Pronunciation Characters

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Philip Hudson
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Pronunciation Characters

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:24 pm

There are many character sets that are designed to indicate the exact pronunciation of words. IPA is touted by many, but it tries to serve all languages and thus serves none. Asians have a pronunciation set assigned to English writing. They also have one assigned to Asian spellings using Roman letters. Languages other than English need special sounds we do not use.

The symbols in traditional dictionaries use markings over vowels and represent consonants with standard alphabet letters. That is the way I learned to pronounce, as most of us probably did. These vowel symbols are hard to keyboard. I keep a table from which I cut and paste when I must use them.

I suppose I am slow to learn, but who would have guessed that clicking on a pronounced word in a Good Word post gives the Good Doctor’s set of pronunciation symbols. Most of them are letters from the alphabet but not all. I have spent some time studying them and they do a good job, as one would expect from the source. I just wonder why no one told me about it when I have asked about it several times. If you were also looking, you have found it.

I still want a complete set of symbols that are all from the twenty six letters of the alphabet, minus a few unneeded ones like c, q and perhaps w. For example, the Good Doctor uses "ah" for the “a” in father. I have been working on such a set for a long time but I am never satisfied. I keep changing it.

In the final analysis, the task may be fruitless. One can only apply symbols to words. Words are not all pronounced alike by everyone. I would be loath to eliminate variations in speech for the sake of a standard set of symbols. People wouldn't use them anyway.
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Perry Lassiter
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Re: Pronunciation Characters

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:48 pm

I generally agree, but the pronunciation is first for scholars. A modified set should be used for children's dictionaries. To me the location of the accent is often most important, since it can change a lot. Compare the American station-ae'ry to British stae'tionry. As you point out, I'm not sure my typing there is copacetic.

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Re: Pronunciation Characters

Postby Slava » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:15 pm

In many languages the placement of the stress can not only change, but changes the entire meaning of a word.

Russian, for example has many such. "Uzhe" and "uZHE" are spelled the same. The former means "narrower," the latter, "already."

Here is one suggestion for a standardized pronunciation guide.
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