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UlvenWednesday 25th of May 2005 08:57:51 PM
IPA - International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabet which has a symbol for all (as much as is possible) the sounds of the world's languages. If one was to learn this alphabet with audio tape and book, they could pronounce any word in any language's dictionary which includes a phonetic for the word. Instead of the inefficient romanized transliteration (if one had IPA on their keyboard), all languages could have this IPA phonetics next to the words and phrases at Phrasebase, and audio wouldn't be neccessary. Though, audio will always be preferable. African languauges, European, Asian etc are all covered. I'm not sure if this alphabet has covered the click sounds in some unusual languages, but all the languages you've heard of will be covered. Knowing this alphabet would be invaluable to anyone planning on delving into more than a couple of languages.
I was actually working on such an alphabet myself until I discovered that one already existed. Until I find an audio/book product, I'll have to make do with developing my own code.

Though I've accumulated a good knowledge by now of different language groups and their pronunciations, there was a time where an International Phonetic Alphabet book and tape was a priority. Still now, if I found a descent product, I'd buy it. But, there doesn't seem to be much demand for such items. Not even staff at a specialty language book store knew what I was talking about (though, they were probably not the experts among the staff there). They didn't think such a thing existed.
I'd like to know if there would be any interest in this alphabet besides me. And, if anyone could suggest some products (or websites). It is very useful to not need sound bites, because you can read a dictionary and know precisely how to pronounce a word in a language you've never encountered if you know the IPA.

So, I'd like to hear what other people think of this alphabet. Would you consider it useful? Would you like there to be discuss here for this? What do you know about it already? Have you even heard of it?

If I do find a product, memorize all the sounds, and somehow am able to install IPA onto my keyboard, I'd willingly start the discuss. Though, I'd need help submitting soundbites. Phrasebase's developemnet of listening/spoken education to members would be greatly increased by such a discuss. It'd be another string to Phrasebase's bow, another dimension to its success. A very reliable transliteration device.(Only if people were interested in learning IPA, that is). many people know how to write many languages, but may fall down in their not knowing how to pronounce things due to inefficient romanized phonetics. This would be of great use to people who spoke very little English, too, in their pursuits of other languages.

Thank you.

PsycheWednesday 25th of May 2005 09:24:22 PM
- Hey!

To be honest, I haven`t heard about this alphabet either. But it sounds interesting! I agree that it is necessary to have an audiotape or something. I don`t think the IPA should ever replace the `real` alphabets, but as far as English is the world language, IPA could be the world alphabet. Now I`m totally forgetting that every language pronounce the same wors differently, so please overlook this sentence :p

If I`d learned this alphabet when I was younger, or that the IPA was the first alphabet I knew, I wouldn`t have the same difficulties in pronouncing words in Russian, Arabic and even some words in English as I have today. The backside must be that there will be more letters in this alphabet and that it would demand a bigger keyboard.

I can`t help you further on with this since I don`t know anything about it. Just wanted to say that it is a good idea!
jvz8aWednesday 25th of May 2005 11:14:50 PM
- For those reading this topic who can't imagine how this alphabet looks like, here it is:
UlvenThursday 26th of May 2005 07:47:48 PM
- Wow, haha. Gracias Jvz8a. Esta mucho bien.
As Psyche mentioned, I've no idea how a single keyboard would handle such a thing. Of course this alphabet would be purely for transliterating, so you'd never be speed-typing it, but it would still be alot of work to learn how to type it even if there were a keyboard configuration.
That chart makes me so dizzy. I'd settle for a cassette and the audio. All those definitions plosive, retroflexive, suprasegmentals etc. would be an incredible challenge to memorize and put names to sounds. But, I still want to seek out an audio tape and script. Like Psyche said, it would cut down alot of time in the end if you're learning more than a couple of languages, and your accuracy would be amazing. I must track a product down.
jvz8aFriday 27th of May 2005 01:54:17 PM
- Yes, all that terminology is difficult to understand.
[url=]Here[/url] you can see the same chart, but this time with the sounds the symbols represent. A pdf version is available [url=]here[/url]