Appendix talk:English pronunciation

From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This page is for the pronunciation key, but how do we go about it with different accents, e.g. American, English, Australian[edit]

"This page is for the pronunciation key, but how do we go about it with different accents, e.g. American, English, Australian??"

Lots of luck. There's no way to determine a correct pronunciation, only what someone thinks is a correct pronunciation. Received pronunciation, which is often held as the standard, represents only a small percentage of native English speakers. The vast majority don't talk that way.

On another subject, I don't see much point to SAMPA, which is simply a corruption of the IPA. With all the IPA-capable fonts that are available today (which can be installed rather easily even on older machines), I can't imagine someone being too lazy to install an IPA font, and yet going to the considerable trouble to learn SAMPA. SAMPA is even more difficult to learn than IPA. It's the worst of all worlds. It contains a bunch of strange symbols that are even less intuitive than the symbols of IPA. The only advantage seems to be that it allows people to use out-of-date software.

If somebody wanted an alternative to IPA, some kind of respelling, which dictionaries have used for ages, would be a lot more useful, especially to native English speakers like myself. (and so begins my campaign to rid Wiktionary of SAMPA :-)) Bluelion 04:13 Jul 7, 2003 (UTC)

I don't think the merit of IPA is to be able to reproduce all the possible accents of English. If somebody reading the wiktionary can get an idea of how to pronounce those English words in any one of the accents and be understood, then it has been worth it to add it, if you ask me. I´m not going to add a placeholder for SAMPA anymore. I don't see the sense of it anymore either. I'm trying to add IPA to the entries I touch, but honestly I don't know whether I'm transcribing them the UK, US, AU, or CA way. I guess it is closest to US pronunciation. Feel free to change them if you see problems with them.Polyglot 07:42 Jul 7, 2003 (UTC)

The SAMPA is useful if you're on a computer where you don't have permission to install fonts such as in internet cafes which I for one use extensively. It's also useful for cutting and pasting directly into mailing list and newsgroup postings amongst other email uses where Unicode encodings often get lost.

A much bigger problem is chosing a particular IPA scheme. Almost every dictionary I've looked at uses a different variaton. For US English the situation is worse because I haven't been able to find an American dictionary yet which uses IPA at all! Each American dictionary rolls its own pronunciation scheme as European dictionaries used to do before the introduction of IPA.

Up to now I've been doing both IPA and SAMPA for my articles plus another I've been calling "AHD" simply because I didn't know enough about pronunciation schemes at the time and that was the first time I came across. Today I've been experimenting with a few articles which put all three representations on one line without naming them. First the "old" style, then IPA, then SAMPA. At first I was using my "AHD" fields only for US pronunciation but since discovering older British dictionaries using similar schemes, I've adapted it a little to work with both.

I think we need to standardise our own "old style" and IPA schemes in a way which can show systematic relationships between RP (British) and GenAm (US) with one system. I have seen dictionaries which achieve this quite well. The best is one designed for learners of English who may be aiming at either accent without having to publish two books.

The scheme illustrated on our "Pronunciation Key" page is a nightmare. I have never seen this scheme in any dictionary. It has left out length distinctions which most dictionaries choose to retain. It shows "bear" and "bait" sharing the same vowel! In what dialect does this occur? It uses both /e/e/ and /ɛ/E/ whereas every dictionary I've ever seen chooses one or the other. It shows /o/o/ (monophthongs) for "boat" and "nose" which actually contain diphthongs in both RP and GenAm. It shows both /oʊ/oU/ and /əʊ/@U/ as representing the same phoneme but gives different examples, thus implying those words have different phonemes! It shows poor and cruel as having different phonemes which I tend to agree with (possibly due to my own accent) but have never seen in a dictionary. It shows the vowel of "more" as a diphthong /ɔə/O@/ which in standard pronunciations on either side of the Atlantic is actually the same as the one in "saw" and "caught" here given as /ɔ/O/. It uses the ligature versions of /dʒ/dZ/ and /tʃ/tS/ (ʧ and ʤ) which the IPA has deprecated (though this is surely the most trivial of the problems I'm discussing here). It distinguishes between /l/l/ and /ɫ/5/ which no dictionary I know does, and sensibly since they are allophones. It contains /ɲ/J/ which is not an English phoneme at all but does occur in Spanish for example. It differentiates two types of /r/ - along dialectical grounds which makes even less sense to me than if it had included separate symbols for the two allophones of /r/ in English. It also incorrectly labels the syllabic consonant diacritic as being the syllable separation mark.


What we really need is a table which shows one phoneme on the left side (in /slashes/) and each allophone or dialectical variant on the right side (in [square brackets]).

Another page illustrating the various systems used by the most popular dictionaries and relating them to our system would be very useful and I'll start work on it soon. Now where should such articles go in Wiktionary? Hippietrail 11:39, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Hi Hippietrail,
I understand you have issues with the phonetic transcriptions. Please keep in mind that we don't only need phonetic transcriptions for English and all its accents. What I am most interested in is the transcriptions for other languages, so we certainly need to retain a way to transcribe sounds that don't occur in English.
The reason why it probably has become a mess is because we don't tend to copy dictionaries. I don't even consult them for phonetic transcriptions. So we used the information we could gather at various locations on the internet and in Wikipedia. That probably explains why we have deprecated symbols in there.
If you see a way to improve the situation, we would all appreciate it, if you want to have a go at it. Please bear in mind we also want to transcribe the phonetics of other languages.
The page you want to create could go into an appendix. Did you have a look at this page: Wiktionary_Appendix:IPA_Examples? I expanded that because it seems more useful to me. (I was trying to learn IPA with it) Polyglot 12:07, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I suggest include machine parsed pronunciations in the definitions. You can follow the example. No files stored, the server would offer to the user the pronunciation online.

Help with AHD?[edit]

  1. u (en-us) boot, soon, lose u o͞o
  2. u into u o͞o
  3. uː (en-gb) boot, soon, lose u: o͞o
  4. ʊ put, foot U o͞o

From the first table, the above section appears. Where did those four "o?o" items come from? Shouldn't they all be "ōō"? Or is that syntax that recently added/changed? (They are aparently requiring a subscription to access pronunciations now.) --Connel MacKenzie 05:33, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

#1, #2, #3 should all be o͞o, which doesn't render for me, but ought to look much like ōō except with one long macron instead of two short ones. #4 should be o͝o, which also doesn't render, but ought to look like ŏ but with one long breve extending over two o's.
Oh, OK. That satisfies my curiosity, but I guess the rendering problem will remain for some time. --Connel MacKenzie 15:16, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
As a side-note, we shouldn't really call it "AHD" because ours a bit different to the American Heritage Dictionary's scheme. When I first started using this scheme I called it AHD in the belief that all American dictionaries used a standard system invented by AHD - this turned out to be wrong. I would prefer to call it something like "American dictionary style" but that's way too much of a mouthful ): — Hippietrail 13:19, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Is it time to pick a proper term for this then? "ADS" might work. "ADPS" American dict. pronunciation scheme? --Connel MacKenzie 15:16, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I think it probably is time. I should point out that while I was inspired by American dictionaries, it doesn't show just American pronunciation any more, particularly in the ways it handles optional rhoticity and unstressed final -i, but also the optional "y" sound before many "u" sounds. People may get the idea it's used just for American pronunciations if we base a name on that. I'm pretty sure that British and other dictionaries all used similar(ish) schemes before IPA was widely adopted in Europe and Commonwealth countries. Maybe "Pre-IPA", "Non-IPA", "Old Style"? It would nice to hear some other opinions.
Another issue I have is with introducing our own local jargon to Wiktionary. IPA and AHD are already pretty well known initialisms and so far we haven't invented any of our own. We would probably need some kind of glossary somewhere to explain such things. — Hippietrail 00:08, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

All kinds of problems[edit]

I've just got rid of the inappropriate "AHD" labels which were a legacy of my own poor understanding of how American Dictionaries do pronunciation guides. But there's a lot more wrong with this table.

Many dictionaries use variations other than in this table. At the same time there are other variations in this table which I do not know from dictionaries. If we're setting a standard set for people to use, we need to cull a bunch of symbols. If we're trying to describe what symbols are actually used so readers can interpret them, we need to include the missing symbols.

  • bed, bet → many dictionaries use /e/,/e/ rather than /ɛ/,/E/
  • fur, bird (US) → some dictionaries use /əːr/,/3:r/ rather than /ɝ/
    I'm pretty sure IPA /ɝ/ maps to SAMPA /3`/ and SAMPA /3/ maps to /ə/
  • boat, nose → I've never seen a dictionary which uses /oʊ/,/oU/.Actually I have seen /oʊ/,/oU/ as well as /o/,/o/ (and possibly /oː/,/o:/).
    Why is this symbol in the "Vowels" section and the "Diphthongs" section?
  • /tS/ and /dZ/ → The IPA ligatures for these symbols, "ʧ" and "ʤ" are deprecated and thus should not be given as primary. They should probably be in brackets.
  • /ɡ/,/g/ → The correct IPA symbol is "ɡ" which only has one variant unlike the usual non-IPA symbol which has two variants depending on the font. We should note this because it's not obvious.
  • /ɫ/,/5/ Isn't used in any dictionary I've seen. It's for narrow transcriptions used by linguists and maybe some advanced grammars.
  • /ɱ/,/F/ I've never seen this in English at all - certainly not in a dictionary!
  • /ɲ/,/J/ Is not an English phoneme. It exists in Spanish and other languages. Maybe some bilinguals might use it in English but nobody else.
  • /r/,/ɹ/,/ɻ/ → What a nightmare! Broad and narrow symbols all mixed up and/or separated at random - and the symbol for the "tap" version used by Americans and Australians between vowels is left out entirely! Some dictionaries may use something other than /r/ but it is by far the most common. In any case, we only need one symbol for English at the phonemic level. If we are describing the symbols a reader might encounter then we need also the missing ones and a much better explanation of what they all mean.
  • /ʍ/,/W/ → This is not British English. There are varieties inside and outside of Britain and America who use it, and who don't use it. I'll link the Wikipedia artice here when I do some more research. Here are a couple but there may be others: w:H-cluster reductions, w:Voiceless labial-velar fricative
  • /x/,/x/ → I need to check whether /χ/ is more appropriate. Only some dictionaries use it so I need to do some research.

Hippietrail 02:47, 30 May 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm now building a collection of IPA schemes used by actual print dictionaries over at User:Hippietrail/IPA/English. We can use that as a reference when deciding what to do here rather than relying on our memories and expectations. None of the big famous dictionaries are there yet and the format is still in flux, but it's a start. — Hippietrail 10:08, 31 May 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with almost all of Hippietrail's comments, with a couple of exceptions listed below. A lot of my take on the best way of doing IPA on Wiktionary is purely cosmetic -- i.e., I have yet to use a computer (including my own personal mean lean IPA-slinging machine) where the higher-numbered IPA characters on Wiktionary don't come out as butt-ugly and often completely illegible. My arguments to avoid many of them don't reflect the way I personally prefer to transcribe (and not even the way I teach my students to).
  • on /e/ for the e of bed: yeah, some use it. Others use /e/ for the ay of day. Using /ɛ/ and /eɪ/ is unambiguous.
  • /g/ vs. /ɡ/. Actually the IPA gave up on this battle (in the 1990s, I think). Either is now OK. I personally prefer the specific guaranteed IPA /ɡ/. But in this case, my personal preferences would lead to butt-ugliness and illegibility.
  • ditto Hippietrail on [l̴], [ɱ], [ɳ]
  • mostly ditto Hippietrail on the Rs. We should have only one one. Much as I hate it, right-side-up /r/ is [Keffy grits his teeth] the least ugly here and the most likely to actually get used. I would even make the same arguments [gnashes his teeth wildly] for /ər/ over the more theoretically sensible /ɜ˞/, /ə˞/, or /ɹ̩/.
Keffy 00:26, 21 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What would be cool is a tag that would change SAMPA into IPA much like the (much crazier) <math> tag at Wikipedia. For instance, the code
SAMPA: /"r@Ubət/, /"r@U%bQt/
IPA: <sampa>en:/"r@Ubət/</sampa>, <sampa>en:/"r@U%bQt/</sampa>
is the SAMPA for robot, both U.K. and U.S., followed by the IPA as an image. Then there wouldn't be problems with people having to install certain fonts to see the characters, and this debate about which symbols to use, should consensus change, could be resolved immediately.
Alternatively, an X-SAMPA tag would fix the font problem, but wouldn't be as flexible on the other issues. Davilla 12:57, 21 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In an ideal world we would have support from the Wiki developers for some much-needed features that apply to dictionaries but not encyclopedias. Then we could have a user setting for which was preferred, an extension which converted IPA into a .png, etc. At the moment it is possible to let the user choose by creating templates that work with CSS and Javascript but there is no way to provide a setting meaning the user would have to choose on each and every page )-: The problems with images is you can't cut and paste them as text, the problem with text is that fonts are needed.
Another solution is for us to find a free font with IPA, prominently link to it and recommend users to install it, and put it in our IPA templates. A version of this solution is to use dynamic fonts but I believe they only work on Microsoft browsers - I don't know a lot about them. — Hippietrail 17:16, 22 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Missing ô[edit]

I can't find the ô used in the pronunciation of 'door' in the English Pronunciation key. Could perhaps someone with a better understanding of these matters add it if it should be there?

Thanks! Erl 06:50, 3 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's there now Ishwar 04:25, 15 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

enPR transcription for [ʊə][edit]

I have been using [o͝ə], being as [o͝o] is the equivalent of [ʊ] and [ə] the equivalent of [ə]; however, this is less than ideal. Does anyone else have any suggestions as to which character we ought to use? † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 12:11, 10 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can you give an example of a word with this sound? (And keep in mind that enPR is intended to be transdialectic, such that enPR renditions of US and UK pronunciations should normally be the same.) —RuakhTALK 14:56, 10 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See cruel, wherefor both the UK and US pronunciations would retain the [ʊə] diphthong. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 23:24, 10 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is wrong. That diphthong is not in the word cruel. cruel starts with the tense vowel [u] (like in the word shoe. RP has the diphthong while r-ful American dialects have [ʊr] = [o͝or]. Ishwar 04:24, 15 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Italics can be inaccessible[edit]

Using italics to differentiate th and th (for /θ/ and /ð/) may be an accessibility problem.

The distinction is irretrievably lost if the text is saved or copy-pasted as plain text (in any charset, including Unicode and ascii). It may be lost in text-only web browsers, mobile browsers, or other alternative devices, possibly including various assistive devices used by the handicapped.

The use of italics may be further problematic because wiki italics generated from dual apostrophes are rendered as an HTML <i> element, which is deprecated in some versions of HTML, and absent in strict XHTML. They may disappear or be transformed unpredictably if the data is moved into some systems which retain format.

We might consider borrowing a representation from another system than AHD. There are about several shown at w:Pronunciation respelling for English#Traditional respelling systems, including ð th̸ t̷h th: dh which require no formatting, and TH th [th] which have underscores.

It's possible that KH for the "ch" in "loch" has similar problems, but at least it is differentiated by capitalization, and set off in a <sup> element which is not deprecated (the nested <small> is deprecated). —Michael Z. 18:12, 27 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The <i> element exists in Strict XHTML 1.0 (see at least. But, point taken. I think "dh" sounds good, personally. —RuakhTALK 23:14, 27 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also think that dh is best. Mostly because it is easy to type. However, it is not a common symbolization, so perhaps there is some objection there. Definitely the italics is not preferred for the obvious fact that it is a stylistic modification of the font and not a difference in symbolization as far as the assignment of Unicode glyphs is concerned. Ishwar 04:20, 15 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've seen "dh" used in a few places, but I think I've seen "TH" more often. --EncycloPetey 01:06, 17 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

nasal vowels[edit]

These are necessary for Canadian English. IPA examples from the CanOD:

The simplest representation might be n in brackets – brāyô(n), kănădyă(n) frä(n)glā. Superscript n works nicely, but would get lost in a text-only copy – brāyôn, kănădyăn fränglā – unless we used the Unicode version – brāyôⁿ, kănădyăⁿ fräⁿglā. Michael Z. 2009-01-17 00:55 z

Using a parenthetical (n) may not be a good idea. A parenthetical symbol is usually regarded as optional for the pronunciaiton. I recommend adopting Webster's method, which is to italicize the n, which would still show up in a text-only copy. --EncycloPetey 00:57, 17 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or. hmm... italics seem to be a point of debate in the above section. Did we decide they were a genuine problem? It is possible to use the floating tilde, as: kănădyă~ isn't it? --EncycloPetey 01:01, 17 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, right about brackets. The floating tilde works, but it looks like something from ASCII-only Sampa, and out of place in a scheme emulating the typographic standards of dictionaries.
Italics aren't unacceptable, but using them means that pronunciations may or may not survive reduction to text-only, or being copy-pasted, depending on the software. And after such an operation the failure wouldn't be easily detectable, so the results may be misleading. I'd much rather see this implemented in Unicode text.
Unicode does include a selection of superscript and subscript letters, allowing kănădyăⁿ (used by MWCD), kănădyăᴺ, or we can use capital N which will survive textifying, with the addition of style to make it look better—small capital N is used by several dictionaries, including AHD: kănădyăN, kănădyăN, or kănădyăN (the last form looks best, but does MSIE support the CSS?).
By the way, it's not just Canadian English which requires this; cf. lingerieMichael Z. 2009-01-20 17:37 z


If /ŋ/ as in singer is represented by 〈ng〉, then how do we represent the more clearly pronounced /ɡ/ in longer? Michael Z. 2009-01-17 01:00 z

I would use enPR: longˑgər. --EncycloPetey 01:03, 17 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That makes sense—I can't think of any situation where this doesn't fall on a syllable break. Come to think of it, just “lônggər” would work. Michael Z. 2009-01-20 16:42 z
The vowel is actually lŏnggər. kwami 11:16, 29 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not among Americans who distinguish cot and caught. They have [ɔ], not [ɑ], before [ŋ] in almost all native English words like long, strong, wrong, etc. These words belong to Wells's CLOTH lexical set of words that have the THOUGHT vowel in (cot-caught-distinguishing) General American but the LOT vowel in RP. —Angr 12:11, 31 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mary (e) Marry (æ) Merry (ɛ) Murray (ə)[edit]

While many American dialects conflate the vowels in Mary Marry and Merry, not all do. My own Delaware Valley dialect distinguishes Marry (lax æ) and Mary (tense e) from Merry, but then, unlike Western dialects, rhymes Merry with Furry (ə) and Murray (ə). In rhotic dialects in New York City all four rhotic vowels are quite distinct, and the Merry vowel (ɛ) is the lax vowel of bed while the vowel of Mary (e) is tense. Given that I rhyme Merry and Murray (ər) I also rhyme Ferry with Bury - and the laughter that errupted when I spoke of the "Staten Island Furry" instead of the Staten Island Feh-rry" (which I had to learn to pronounce) makes me quite aware of the distinctiveness of these vowels and their disticness from the tense /e/ of Mary. The article does not reflect this four way distinction of mid-front rhotic vowels which is indeed a retention of the primitive situation, not an unconditioned split. The American vowel in hair pear there scary is most certainly a tense and not a lax one for any dialect I know of whether it distinguish two, three or four of the mid-front rhotic vowels. The lax one is found in berry, ferry and merry for those like rhotic New Yorkers who do distinguish it from Marry and Mary and Murray as well. I hope someone who recognizes this and who has a better grasp of the situation in RP can correct the page.

I don't pretend to know anything about US pronunciation, but in the non-rhotic English accent I speak (largely northern but slightly diluted with nearly 20 years of Somerset) and the various accents I hear, the vowels in the words that you mention are as follows:
Mary Hair Pair There Scary Marry Merry Ferry Bury Murray Furry Fury
ɛə a ɛ ʌ ɜː ʊ
so you can see that I also rhyme "ferry" with "bury", but not "merry" and "Murray". What the charts don't recognise is that there is a large difference in some pronunciations between northern and southern English, moor and is a good example, in southern England it is the monosyllabic /mɔː(ɹ)/ while in northern England it's /mu.ə(ɹ)/ (homophonous to mooer (one who moos)). Thryduulf (talk) 09:57, 19 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The comments above are mistaken – all contrasts are on the page. Mary = mâri, marry = mări, merry = mĕri, Murry = mŭri, furry = fûri. The pronunciation key does not show dialects that have merged these sounds.
One thing that is not on the page is the rare New England Short O (as in stone), which is a retention of a Middle English vowel that most dialects in the US and England have merged with another vowel. A similar retention is in East Anglia. The Kenyon & Knott pronunciation guide to American English lists this unmerged phoneme. I doubt any widely used modern American dictionary lists the words. Ishwar 22:23, 16 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
bury is an exception in any case. The way it is written suggests one pronunciation and one pronunciation only, to wit, *´byoory, but that is not used anywhere to my knowledge. As a German I, like apparently all Germans, pronounce it as if it were *burry (rhyming with blurry, not with hurry); some, e. g. the poet of The Chaos, and Thryduulf as he says, perhaps even most (though I wouldn't know) pronounce it like the berry. In any case, as I said, it is an exception.--2001:A61:260D:6E01:FD44:66FE:20FD:AB22 21:23, 21 December 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Isn't there a difference of the pronunciation of z in zoo vs quiz? I thought zoo has a more vocal z whereas quiz is closer to a sharp s. I'm not a native English speaker so not sure if that's correct, please advise. -- 03:04, 28 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There's probably a phonetic difference, at least in some contexts, but phonemically speaking, they're the same sound. —RuakhTALK 04:08, 28 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I imagine you speak a language which, like most Germanic, Slavic, and Turkic languages, doesn't allow voiced sounds like z, v, b, d, g at the ends of words? In English, the z of 'quiz' is essentially identical to the z of 'zoo', or even closer to the z of 'zip' (the vowel has some effect). kwami 07:27, 5 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I'm having a hard time believing RP and GA would pronounce ă the same way. Shouldn't the American sound be wider and tighter than the British? -- Ke4roh 12:37, 13 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

General American pronunciation is definitely IPA(key): /æ/; my understanding is that the Received Pronunciation is also IPA(key): /æ/, but that current posh British usage tends toward IPA(key): /a/. (Your comment seems to treat "RP" and "British" as synonymous, but they're really not.) —RuakhTALK 13:49, 13 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nothing posh about it -- pretty much all southern accents use /a/ now, and /æ/ sounds (unless in American contexts) horribly old-fashioned. Ƿidsiþ 09:31, 9 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Right, but I think that in non-posh accents that's been true for a long time. I was just saying that current posh British usage is different from the "Received Pronunciation", that is, from the posh pronunciation of a hundred years ago. (But I see that w:Received Pronunciation claims that "RP" denotes the current standard, whatever that might be, so I guess my understanding of the term was off?) —RuakhTALK 17:18, 5 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that both accents have moved away from [æ]. Most British people now say [a] (this was always the case outside the south-east). Most Americans say [ɛə] or [ɛ:]. Dictionaries are slow to update. Clive Upton used [a] in the Oxford Dictionary, but this has not caught on across the world of linguistics. 13:44, 31 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think you're misinformed about the American pronunciation. Most Americans use [æ], while some parts of America use [ɛə]/[ɛ:]/[eə]/[ɪə]. --WikiTiki89 14:01, 31 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Poor and tour[edit]

Any reason 'poor', 'tour' and 'tourism' are listed as having the same sound in the IPA vowels list? Chicken7 (talk) 11:52, 2 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See Rhymes:English:-ɔː(ɹ). I hope that's enough explanation. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:38, 2 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I for one have the same vowel in 'poor', 'tour' and 'tourism', and it's not the same vowel as in 'pour' and 'tore'. —Angr 13:47, 2 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ditto. —RuakhTALK 16:52, 2 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
'poor' and 'tour' have different sounds in American English. 'poor' has the same pronunciation as 'pore'. GameKyuubi (talk) 04:24, 20 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For some Americans, yes, but by no means for all. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:18, 20 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And for many, "tour" is the same as "tore". The "oor" sound is unstable in some dialects, and is merging with "ore". kwami (talk) 20:18, 20 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except after palatal and palato-alveolar consonants, where it's merging with "err" (Surely you're jokingI'm not joking, and stop calling me Shirley). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:39, 20 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except in some dialects where even after palatals it is merging with "ore", where "sure" sounds like "shore" and "pure" is pronounced like "pyore". --WikiTiki89 20:46, 20 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In the section for ōr, it gives both oɹ, ɔɹ for General American yet only ɔə(ɹ) for RP. There must be very, very few people left in England who use [ɔə] for FORCE words. John Wells says in this essay that NORTH and FORCE merged in the early 20th century. I can't think of any notable English people who have [ɔə] here. I suggest that [ɔ:] be placed in the box for RP, at least as an alternative. 18:37, 26 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Audio is missing[edit]

Unfortunately the whole article is useless unless somebody adds the audio to it.
Just imagine anybody who doesn't know English.
How is that somebody supposed to learn from this article?!
--Jangirke (talk) 08:40, 13 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How could someone who doesn't know English use this website at all? —Angr 07:08, 14 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm, reading English is fine for me since I'm 15 (2010) and writing it gives no more problem since I'm 17, but my pronunciation is still amazingly shitty (i rrehporrt yu, huehuehue brbr), and I can't really watch English TV shows without subtitles unless it is in very clear BBC English or it is a kids' show targeted at an international audience. The keys aren't a problem for me since I'm fluent in IPA, and Wikipedia helped me a lot to understand English phonology, but many people (perhaps most) won't get it. And as usual for wikiprojects, the English one has the best quality (or at least the best quality you can get in a language easy to master), so I learned English exactly for using them, as I am terrible at using searching engines to acquire knowledge (I think - with strong evidence, such doubt that I share with my parents - I have ADD, Asperger's or both, never told fellow Wikipedians before leaving out suddenly because that is no excuse) and the Portuguese ones many times let me down. 09:02, 21 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Angr, it's generally not that hard to browse around as a foreign speaker. You can easily find this page with only a rudimentary knowledge of written English, and Google Translate and the likes make it even easier. But even without regard to people who don't speak English (well), some audio wouldn't hurt.
Peter Isotalo 06:57, 22 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm also surprised that none of the sounds include an audio file. I know it's hard to do for every possible sound especially as some are controversial but at least do it for standard British English. Providing examples doesn't always help and non-native speakers reading this will only be helped if they know the words given as examples or if the equivalent IPA symbol is also used in their L1.--Xania (talk) 23:09, 12 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree. --BoldLuis (talk) 11:25, 15 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Does SAMPA still belong here?[edit]

Last month's "news for editors" includes

27: SAMPA and X-SAMPA transcriptions are no longer included in pronunciation sections (vote).

So should this page still include SAMPA? If it stays in, at least there should be a prominent note to that effect ... IMHO. IANAn experienced Wiktionarian, so I will not make any such change myself.

I've taken the question to the Beer parlour. --Thnidu (talk) 21:02, 26 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Received Pronunciation[edit]

I'm a little confused by the vowels in city in the pronunciation section. It seems to use the same figure for both in RP, even though they are clearly pronounced differently. Can anyone explain why this is so? cwbr77 (talk) 16:43, 19 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In more old-fashioned RP, the vowels are the same. This is sometimes still represented in phonetic transcription, though ideally that should be secondary to showing the more up to date pronunciation; in other words, we should write IPA(key): /ˈsɪti/, /ˈsɪtɪ/ for the RP pronunciation. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:48, 19 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

dead link[edit]

please erase dead link to kynesthetic wheel in See also section. 16:12, 10 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

PALM vowel[edit]

I've added palm beside father to aid Irish readers. John Wells chose PALM as the lexical set keyword because many Irish English speakers have the THOUGHT vowel in "father". See here. Jnestorius (talk) 18:55, 20 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dead Link[edit]

The link to the IPA 2005 chart PDF has moved to to here

Thanks, fixed. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:25, 7 October 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Vowel of roses[edit]

How should we be representing the unstressed vowel of roses? Wikipedia uses a diaphoneme /ɨ/, which avoids the problem of having to write out separate forms with /ɪ/ for UK, /ə/ for Australia, and both /ɪ/ and /ə/ for the US. The two vowels show considerable variation, because it's not a particularly important distinction to make. See the problems this causes at s' for example, where the respelling and the IPA combined with context-specific forms and alternate pronunciations becomes a real mess. — ˈzɪzɨvə (talk) 17:25, 9 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We have been using both /ɪ/ and /ə/, depending on the preference of whoever is adding or modifying the pronunciation. I know we should probably be more consistent, but that is how it currently is. --WikiTiki89 17:56, 9 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IPA mark for secondary stress[edit]

secondary stress (or sometimes tertiary stress), as in battleship /ˈbætl̩ˌʃɪp/

“Battleship” may not be the best example here as the diacritic to indicate a syllabic consonant, ◌̩, is very similar to the symbol to be demonstrated, which immediately follows it. Can we find a better word to demonstrate the secondary-stress mark? BlaueBlüte (talk) 23:45, 11 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

 Done Changed to "battlefield". Equinox 23:46, 11 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hang on, I see the problem you mean now. Will change again... Equinox 23:47, 11 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

AuE and NZE[edit]

I merged more of the cells for AuE and NZE. Several of the transcriptions are basically spelling the same sound: /æɪ/ and /æe/, /aː/ and /ɐː/, for instance. w:Australian English phonology and w:New Zealand English#Phonology give no indication that these vowels differ. Best to use the same transcription for both so as not to mislead. However, perhaps /ɐː/ could be chosen instead of /aː/.

If someone disagrees, go ahead and revert me and explain here. Presumably there was a rationale behind the previous choice of symbols. — Eru·tuon 23:05, 10 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Phonology vs phonetics for English[edit]

This may have been discussed elsewhere but I can't find it. If that's the case, I will be happy about pointers to that discussion.

In Wiktionary, in the pronunciation of almost all languages except English, we use a phonological representation of the pronunciation, and an appendix page to explain the chosen phonology, and eventual phonetic variations. For instance, the French word faire is transcribed as /fɛʁ/, and the page Appendix:French pronunciation explains that /ʁ/ can be pronounced in quite a few different ways. For English however, we seem to show always multiple pronuncations depending on the region, e.g. boat is shown as both /bəʊt/ and /boʊt/, for Received Pronunciation and General American. My question is: Why don't we use a phonological notation also for English? This would be easily feasible, for instance by following Wikipedia's system ( The system used by Wikipedia is able to represent English pronuncation faithfully as far as I can see, and also explains regional pronunciations. Is there a reason I'm missing, or is this something that is planned eventually? –Jérôme (talk) 12:09, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I support a more unified approach to English pronunciation, but others don't seem to agree. See this discussion from a while ago. --WikiTiki89 15:56, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jérôme: Wikipedia's system isn't phonemic; it's diaphonemic. It ignores the significantly different vowel systems of RP and GA (not to mention all the other dialects listed in the International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects). Each symbol doesn't represent a phoneme, but rather a set of phonemes from each dialect that generally correspond with each other. Since you are making a proposal like this, you should understand that you are proposing a diaphonemic transcription system; Wiktionary already has phonemic transcription systems. It's frustrating that the Wikipedia system misleadingly uses slashes / /, which should mark phonemic transcriptions, when it should be using some other symbols to show that the system is not phonemic. — Eru·tuon 16:43, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't believe that there really is much a difference between diaphonemic and phonemic. Our "phonemic" representations are meant to represent multiple sub-dialects as well. --WikiTiki89 16:53, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would very much prefer the diaphonemic approach and give users a choice in their preferences which rule-derived varieties to show them by default. Alternatively or additionally such rule-derived narrower transcriptions could also be chosen from a list of varieties (a pull-down menu?) on the current page. This approach would also be open to extension to less frequent native as well as non-native accents, especially accents used by second language speakers, but maybe also accents in use by foreign language speakers.
According to Wikipedia English is currently official in 67 countries, 27 non-sovereign entities and it is used word-wide, so it is no longer the language of only what are traditionally perceived as native speakers. —LiliCharlie (talk) 17:33, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Wikitiki89: Is that really true? The symbols labeled US might describe some variation, but not all. They don't describe, for instance, pronunciations where there's a phonemic split between tensed and lax vowels in can (verb) and can (noun), or where there's still a distinction between father and bother. It seems like the US symbols would be more correctly labeled General American. — Eru·tuon 17:59, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Erutuon: Are you talking about the symbols labeled US at Wiktionary or at Wikipedia? The main reason for the diaphonemic transcription at Wikipedia is to save space. Wikipedians wanted to provide pronunciation information for certain entries, but didn't want the lead of an article taken up with separate pronunciations for RP, Scottish, American, Canadian, Australian, and so on, especially since as an encyclopedia their focus is on the meaning of the term (and its history, cultural relevance, and so forth), not on lexical properties of the word itself. They wanted readers to be able to easily skim the pronunciation info and get to the meat of the article. But since Wiktionary is a dictionary, the lexical properties of a term are what we focus on, so it is no distraction for us to list multiple dialects' pronunciations of a word in its pronunciation section. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:03, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Angr: I was referring to the GenAm symbols on this page, which are the basis for most of the pronunciations labeled US in Wiktionary entries. (Oops, they are not labeled as US in the Appendix, which is a good thing.) — Eru·tuon 20:08, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, many entries erroneously use {{a|US}} where they should use {{a|GenAm}}; likewise many entries use {{a|UK}} where they should use {{a|RP}}. I try to correct these wherever I encounter them, but it's like cutting off the Hydra's head: for each one I correct, nine more seem to spring up. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:13, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's because there is no consensus about that. --WikiTiki89 21:06, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Surely there's consensus that {{a}} is only to be used with accents, isn't there? There's no such thing as a single UK or a single US accent. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:00, 14 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree, though I think instead of cutting off the Hydra's head a bot should be used to correct all instances of {{a|US}} and {{a|UK}} (as well as {{a|GB}}). —LiliCharlie (talk) 14:30, 17 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi everyone – I'll try to summarize the current situation, and my opinion. We are showing multiple pronunciations (e.g., GenAm, RP) for each English words, because a single system to represent all pronunciations would be too high-level, i.e., it would be diaphonemic. My question now is: Do we define anywhere the list of phonologies that should be used? For instance, we could define that every word has to have its pronunciation shown in GenAm and RP. In particular, I would then strongly suggest to list the phonemic transcriptions that should be used for all words. On the other hand, a solution would be to adopt a higher-level transcription, in which each word is transcribed only in a single way. I.e., we would use something similar to what Wikipedia uses, but it wouldn't need to be identical. I am of the same opinion as WikiTiki89, that having multiple phonemic transcriptions is counter-productive. That is, in almost all cases the GenAm and RP pronunciations can be derived systematically from a diaphonemic transcription without loss. Now, the main argument agains a diaphonemic transcription seems to be that the individual variants of English differ so much that the diaphonemic transcription would be misleading, if readers would interpret its IPA symbols litterally. That might indeed be a problem, but, in my opinion, only a minor one: It is the same problem that also any phonemic transcription has. I.e., the French transcription we use at the moment can be equally misleading, in that /ʁ/ may suggest a specific pronunciation of that phoneme. (On Wikipedia, I like a lot that you can hover the mouse pointer over a symbol and it shows an explanation such as "/m/ as in 'mouse'".) My suggestion for Wiktionary would thus be: Settle on a diaphonemic system (similar to the Wikipedia one or not), and additionally show GenAm and RP pronunciation if wanted. If editors add only a single pronunciation, I would however recommend that they write a diaphonemic one. BTW, I don't think "people have it easier to write down their own variant of English" is a strong argument; it would only be if people had an intuitive idea of the purely phonetic values of IPA symbols, but most people writing down the pronunciation of English words (native or not) will be looking up the correct symbols in the table of this page anyway, so the correspondance or not to the "pure" IPA value is moot–we should document on this page the main diaphonemic system used.–Jérôme (talk) 13:58, 17 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One more thing: As Wikitiki89 and LiliCharlie (and myself) favoor a diaphonemic system, there is still one detail in Erutuon's argument that is important: Some dialects of English make a distinction between phonemes that is not made in most others, such as the can/can example. We may solve this problem in two ways: (1) Use a diaphonemic system that includes such variations, or (2) Don't include these variations in the main diaphonemic system, but show them in additional dialectal pronunciations. In think (1) would interfere too much in most cases, and would recommend (2), at least for the given example. In general however, I think individual distinctions should be discussed. In any case, the diaphonemic system chosen should be given on this page, and it will make clear which distinctions are made and which not.–Jérôme (talk) 14:06, 17 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ū for /juː/[edit]

The sound /juː/ is currently transcribed as the enPR:yōō. But this sound is commonly known as the long version of the u vowel; in addition, the dialectal variations of the "sole" ōō (RP:/uː/, GenAm:/u/, AuE:/ʉː/, WaE:/uː/) are distributed slightly independently of the dialectal reproduction of the "composed" yōō (RP:/ju̟ː/, GenAm:/u/, Aue:/jʉː/, WaE:/ɪu/).

I propose to use the letter u with macron (ū) for this sound. Thus the word "mute" (in which the silente-e lengthens the preceding vowel), currently transcribed as "enPR: myōōt" in its entry, would be transcribed as "enPR: mūt", as thus reflects both the development of the historical long-u, and the slightly independent distribution of yōō and ū.

PS. This suggestion also applies to the rhotic version of this two diaphonemes. E.g., ūr may be reproduced as /jɝ/ in GenAm and as /jʊə/ in RP, while oor may be reproduced as /ʊɹ/ in GenAm and as /ʊə/ in RP. 22:16, 15 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The long u is traditionally transcribed, analogously to the other long vowels, as 'ū.' However, possibly due to intense yod-dropping and the resulting infrequency of the /juː/ diaphoneme in GA, this practice has been largely discontinued by American dictionaries but not by those of England. However, with most British lexicons (i.e. all with the notable exception of the Chambers Dictionary) having switched to IPA, respelling with diacritics is now aimed primarily at speakers from the New World, and because the aforesaid notation may be unfamiliar to them, I would deem this change unwarranted. Alternatively, Chambers respelling could be used for RP and enPR could be limited to GA, but that would perhaps be an unnecessary complication. Maciuf (talk) 11:52, 7 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

difference between /er/ and /ɛr/ in US English[edit]

The table doesn't show the sound of e before r in the first pronunciation listed at --Espoo (talk) 20:42, 14 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yeah, that's because this page only portrays the accent of General American that has Mary, merry, and marry merged. Some accents would have different vowels in the rows for carry, hair, and merry. I've added additional transcriptions and a note on this. — Eru·tuon 22:01, 14 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks --Espoo (talk) 23:45, 20 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't understand the syllabification /ˈlɛv.eɪ/. Is it just an error? --Espoo (talk) 13:17, 22 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, /ˈlɛv.eɪ/ (or /ˈlɛv.i/) is not an error.LiliCharlie (talk) 13:44, 22 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Winter does not have flapping[edit]

This page claims the word winter has flapping, but this is not true. As the t is after the n, it is still pronounced [t], not [ɾ]. The n is pronounced after a vowel. 21:29, 8 March 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The page says that flapping sometimes occurs in winter. Have you really never heard winter pronounced with flapping? — Eru·tuon 21:33, 8 March 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I always flap winter if it's an adjective and thought most people did: If I say "Winter Squall" or "Winner Take All", "winner" sounds exactly the same. Also, "Waiting 'til Winner Solstice" vs "Waiting 'til Winter". Grew up in the Midwest, now living in New England, don't know where I picked it up. 22:44, 13 July 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

problems on this page[edit]

  • No explanation of what enPR is or means!
  • Much of the section "other symbols" is incomprehensible, at least to me. E.g.
    • secondary stress (or sometimes tertiary stress) before the primary stress, tertiary stress after the primary stress as in battlefield /ˈbætəlˌfiːld/
    • empty boxes next to syllabic consonant and glottal stop, i.e. missing comments about these being apparently not indicated in enPR
    • The EnPR and print AHD marks are formatted slightly differently. Online, AHD writes both ', though they do not always represent the same phoneme.

--Espoo (talk) 05:32, 30 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Stressed and unstressed rhoticized schwa[edit]

@Nardog, Angr: Regarding these edits, isn't the use of two symbols, /ɝ ɚ/, just a tradition based on the silly rule that a schwa (as in a vowel written with the official schwa symbol) should never be stressed? I think just using /ɚ/ for both should be allowed, as there's no real phonemic distinction as far as I can tell. — Eru·tuon 23:41, 28 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You're probably right that there's no significant difference between the first and second syllables of a word like burner in rhotic North American speech; nevertheless, the majority of dictionaries I've consulted (though certainly not all!) do transcribe them differently. The advantages to /ˈbɝnɚ/ rather than /ˈbɚnɚ/ in my opinion are (1) the principle of least surprise (more people will be expecting /ˈbɝnɚ/) and (2) it facilitates comparison between rhotic and nonrhotic accents (/ˈbɝnɚ/ is more reminiscent of /ˈbɜːnə/, so it's easier to see that they're dialectal variants of the same word; it's also closer to the title of Rhymes:English/ɜː(ɹ)nə(ɹ)). Finally, it's just a matter of personal taste. Transcribing burner as /ˈbɚnɚ/ would rub me the wrong way just as much as transcribing buttock as /ˈbətək/ rather than /ˈbʌtək/ would, though the case for that is just as strong. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:50, 29 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, for me /ˈbətək/ would be bittock; perhaps my pronunciation differs in this respect from General American. I guess it's a fool's errand to try to get people to use a more accurate transcription. It's easier for people to use a more traditional transcription. — Eru·tuon 19:13, 29 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Our transcription is accurate, as long we define our symbols correctly. IPA symbols correspond to areas of phonological space, not to specific ranges of Hertz in the formants on spectrograms. Incidentally, /ˈbətək/ is exactly how Merriam-Webster transcribes buttock. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:29, 29 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What I meant was not phonetic accuracy (it's impossible for a phonemic transcription system to be completely phonetically accurate), but accuracy in representing a phonological analysis of the dialect. In that sense, a system is accurate if it has exactly one symbol per phoneme. Using both /ɚ/ and /ɝ/ violates this principle, because both symbols correspond to the same GA phoneme. Maybe parsimony would be a better word. — Eru·tuon 23:00, 29 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I definitely agree it's not parsimonious. But sometimes it's worth sacrificing some parsimony for clarity. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:42, 30 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mahagaja: I'm not enthusiastic about making transcriptional choices solely to relate GA phonemes to RP ones. The vowel systems are really fundamentally different. At the very least, it would be helpful to non-native speakers for there to be a parsimoniously phonemic transcription somewhere on the page, so that they do not ask the question of how /ɝ/ is different from /ɚ/. (The answer is that the two are distinguished in other dialects, which is irrelevant to learning how to pronounce GA.) — Eru·tuon 20:25, 30 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Early Modern English[edit]

Something that I see as strikingly absent in Wiktionary is coverage of Early Modern English pronunciation, seeing as it is important for understanding the transition between Middle English and present-day English dialects. To start with, it would probably be helpful IMHO for the vowel table on this page to incorporate Early Modern English pronunciation, but I'd like to seek advice, especially given that there is a significant lack of consensus on EModE pronunciation. Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? --Hazarasp (talk) 02:43, 24 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since we treat Early Modern English as a variety of English rather than as a separate language, I think it would be highly confusing to our readers for us to start adding reconstructed EME pronunciations to our entries. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 09:26, 24 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ongoing discussion at Beer parlour[edit]

There is an ongoing discussion regarding English pronunciation at Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2018/May#English pronunciation template and module. Nardog (talk) 00:02, 17 May 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Search the page for the example word "orgin". It's not a word, so did you mean "origin"? "organ?" Art LaPella (talk) 01:39, 25 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Art LaPella: Thanks for the note. From the context, the intended word was origin. Fixed. — Eru·tuon 01:48, 25 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discrepancy with the transcriptions in the entries[edit]

At least some of the people writing the transcriptions in the actual entries, while linking to this page for explanations, actually keep transcribing something which they designate as 'UK English' and 'US English' - in spite of the fact that the table on this page doesn't include such designations and only lists RP and GA, as one would expect. The latter is, of course, understandable, since there is no such thing as a single general 'UK English', only different dialects, including RP (the closest thing to a standard), Estuary (perhaps a bit of a competing popular standard), Scouse, Glaswegian and so on; and likewise, 'US English' would be used most aptly as an umbrella term covering dialects such as GA, New York City, Bostonian, Texan etc. Since so many different dialects rarely have the same pronunciation, making phonetic transcriptions of general 'UK English' and 'US English' is impossible, and one had better stick to the most prominent actually existing dialects, which means RP for the UK. To make matters worse, the 'UK English' transcriptions seem to consistently designate non-rhoticity as optional: words like 'border' are transcribed as [ˈbɔː(ɹ)də(ɹ)] and so on. While the word-final /r/ in 'border' will at least show up before a following vowel, the first one can simply never be pronounced in RP and Estuary. Therefore, it only makes sense to interpret these transcriptions as an unexplained attempt at a compromise between non-rhotic and rhotic UK dialects. However, I don't see any justification for that either, since all the other differences between various UK dialects of English (say, the pronunciations of 'glass' with [ɑː] or with [a]) are not pointed out in this way, and there is no reason to privilege precisely rhoticity among all the numerous non-RP (and non-Estuary) phenomena that may exist somewhere in the UK. There is a risk that somebody will conclude from these transcriptions that RP or anything resembling a 'standard UK English' can be rhotic - an unfortunate misconception that already seems to be widespread among English teachers and students in much of the world for some reason. Even if a transdialectal transcription were to be adopted instead of the dialect-specific ones, it shouldn't be based on the seemingly phonetic signs of the IPA, lest somebody should believe it to be a real phonetic transcription of any actually existing dialect. -- 19:17, 27 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Two pronunciations for ð?[edit]

IPA treats ð in "this" and "father" the same. However, to me, it sounds weaker in "this" and stronger in "father". Can anyone comment about this? 15:02, 3 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I hear no difference in my own (native Canadian) pronunciation, but I am by no means an expert on this. - excarnateSojourner (talk|contrib) 06:34, 30 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@ Anecdotally, I have been told by some Americans that their first-syllable onset /ð/ (as in 'this' and 'that') tended to be more stop-like or more specifically, a dental stop [] or an affricate [d͡ð], different from their intervocalic or coda /ð/ (as in 'father' or 'soothe') which tend to be more fricative-like like the regular [ð]. Perhaps this is what's making your /ð/ in 'this' sound "weaker" compared to your /ð/ in 'father'? --GinormousBuildings (talk) 01:01, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

how do we write the reduced vowels (schwa, schwi, etc.)?[edit]

Do we write them all /ə/, as they're pronounced in Australia, or do we pretend that some of them are /ɪ/ and /ʊ/, conflating reduced vowels with full vowels? (And if we do the latter, why not use /ʌ/ for /ə/?) kwami (talk) 02:07, 12 September 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I thought it was /i/ and /u/ (without the usual length mark). Equinox 02:23, 12 September 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Those are different yet again. kwami (talk) 02:17, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Should comma-separated IPA be split?[edit]

In the vowel table, several entries have comma-separated IPA indicating (I think?) that each one is in use in that region. For example, the first entry for the "a" sound in "father" and "palm" has this code in the Canadian English column:

ɒ, ɑ
{{IPAfont|ɒ, ɑ}}

Should things like these be split up into two templates, like so?

ɒ, ɑ
{{IPAfont|ɒ}}, {{IPAfont|ɑ}}

The main reason I ask this is because I have a Greasemonkey script that I cobbled together by mashing code up which allows you to click one of these IPA spans and have it read to you by a JavaScript version of eSpeak. However, with the first version it reads them as being in one entire string, making it tough to hear the difference.

I don't know enough about IPA to know if my guess is correct though and I don't want to edit something like this without knowing if I'm correct. Can anybody else chime in as to whether these should be split up? --TheSophera (talk) 15:08, 23 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

/ŋ/: ng[edit]

How's anger transcribed then? --Backinstadiums (talk) 20:19, 6 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Backinstadiums: See anger#Pronunciation. — Eru·tuon 21:17, 6 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is this page authoritative for[edit]

I believe I read that wiktionary pages should only use IPA symbols which are on this page. Is that true? If so, where does it say that? —Darxus (talk) 21:45, 7 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think the only thing on this page that's really authoritative is the bit about using /ɹ/ instead of /r/ in phonemic transcriptions of dialects in which the r phoneme isn't usually a trill, which was actually voted on and passed by a landslide. — Eru·tuon 22:13, 7 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why isn't there a separate page for every single line item in the vowel and consonant tables?[edit]

Users really need a good reference to try to figure out their personal disagreements with pronunciation guides, find the history and the debates behind each sound. Some of the items have footnotes, but not all of them, and the footnotes are of variable detail.

My particular issue is with the examples for American English [ ɑ ][not, wasp, boss, moth]. Those words do NOT go together or sound alike. [not, wasp, father, bother, Don, stop, clod, pontoon] ("ah" sound) are completely different sounding, and feel different in the mouth from [naught, nought, boss, cross, cloth, moth, maw, paw, law, caught, cough, taut, taught] ("aw" sound). Begging for the footnotes to be replaced with an entire topic page for every IPA element. (Pronouncing boss and moth with ɑ instead of with ɔ makes it sound like a punchline mocking the New England accent: My bahs pahkt muh mahth-cuhvid cah in Hahvid Yahd.) 23:25, 13 July 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Vowell length distinction and rhotoc v non-rhotic[edit]

Because non-rhotic dialects replace syllable coda /e/ with a lengthening of the preceding vowell, the claim is made that rhotic dialects do not distinguish between vowell length, and therefore the vowell lengthening symbol : is not used.

If use of said symbol were exclusively restricted to vowells followed by r's, this would be reasonable, but there is a problem: IT IS NOT. Therefore, we have instances of the RP pronunciation indicating a long vowell, with the GA pronunciation indicating no such vowell lengthening. The implication being that in RP the vowell is pronounced for a longer duration than in GA. Again, the reason being that RP is non-rhotic and GA is rhotic. But, this is so even in words without any r's.

This is totally absurd. And clearly, whomever it was that dreamed up such rule did not take these particular cases into account; or, the intention was that : would only ever be used in English when describing an R-lengthened non-rhotic vowell.

Furthermore, I offer the following two words as evidence that in fact American English DOES distinguish vowell length: 'keyable' and 'machiavellian'. The 'kee' syllable in each word has a lengthened vowell in the former and a short /i/ in the latter.

Again I stress that this consequence was most certainly NOT the intended result of the person that came up with said rule. We SHOULD NOT be so rigidly bound to the letter of what was written, when plain common sense would tell us that this was not the intent. Especially when such strict adherence results in the propagation of misinformation.

comments appreciated. Firejuggler86 (talk) 01:30, 11 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The analysis of General American as lacking a vowel length distinction has got nothing directly to do with rhoticity (older RP lacks the new long vowels present in modern RP, but is still analysed as having such a distinction) and everything directly to do with the fact that length isn't as much of a distinguishing factor between pairs like /i/ and /ɪ/ in GA as it is in RP. Actually read the literature first before you jump to conclusions. -Hazarasp (parlement · werkis) 03:41, 11 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Caught-Cot Merger[edit]

I'd suggest adding /ɑ/ in the GA column for the row of "law, caught" in order to remain consistent with wiktionary, where the pronunciations with Caught-Cot Merger are usually feautured alongside those without.

Ole0811 (talk) 14:35, 21 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Possible Canadian vowel correction[edit]

The vowel table indicates that the vowel sound in law and caught in Canadian English is /ɒ/, but as a native Canadian English speaker I believe pronounce it /ɑ/ (and generally hear it pronounced that way). Can anyone confirm or deny this? - excarnateSojourner (talk|contrib) 22:36, 23 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The pronunciation symbols are all bold, making them much harder to read. Please correct the page to not misuse emphasis like that. — This unsigned comment was added by 2602:41:642B:630:1DBB:928E:D5FF:B9A5 (talk).

Probably for stylistic reasons. I have no personal opinion on this; notifying @Hazarasp, Lambiam. ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 11:03, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that the use of boldface does not improve usability. Users are most likely to consult the table to seek an explanation for IPA characters, because it is linked to from the English pronunciation sections via {{IPA|en|/.../}}. I think the page should have a simple list organized by IPA, just as seen in the French pronunciation and German pronunciation appendices. Template {{enPR}} also links there for the AHD pronunciation respelling for English. To be useful to the reader, the respelling symbols should be the key (first column). The effort has been valiant, but no table in the current style can do justice to the complications of phenomena such as /æ/ raising, the cotcaught merger and the trapbath split. My preference would be to make this a separate appendix with a title like "AHD respelling of English". Pinging user @Mahagaja.  --Lambiam 13:48, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Many other pronunciation appendices use a larger font size for the IPA characters; see Appendix:German pronunciation, Appendix:French pronunciation, and Appendix:Dutch pronunciation for examples. The English pronunciation appendix could probably do that too. It might indeed be a good idea to move the enPR system to a separate appendix as well. We mustn't use the name "AHD", though, partly because our system is (I believe) slightly different from theirs, and partly because we don't want to infringe on a trademark. —Mahāgaja · talk 14:34, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


@-sche, I want to tell you that I can't read the IPA pronunciations and the so-called "less-intelligible system for transcribing pronunciation" (diff) is the only one I can truly comprehend because I was taught that system growing up. In the twisted manner of "just learn 2 code" you may respond "just learn 2 IPA", but you are ignoring a significant percentage of Americans who want to use Wiktionary but are confronted with a baffling array of nonsensical characters we never learned nor need or seek to learn (IPA). Good day to you, sir. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 22:36, 12 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

lol. - -sche (discuss) 00:58, 13 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Discussion moved to Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2022/November.


Previously, the cloth set (moth, boss, ...) was lumped in with lot. Since the lot-cloth split has been a thing since the 17th century, I think we can safely recognize it, heh. I intend to add a cloth line soon. For example words I might suggest cloth, boss, off or office (which have a different vowel, viz. the thought vowel, from lot-vowel-having Goth, possible, profit, except for speakers who remerge lot and thought). - -sche (discuss) 21:08, 29 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since cloth words are "either lot or thought, depending on the dialect", I wonder if the enPR notation should be "ŏ when like lot, ô when like thought", or what... I also wonder if enPR "ŏr" should also be split; it's a bit odd that there are two enPR notations of /ɑɹ/, two of /oɹ/, but then one that means "it's either /ɑɹ/ or /oɹ/, have fun guessing which!" - -sche (discuss) 22:32, 30 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

note about bed vowel in Collins[edit]

We say "/ɛ/ is sometimes transcribed /e/ for RP—for example, in the Collins". The IPA transcription slashes, together with other notes on how certain dictionaries analyse a sound as being e.g. /ɔ/ vs (IPA) /o/, suggest Collins transcribes the bed vowel as /e/ in IPA in RP. This doesn't seem to be true: in their online entries on bed, their first entry has "ɛ", their American English entry has "ɛ", their next American English entry does have "e", and then their British English entry has "ɛ", but I don't get the impression that the one (not RP but American!) notation with "e" was intended to be IPA, I think it's a respelling system, like uses /y/ for /j/ (they're not saying they think the vowel /y/ is an acceptable alternative to the consonant /j/, they're just using non-IPA notation, and they're doing worse than Collins, because they actually label their /y/ as "IPA"). So I'm inclined to clarify that Collins' "e" is not IPA notation, and/or move the note to be next to our own non-IPA notation "ĕ", which seems to be what Collins' "e" contrasts with. - -sche (discuss) 21:30, 29 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply] seems to be a compendium, like, that contains entries from at least one dictionary that isn't Collins ("Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition"), which makes this a bit confusing. It does seem like the entries that are labeled as "Collins" something or other use ɛ. Maybe they changed their transcription after the sentence that you quoted was written. The bed transcription that is labeled as "Most material © 2005, 1997, 1991 by Penguin Random House LLC. Modified entries © 2019 by Penguin Random House LLC and HarperCollins Publishers Ltd" under it does actually seem to be IPA, because the entries for mad and lot that have the same label have mæd and lɑt, and æ and ɑ are IPA symbols typically not used in respellings. But I guess it isn't Collins Dictionary because of the label (though it only gives the publishers, not the name of the dictionary; maybe it's an online-only thing). — Eru·tuon 00:42, 30 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Early Modern English transcriptions[edit]

-sche: I noticed you added some transcriptions labeled as Early Modern English (EME) that are sourced from David Crystal's The Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation (see here for a full list; for example in great). I think it would be neat to include EME transcriptions, but they need more specific labeling. There were several different phonological systems in the documented accents of English writers from 1450 to 1700 depending on time, place, and social considerations, and some different modern interpretations of them. Crystal's reconstruction is one of many. Labeling a transcription as "Early Modern English" or even "late Early Modern English" or "Shakespearean English" is imprecise and likely to cause misunderstandings.

In general, EME transcriptions should probably be labeled with a description of the accent, which probably needs to include various things like a time period and a region or social class (though this will generally be something like "London, educated") and the name of the EME-era author or authors whose work the reconstruction is based on, and the modern author who made the reconstruction when it's an idiosyncratic one. Crystal's reconstruction is idiosyncratic and probably easier to add than others that don't have a whole dictionary devoted to them. It could have a label in Module:accent qualifier/data; my starting point would be "David Crystal's Original Shakespearean Pronunciation", but I feel like it needs to be shorter.

However it's worth noting that Crystal's Original Shakespearean Pronunciation has some inaccuracies described by A. Z. Foreman, who makes his own recordings of reconstructions of various accents of EME based on various writers from that era. He wrote a blog post on the topic and has posted about it occasionally on Twitter. For example, two features that Foreman says aren't warranted by the evidence: Crystal says that many cases of the vowel descending from Middle English /eː/ were still sometimes pronounced as /eː/, even though most scholars agree that almost all cases had already shifted to /iː/ around the beginning of the EME era. This includes most vowels spelled ee today, as in peel. Crystal merges that vowel with many cases of the vowel descending from Middle English /ɛː/, which was often spelled ea as in deal, even though the two vowels were still distinguished in Shakespeare's time. And he argues that it is unclear whether a trilled r sound was really used even though sources from the time clearly describe a trill.

Foreman argues that these choices make the pronunciation better for theatrical performance: it is hard for many English speakers to pronounce the vowel distinctions that words like pale, fail, deal, and peel had in various documented accents of Shakespeare's era (there were at least three different types of mergers depending on the accent, which can be transcribed as /pæːl fæil deːl piːl/, /pɛːl fɛːl deːl piːl/, /pæːl feːl deːl piːl/) and a trilled /r/ tends to sound highly Scottish (or foreign) to native English speakers in England. My impression from Crystal's his PDF of Shakespeare's sonnets with the non-obvious vowels written in IPA is that he groups deal and peel together as /eː/ and pale and fail together as /ɛː/ to yield the same lexical sets as standard Modern English accents so that actors don't have to learn which vowel belonged in each group in Shakespeare's time. He even puts great in the pale and fail group even though it was still in the deal group in Shakespeare's time. And he doesn't seem to transcribe a /iː/ vowel except before r (where he has /ɛː/ and /iː/), so speakers can safely pronounce deal and peel in the range of vowel quality from [eː] to [iː] without erasing any vowel distinctions. This also probably makes it easier for audiences to recognize words. So some of Crystal's choices seem to not be based on solid evidence but be designed to make the pronunciation easier for actors to produce and for audiences to listen to.

Apologies for the long post, but the main part is in the first two paragraphs: EME should be specifically labeled. Despite my complaints about Crystal's pronunciation, I'm not opposed to including it if it's labeled. — Eru·tuon 05:03, 30 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm all for adding as much detail as we can get! My ideal would be for entries to eventually have, vaguely similar to Ancient Greek or Egyptian or Chinese, the pronunciation of words in major modern national varieties listed relatively compactly "up front", and then the option to expand and show as much phonological history as possible, e.g. the different paths of meet vs meat or pane vs pain including their differences in the past, their merger in modern standards, and the few dialects that still distinguish them. This likely requires sorting out to what extent various sources like Crystal, Jespersen, Krapp, Dobson, Bingham, Walker and/or Hall, Sheridan, etc are describing different stages or places (all correctly describing different parts of the elephant, able to all be listed in a maximally complete entry) and to what extent they're conflicting notations or ideas about the same things that need to be harmonized (currently many are lumped together under the very vague label "obsolete", and some are books from the 17- or 1800s where our resolution of them to IPA is questionable). - -sche (discuss) 22:26, 30 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As the individual who added the vast majority of those obsolete pronunciations, the label of "obsolete" generally refers to variants that survived up until the 19th or 20th centuries. If you took the time to read some of the sources you link to, you'd find that many of them discuss speech of the 19th and 20th centuries rather than having anything to do with EModE (for instance, Hall is describing Smoky Mountain speech of the 1930s). I have opted to avoid greater specificity about time and place as many of these variants are very widespread, both diatopically and diachronically; for instance, gold /ɡuːld/ is not just attested in Bingham (late 18th c. New England English), but also in Walker (late 18th c. London/Edinburgh English) and the SND (18th, 19th, and 20th c. Scots). If you wanted to, you could gather dozens of sources attesting some of the forms I have added; the single source I have employed in most cases is intended to be more of a demonstration that I haven't made up the pronunciation rather than a comprehensive description of when and where such a form was (and maybe still is!) used. Such a exercise would be better suited to a dialect atlas or specialist dictionary rather than what we are; Wiktionary cannot be everything to everyone.
In converting source material (IPA transcriptions, pre-IPA phonemic notations, pronunciation spellings) into IPA I have generally stuck to existing Wiktionary IPA conventions (with a few exceptions) as they mostly suffice for pronunciations of this period. If you have issues or questions about the way that the source material is transcribed into IPA, then point to the section of the source that you want to discuss.
Now I couldn't resist adding some 17th c. pronunciations, and this is where our conventions really start to break down; I have had to work with the affordances provided to me. As a preliminary/tentative sketch, I would suggest the following periodisation:
Long vowels, diphtongs, and onset clusters
Middle English, circa 1400 /aː/ /æi̯/ /ɛː/ /eː/ /iː/ /ɔː/ /ɔu̯/ /oː/ /uː/ /ɔi̯/ /ui̯/ /au̯/ /ɛu̯/ /iu̯/ /wr/ /kn/ /ɡn/
Early Modern English, circa 1600 /æː/ /æɪ̯/ /ɛː/ /iː/ /eɪ̯/ /ɔː/ /ɔʊ̯/ /uː/ /oʊ̯/ /ɔɪ̯/ /ʊi̯/ /ɒu̯/ /ɛʊ̯/ /ɪʊ̯/ /(w)r/ /kn/ /ɡn/
Early Modern English, circa 1650 /ɛː/ /eː/ /iː/ /ɜɪ̯/ /oː/ /uː/ /ɞʊ̯/ /ɔɪ̯/ /ɔɪ̯/ + /ɜɪ̯/ /ɒː/ /ɪʊ̯/ /r/ /(k)n/ /(ɡ)n/ + /kn/
Modern English, circa 1750 /eː/ /eː/ + /iː/ /iː/ /æ̽ɪ̯/ /oː/ /uː/ /ɒ̽ʊ̯/ /ɔɪ̯/ /ɔɪ̯/ + /æ̽ɪ̯/ /ɒː/ /juː/ /r/ /n/ /n/
Select preconsonantal rhotics
Middle English, circa 1400 /ar/ /ɛr/ /ir/ /ur/ /aːr/ /ɛːr/ /eːr/ /ɔr/ /ɔːr/ /oːr/ /uːr/
Early Modern English, circa 1600 /ær/ /ɛr/ /ir/ /ur/ /æːr/ /ɛːr/ /iːr/ /ɔr/ /ɔːr/ /uːr/
Early Modern English, circa 1650 /ær/ + /æːr/ /ɛr/ /ɛr/ + /ɤr/ /ɤr/ /ɛːr/ /eːr/ /iːr/ /ɒr/ + /ɒːr/ /oːr/ /uːr/
Modern English, circa 1750 /aːr/ /ɛr/ /ɛr/ + /ʌr/ /ʌr/ /eːr/ /eːr/ + /iːr/ /iːr/ /ɒːr/ /oːr/ /oːr/ + /uːr/
Modern English, circa 1750 (phonetic) [a˞ː~aɚ] [ɛ̈˞ː] [ɛ̈˞ː] + [ɝː] [ɝː] [eɚ] [eɚ] + [ɪɚ] [ɪɚ] [ɒɚ~ɒ˞ː] [oɚ] [oɚ] + [ʊɚ]
Hazarasp (parlement · werkis) 12:20, 5 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To clarify, I know many of them don't refer to EME, I'm saying they'd be part of a complete phonological history / timeline of the word's pronunciation, i.e. from the 150- through the 16- through the 17- through the 18- through the 1900s to the present, in which case it'd be useful to determine which pronunciations are like /ɡuːld/ (which span multiple periods/regions), and which changed from one period to the next, or from region to region within the same period. (But this represents an aspiration for "maximally complete" entries, which may not be attainable any time soon or for many entries.) I appreciate you adding them. - -sche (discuss) 18:33, 5 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The "law"/"cloth"/"thought" vowel[edit]

For completeness, should the table register /ɔ/ or /ɑ/ for American English? 11:54, 1 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yeah, I think in entries we treat the General American thought and cloth vowel as being either /ɔ/ or /ɑ/ (labeled with "cot-caught merger"). Added the transcription and a note. — Eru·tuon 00:24, 2 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(This was added, and then I added the relevant "merger" label, bringing up the following question:)
Do we want to start listing, parenthetically and/or on a separate line within each cell (<br/>), major dialectal variants more often? For example, we could cover the northern (Boston, Inland North, ...) cot-caught merger to /ɒ/ that was discussed in the BP and which entries like thought mention, provided we're clear that all such things (e.g. cot-caught merger to either /ɑ/ or /ɒ/) should be labelled with the relevant merger and/or variety label, not presented as bare (General American). IMO it would be helpful if {{a}} allowed underscores to merely add spaces and suppress commas the way they do in {{lb}}, because it'd be helpful to be able to say, on e.g. cot, (cotcaught merger in Inland Northern American) /ɒ/, which would be clearer than (cotcaught merger, Inland Northern American) /ɒ/ which would imply /ɒ/ was used both in cot-caught merging dialects across the country and also in Inland North dialects whether they merge cot-caught or not (which is wrong). - -sche (discuss) 18:44, 5 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Multiple Australia and New Zealand transcriptions[edit]

This is in response to -sche's edit summary: ɔ, ɒ in the Australia and New Zealand columns are alternative transcriptions of the same phoneme. I think the ones that represent different phonemes in these columns are near with /iə/ versus /iːə/ versus /eə/, and tour with /ʉə/ versus /ʉːə/ versus /oː/. I would guess they are in somewhat free variation and used in different subvarieties because this is similar to the variation that Geoff Lindsey describes in Standard Southern British (except the which indicates a merger with the hair vowel not found in SSB).

Ideally we would have one transcription of each phoneme for clarity and maybe we would have some information on how to distinguish and choose between the different phonemes. It's difficult to enforce that without having some way to locate variant transcriptions. I'm considering making a program that would extract IPA transcriptions with their language and part of speech headers and their accent labels and references and put them in a database. That could be made available on a website similar to my enwikt-translations search engine. At the moment it'd be hard to consistently enforce a particular transcription system because it's so hard to locate the transcriptions that violate the rules, unless they use a very unusual symbol (like y: search on my current rudimentary IPA search engine). — Eru·tuon 01:49, 3 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Guess I should be clearer. /iə ʉə/ versus /iːə ʉːə/ is a smoothed versus unsmoothed vowel similar to what Lindsey describes for SSB (and there the smoothed version is probably more conservative or upper-class), whereas /iə/ versus /eə/ is whether here and hair are distinguished or merged, though the New Zealand English phonology article says the merged vowel is /iə/, not /eə/, so that needs clarifying. — Eru·tuon 01:58, 3 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

re 'Aus/NZ borrow/forest vowels'[edit]

Discussion moved from User talk:-sche.
re: "not in free variation like e.g. Aus/NZ borrow/forest vowels seemingly are (if they're not, see their own {attn} btw!)"

The notation on Appendix:English pronunciation lists "ɔɹ, ɒɹ" because these are just different ways of writing the singular 'lot' vowel phoneme, which is inbetween [ɔ] and [ɒ] so has inconsistent representation. Maybe it would be less confusing to write it as "ɔɹ~ɒɹ" instead? – Nixinova [‌T|C] 09:41, 3 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So any one speaker, whichever vowel they use, will consistently pronounce all the words (lot etc, borrow/sorry etc, horror/forest etc, forum/oral etc) with that same vowel? (Or consistently pronounce all the r-coloured ones the same, at least?) Then my initial reaction is that ɔɹ~ɒɹ would indeed be clearer, or even, going a step further: should we just pick one symbol to ourselves consistently use (ɔ̞? or just pick one of ɔ/ɒ?), as Erutuon is saying above, and move mention of the imprecision/ambiguity of the vowel and the inconsistency of its representation in other sources to a footnote? For example, British ɜː may actually be əː and is represented accordingly in some other sources, but we pick one symbol to use consistently and mention the ambiguity and differing representations in a footnote. Or, as recently discussed, the General American vowel that results from the horse/hoarse merger is in between ɔɹ and oɹ, and from one source to another may be represented as either, but because those are just competing representations of the same sound rather than contrastively different possibilities the way ɑɹ and oɹ are contrastive (art vs sort) different possibilities for morrow, we picked one representation (for the post-merger sound). - -sche (discuss) 19:15, 3 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As a NZE speaker, I would prefer it if we solely used /ɔ/. Besides the fact that it's the symbol usually used in phonemic representations and descriptions of NZE, for me, the sound in NZE lot, cross, etc. is much closer to [ɔ] than [ɒ]; for some (broader) speakers it is probably higher than cardinal [ɒ] (note that using the RP sound as a proxy for the value of [ɒ] is misleading since it is significantly higher than cardinal [ɒ] in modern RP). Finally, the majority of our NZE pronunciations already use /ɔ/, so this would be codifying existing practice. Hazarasp (parlement · werkis) 08:11, 4 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
/ɔ/ best represents the position of the vowel in File:New Zealand English monophthong chart.svg. All the transcriptions in w:New Zealand English phonology#Transcriptions use /ɒ/, but we're not obliged to follow them. — Eru·tuon 04:24, 5 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I remember coming across /ɔ/ in plenty of places (i.e. articles, books, etc.), but I may be wrong; my mind's a mess right now. Hazarasp (parlement · werkis) 12:26, 5 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


@Erutuon, this made me realize that although other dictionaries like MW and Collins do give forest with /ɑɹ/ as an alternate American pronunciation with no further labels, our entries frequently put it on a separate line with any of a number of inconsistent labels, ranging from "NYC" to "East Coast" to "NYC, Philadelphia, traditional Eastern New England (except for Boston), Ireland". Do you suppose we could pick a consistent but accurate label, even if it's just something prosaically descriptive like "(/ɑɹ/ instead of /oɹ/: see appendix)" or "('or' as /ɑɹ/: see appendix)" linked to a footnote/section on this page that could detail where it's used?
This suggests /ɑɹ/ is also found in words on the oral line, too, for these northish-East Coast accents. (Actually, that also fascinatingly suggests that the writer thinks there is supposed to be a distinction between oral and aural, which in practice there is because people ad-hoc shift aural because otherwise it's unusable, but which is not original / reflected in other dictionaries...) - -sche (discuss) 04:39, 5 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not sure if all the American accents that have forest = lot (or a forest-glory distinction) can be coverable under a single transcription. There are other vowel differences in these accents that might turn up in some of the forest words and warrant multiple transcriptions of forest words. I'm basing this on the Aschmann American Dialects page. I can't think of any cases where this would affect the transcriptions at the moment though. It's pretty common for the other vowels to be schwa or other not-very-variable vowels.
The distinct forest vowel would probably have a different transcription in at least one accent, because apparently older New York City accents distinguish lot-forest (with a fronter open vowel) from father-starry (with a backer open vowel) and thought-north-force-glory, much like RP (see User:Erutuon/English low vowels), whereas newer ones merge lot-forest-father-starry. In the older accent, forest might be best transcribed /ˈfaɹəst/, contrasting with starry /ˈstɑɹi/ and glory /ˈɡlɔɹi/ (possibly with length marks or schwas in there somewhere). I can't specifically recall this, but maybe I heard it in the Marx Brothers or something from the 20th century without realizing it. (I think I often hear NYC lot with a fronter vowel than star, but that might sometimes be allophonic.)
The advantage of listing the accents in the label is that it tells where people might pronounce the word like this, which readers don't necessarily know. It's less likely to run afoul of the multiple transcription problem. In theory if someone has listed specific accents, they have checked that there are no other phonemic divergences in the word. But we should also give information about the accents that have this feature on this page.
To be more concise, we could instead use a label like "American forest-glory distinction" (or substitute different example words), or whatever term the literature uses if someone has come up with one already. — Eru·tuon 17:16, 5 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Monophthongization before /l/[edit]

User Whoop whoop pull up wants to monophthongize vowels before /l/ in GA. If we're going to do that, we need to reflect it here in the key. Though in this particular case, rolloff, at least according to MW online there's a clear diphthong, ROW-lof. kwami (talk) 05:40, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(Just noting, in the interest of keeping discussion from fragmenting across multiple places, that this is discussed above in #/ol/Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2022/November#/ol/.) - -sche (discuss) 06:28, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pronunciation of "rolloff" in GA, as /ˈɹol.ɔf/; note the absence of diphthongs.
How "rolloff" would be pronounced if MW's pronunciation were still accurate for GA, as /ˈɹoʊ.lɔf/; note that this pronunciation contains a spurious diphthong that does not exist in the word as it's actually pronounced in GA.
MW is severely outdated in this instance; GA no longer pronounces "roll" as "row+l" (some regiolects still do, especially in the South, but not GA itself). Whoop whoop pull up Bitching Betty ⚧️ Averted crashes 06:47, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Roll" and "roll off" don't, but "rolloff" does, whereas we claimed the opposite. kwami (talk) 07:26, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Kwamikagami: None of those three diphthongize the "roll" vowel in GA. In certain regiolects, they do, but those aren't GA. Whoop whoop pull up Bitching Betty ⚧️ Averted crashes 07:36, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
-sche has redirected the discussion. We shouldn't be duplicating arguments. kwami (talk) 07:55, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Add major subvarieties?[edit]

I think we should expand the table to indicate the standard (to be used in entries) realization of the phonemes in major subvarieties/dialects which I think we'd also benefit from more routinely (rather than, as at present, haphazardly) documenting in entries. One way of doing this would be to add them with labels to the table like this, though if we're adding so much text to the cells we should probably turn off the bolding. Another approach would be to explain the various subvarieties' realizations of the phonemes in footnotes like this. Putting subvarieties directly in the table would make it easier to look them over, but might make it slightly harder to look over the "main" national-standard phonemes as the table would become more cluttered. Anyone have comments / support / opposition / offers to assist? - -sche (discuss) 20:05, 10 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The other accents should be in separate columns, if they're in the main table, because they aren't General American. I'd like to have separate tables (like in User:Erutuon/English low vowels but with more vowels) as well because it makes it possible to put lexical sets with the same vowel phoneme close together. Probably better to put them there before putting them in the main table because people are mainly interested in the big accents and adding more columns will eventually make the table cluttered and even more difficult to edit and keep accurate (like w:International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects). — Eru·tuon 01:08, 11 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fair point. And I suppose it'd be easy enough to add a GenAm column (for comparison) to an American dialects table so people could still see what the corresponding GenAm phoneme(s) was/were, without this table getting as cluttered. (The space we save could go into adding columns for e.g. Irish English to this table, something else I've been thinking we should do, or maybe Indian English.) I just figure, we should have an equivalent of this table — i.e. a set of standard phonemes and footnotes about alternative representations thereof — for the dialects we often include pronunciations from, to help keep entries from using three different symbols for the same phoneme just because three different uses took the pronunciations from three different books, or from their own guesswork, that have different house notation styles (like Collins and its /bed/). - -sche (discuss) 03:09, 11 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Other National Varieties of English[edit]

According to the Wikipedia List of countries by English-speaking population, there is an extensive amount of countries which have more speakers of English than New Zealand (the country with the lowest population on the current chart). While I understand the current chart is made of countries where English is the most popularly spoken, shouldn't those with more speakers be represented as well? Maybe not all of them, perhaps some only a specific threshold of speakers would be less cluttered. However, I believe some of these varieties, especially Nigerian, Indian, and Pakistani English, would be very welcome to the chart, considering each has over a hundred million speakers. The aforementioned, along with the Philippines, have a larger English-speaking population than the United Kingdom, the second most populous in terms of speakers on the current chart. Surely they may deserve some form of representation? VGPaleontologist (talk) 01:55, 3 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As every pronunciation guide on individual pages point to this page as the "key" for IPA, this page shouldn't be used to show variations in pronunciation by region. It _should_ map IPA symbols to the sound it's supposed to represent. This is done by giving examples. The table already seems backward. Adding more columns for more countries just makes the purpose of this table less clear than it is already. It's not about population size of countries. The table should provide a standardized guide to what sound a pronunciation symbol is supposed to represent. (The variations, if they exist, of how a word is actually pronounced by region or country can be captured on the individual word pages.)
UPDATE: I should have just pointed you to the text on the page:
For vowels in other dialects, see Wikipedia's IPA chart for English. An image of an old version of these tables is available.
For a fuller list of dialects, see [Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects] </unquote>'
--Liberty Miller (talk) 05:31, 8 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


IPA Reader ( ). Can we use something similar for online pronunciation, using IPA?. For example {{IPA-en-reader|ˈpɪdʒən}} or {{IPA-en-reader|/ˈpɪdʒən/}} . You can see the "What Is This?" / "How Does It Work?" section in BoldLuis (talk) 21:13, 14 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IMO, is not that good, we could get actual people with those accents to say words that have those vowels or consonants. Swerup (talk) 11:54, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Keyword and Diaphoneme[edit]

make a column for keywords that these words fall under: TRAP, BATH, PALM, LOT, CLOTH... and a column for diaphonemes??? Swerup (talk) 11:50, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

another very (should-be-)similar page[edit]

maybe combine them, maybe make them do different things,, Swerup (talk) 11:55, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Inconsistent rhotic 'r'[edit]

Why is the US 'car' vowel /ɑɹ/ but the 'fur' vowel /ɝ/? Should either be /ɑɹ/ and /ɜɹ/ or /ɑ˞/ and /ɝ/, depending on analysis. Since intervocalic 'r' is transcribed /ɹ/, and there is no distinction, IMO it would be hard to justify the latter, but either way we should be consistent. Currently, we have the bizarre situation where we claim RP has a consonantal /ɹ/ in a word like 'her' before a vowel, but GA does not. kwami (talk) 19:30, 9 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Because in "car" there's a vowel immediately followed by /ɹ/, hence notated as two separate characters, whereas in "fur" the vowel itself is R-colored, hence notated as a single composite character (and the R-colored vowel in question is /ɚ/, not /ɝ/). Whoop whoop pull up Bitching Betty ⚧️ Averted crashes 03:20, 26 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
⟨ɚ⟩ is a reduced vowel, but fur has a full (stressed) vowel, so it's /ɝ/ in that system.
Also, this is a phonemic transcription, so whether it's /ɝ/ or /ɜɹ/ or simply /ɹ/ is a matter of analysis. Personally, I analyze it as a syllabic consonant /ɹ/, but this isn't the place to argue about theory, it's simply a pronunciation guide. It's problematic to have two conflicting transcription systems when there is no phonetic difference, and arguably no phonemic difference. kwami (talk) 04:39, 26 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree. I never know when to R-colour and when to use /ɹ/ when doing AmE. – Nixinova [‌T|C] 10:25, 25 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, I made them consistent. See if that works for you. kwami (talk) 21:17, 25 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, /oɹ/ should not be a thing. It's two phonemes, so this notation assumes US has /o/, when it only has /oʊ/. – Nixinova [‌T|C] 06:37, 26 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, and there's also /er/ which should be /eIr/. There are several such adjustments that need to be made, which stand out more clearly once we transcribe /r/ consistently. kwami (talk) 08:56, 26 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Kwamikagami, Nixinova: there was an extensive discussion on /oɹ/ which I didn’t participate in as I’m not knowledgeable about this matter. You should probably raise any proposed changes to this page at the Beer Parlour. — Sgconlaw (talk) 11:59, 26 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just stumbled upon this change and don't find it an improvement. /ɜɹ/ suggests to me a pronunciation that doesn't occur in American English - more like something that you'd hear in Scotland. I'm also surprised by Kwami's argument above that this is a phonemic transcription - it seems to be quite devoted to the details of the actual phonetic realisations in the different varieties, so this sudden turn to abstraction can have a misleading effect. For example, it suggests that the GA and RP pronunciations of a word like fur become the same as soon as there's a vowel after it (fur and..., which they certainly aren't.-- 04:31, 1 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As I said, I'd be happy with /ɹ/, which is how I analyze it. Would that be better? I was trying to change as little as possible, and just iron out the inconsistencies. kwami (talk) 04:34, 1 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

/ɝ/ and /ɚ/[edit]

Recently, the symbols ɝ and ɚ were deleted from the GenAm section (third-to-last row and last row) of the vowel chart. They shouldn't have been deleted! If the current symbols of ɜɹ and əɹ respectively should have simply been included along with a comma rather than deleting the standard symbol. SacredForest777 (talk) 21:25, 20 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Theknightwho: I was quite surprised to see t͡θ referred to as a phonemic consonant: it is absent from any description of English consonant phonemes that I have ever seen. Is there any source for that analysis? "eighth" is certainly an unusual word, but what obstacle is there to interpreting it as ending in a cluster /tθ/, like the /dθ/ cluster in "width" or the /nθ/ cluster in "tenth" (both of which I think are words that might also have [t͡θ] on the phonetic level in my pronunciation)? The transcription /eɪtθ/ fits also with its morphological structure as eight /eɪt/ + -th /θ/. Urszag (talk) 00:09, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I was looking at the Dictionary of the British English Spelling System, which is more interested in the fact that it's an irregular pronunciation of th (and ambiguous on whether it's /tθ/ or /t͡θ/). That being said, as a native speaker of RP British English, I'm not convinced that /tθ/ is the right analysis, since the sound is realised as a single unit, not as two separate phonemes. It's certainly possible to pronounce it as /tθ/, but it sounds really unnatural to my ear. Theknightwho (talk) 00:15, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's definitely an irregularity from the point of view of spelling to pronunciation. A similar irregularity is found in the spelling of "eighteen", which is not flapped in American English: it seems more parsimonious to assume an unwritten geminate /ˈeɪtˈtin/ than to postulate a new phoneme /tː/ to account for this single data point. The way that a sound is realized is a matter of phonetics, not phonemic description: it being pronounced as a single sound would justify the transcription [t͡θ], but doesn't necessarily justify the phonemic analysis /t͡θ/. This seems parallel to me to the case of words ending in /ts/: plural formation makes it clear that this is /t/ + /s/ on the phonemic level, whereas I think it is often realized phonetically as an affricate (for comparison, in German, which does have [t͡s] as a phoneme, I think word-final /ts/ and /t͡s/ are basically merged in realization). Many other phonemic clusters in English are realized phonetically as something more complicated than two phones in sequence: e.g. /tr/ and /dr/ are often affricated, /pl/ and /kl/ show devoicing of the sonorant, /ms/, /ns/, /mf/, /nθ/ etc. are prone in some accents to having epenethetic stops or affrication.--Urszag (talk) 00:37, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

û and ûr[edit]

Are û and ûr the same? See [1] and Zhouzhi, Zhijiang. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 18:47, 11 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Spaning columns stops easy look-up by eye[edit]

Because some table cells span multiple columns, e.g. eɪ, they're not found when scanning down a column. This is annoying as there are normally multiple things to look up and memorise as the whole word's pronunciation is attempted. The spanning cells should be replaced with ones which cover just a 1x1 space in the table even though that means duplication. Ralph Corderoy (talk) 14:08, 9 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]