinese.

-Steve

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