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Re: X-Sampa/IPA

From:Peter Clark <pc451@...>
Date:Sunday, March 24, 2002, 20:13
Hash: SHA1

On Sunday 24 March 2002 01:08 pm, Neo wrote:
> Could anyone tell me what X-Sampa and IPA is? I mean I KNOW what > it IS, but like could someone tell me how to use it or learn them? Links > appreciated and so is personal help :) Expect to hear more questions > from me lol.
<aside> Hmm...David (Durand), can you set up the mailing list so that when new subscribers sign on, they get a brief little FAQ as well? This would be really handy, seeing as this is the second time in a week that this question has come up. I would be willing to write it, if other people would tell me what should be in it. </aside> First, the IPA. The IPA is the International Phonetic Alphabet. It is a way to represent sounds without resorting to nasty digraphs (like English "th", which really represents two sounds that are found in "think" and "then") or obtuse descriptions ("The Russian 'bI' is like the "i" in "kill" but the middle and back part of the tongue are higher and farther back.") The IPA is not perfect, but it's the best thing we got, and once you learn it (and you _will_ learn it if you stay on the list long enough) you won't accept anything less. The "home page" for the IPA is (it might be down at the moment, I was unable to reach it). However, you'll find that there are a lot of signs that you have no clue about, and want to learn their pronunciation. For that, go to, which has mp3 files of the sounds. Just click on the letter you want to hear. Ok. So that's the IPA. Now, as you will no doubt notice, there are a lot of symbols that can't be represented with conventional 7-bit ASCII. That's where X-SAMPA comes in. Its web page is and basically requires you to know the IPA. Be aware that there are actually several different schemes for 7-bit IPA, which is documented at, which helpfully includes the IPA character in question. For instance, the biggest variance you will see on the list is using /&/ instead of /{/ for the ash-ligature (the vowel found in "cat"). This is fine, since it is a common occurence. If you do use a character outside of its normal understanding in X-SAMPA, however, it is a good idea to say so, in order to avoid confusion. Hope that gets you started, :Peter -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (GNU/Linux) Comment: For info see iD8DBQE8njMeevbW9GDdlVARAg1lAKCG76ucnUtsumAeWXeURyQFVWrbjgCbBLXE Cuc+z5J0zBlAVBH6KIlX+2Y= =VRhM -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----