Wiktionary talk:Pronunciation/Collected archive

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This page is a collected archive of pronunciation-related discussions from the various community fora (Beer Parlour, Information Desk, Grease Pit, Tea Room) and is arranged chronologically.

See also: Wiktionary:Grease pit/Problems displaying IPA + Classes for support of Unicode ranges


Problem with IPA transcription[edit]

copied from Wiktionary talk:IPA Characters

Someone has transcribed English digraph ng by the [ɳ] (retroflex nasal) IPA symbol. It should be [ŋ] (velar nasal) instead. Vincent 01:25, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Since you are the one who knows where this is happening feel free to change it, and discuss it with the offender, who probably doesn't know the difference. Eclecticology 07:14, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)
A linguistics question that you may have to read aloud: I've seen the -nk phonetic as in "ink" transcribed as /ŋk/. For the -ng phonetic as in "-ing", what is the sound that sometimes follows /ŋ/? I don't know how to illustrate it. Perhaps it is most notable in "dang it" because of the ability to insert various strengths of /g/ in that case. In a not-so-hick pronunciation though, and in other vowel-linked combinations like "sing a song about..." there's still a pop after /ŋ/. It'll probably be pretty hard to hear because it's something I never noticed until I came to Taiwan, where a similar sound in Chinese is used without a pop at the end of syllables. But I'm pretty sure it's there, and I'm wondering if maybe it's the velar approximant /ɰ/, even though it's supposedly unused in English. Davilla 06:54, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
/ŋk/ is standard for "-nk-". For "-ng-" there are two possibilities: "singer" contains /ŋ/ only whereas "finger" contains /ŋg/. There are some dialects where "-ng-" is always pronounced as /nŋ/. I had a friend with British/Australian upbringing who had this pronunciation and was not aware of it until I pointed it out to him. I don't know which part of English he and his parents were from. In cases such as this it's only relevant for narrow transcriptions - which are not the domain of dictionaries because there are so many variants. Dictionaries instead use broad transcriptions from which people familiar with certain dialects can usually derive those particular pronunciations. You would have to consult a linguist familiar with IPA for a narrow transcription of the particular pronunciation you are referring to. — Hippietrail 19:15, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, for some words even the AHD shows the equivalent of /ŋg/ as in "finger". What I'm talking about is the other possibility, as in "singer" or the various examples I cited above, as it applies to a broad transcription, that is, all accents, although the question is certainly still terrain for a linguist. In passing from /ŋ/ to /ɝ/ or another vowel, there is an intermediate sound, a pop, that isn't present when passing from /ŋ/ to a consonant sound such as /k/. This is consistent with the dropping of final consonants in English if the proper transcription of -ng were in fact /ŋɰ/ or something similar. It's also consistent with the inability of Chinese to end speech with a consonant sound, since the pop is not present in the pronunciation of ㄤ or ㄥ at the end of a word. A result of this is that my students do not pronounce "pong" the same way I do, even though all of the sounds in /pʰɑŋ/ and shared between Chinese and English. Davilla 21:53, 10 February 2006 (UTC)


IPA Characters[edit]

copied from Wiktionary talk:IPA Characters

I was wondering exactly how the IPA characters should be represented in the pronunciation. I copied the chars out of the incomplete quick-reference chart, but that doesn't tell me exactly what they are. The cross-reference for ɪ says "Iota", so I think you're simply using greek characters, but Unicode has a special range for IPA and some special characters don't have isomorphs anywhere else.

In checking again to get things straight for this question, I answered the first part of this myself: by pasting the browser's text into Unipad, I see that the ɪ is in fact encoded as U+026A, the IPA version.

So, how many people use the proper ˈ character (U+2C8) rather than ' (appostrophe)?

How does the browser manage to display them? Are the IPA characters in the basic Windows fonts now, or is the browser smart enough now to display them anyway? I wonder, because they are bolder than the regular letters, rather than matching what's around them exactly.

Długosz 21:43, 11 Mar 2004 (UTC)

"Iota" is the name for the /ɪ/ symbol of IPA, but it is not the same symbol as the Greek letter "iota" ("Ι", "ι"). They just happen to have the same name, that is all.
How many people use the proper IPA stress mark? Well, I always do, and it is listed in the IPA characters available from the menu at the bottom of the page you are editing, but I'm sure lots of people don't realise this is what should be used. I sometimes see a colon used in IPA instead of the length mark ("ː").
I don't know whether it is the browser or the operating system that provides these. The IPA characters are part of Unicode, but not all browsers in all operating systems can display them. Firefox in Windows has no problem, but in Linux, I get the wrong characters for these symbols (maybe they are just not there in my Linux installation).
Incidentally, this is the principal reason for giving pronunciations in SAMPA, which uses ASCII characters from 33 to 127, which, as well as being easily entered using the keyboard, should be displayed correctly on any computer. — Paul G 16:38, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

IPA updated?[edit]

copied from Wiktionary talk:IPA Characters

I am familiar with a version of IPA from a decade or so ago. Here, the sound for "I"/"eye" is transcribed /aɪ/ (aI (?) in SAMPA). However, in the latest Shorter Oxford English Dictionary I think it was, this was updated to /ʌɪ/ (VI (?) in SAMPA). There were other changes to some other vowels as well. I've noticed that some people here use /ɔʊ/ for "oh"/"owe" while the IPA I am familiar with is /əʊ/. This might be another of the "updated" vowels that the SOED is using. No doubt the "current" version of IPA is documented somewhere on the Web. What standard should we be using here? -- Paul G 16:47, 26 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I went to the trouble of (starting to) document the way I use it, at WEAE. I've used əʊ for "low", "locate" as a narrow transcription, as it tends to get dipthong'ed in American. But I'm using /o/ for the "generic" (broad in sound but detailed in enunciation) transcriptions here. A while back, I corresponded with other IPA users and decided to stick with /aɪ/ as the symbol even though it does NOT sound like that, here and now. It's what people expect, and the actual vowel sound will differ (consistantly) by region and period. Personally, I think it's more like /ʌi/ than /ʌɪ/, and with enough extra markings I could convey the exact Texas drawl or New Yolk variation. I also say /əʊ/ or /ʌʊ/.
So what is the "current" version: same as it always was. Record the detailed exact accent used, or pick a set of symbols for prototype sounds and document the range of sounds that make no difference in meaning. In the latter kind of transcription, it can't match the canonocal sounds, or you'd need a different dictionary for each major market!
The IPA is the same as it has always been. What you are seeing is changes in the standard pronunciations. —Muke Tever 16:59, 26 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I agree with this, especially with vowels. Any phonetic transcription, whether IPA, SAMPA or something completely different is never better than approximate. That partly explains why English is spoken in different places with different accents. I tend to avoid pronunciation issues unless its there is a significant difference between two pronunciations such as in distinguishing between the verb and noun forms for "record". Eclecticology 20:52, 26 Mar 2004 (UTC)
SAMPA and the phonetic system of any dictionary like AHD are approximate because of regional variations. IPA can be pretty damn precise. What's approximate is the way we're using it. Davilla 05:13, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
If possible, we should be consistent and use either /aɪ/ or /ʌɪ/. Which one, I don't think matters (although Oxford is likely to reflect the most up-to-date thinking on standard British pronunciation). I don't think I'd know the difference unless (possibly) I heard them side by side. I might tend to favour /aɪ/ because I think it's more obvious how to pronounce it. Amatlexico 21:51, 26 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I've been using Wikipedia as a reference: w:SAMPA chart for English gives examples of the usual English phonemes; w:SAMPA chart maps between SAMPA and IPA. Ortonmc 22:10, 26 Mar 2004 (UTC)

IPA symbol for French uvular "r"[edit]

copied from Wiktionary talk:IPA Characters

I've just been editing the entry for chercher and have come to wonder what the standard symbol is to use for the French uvular "r" in IPA. Is it /ʀ/ or /ʁ/? I seem to recall it is the former, but I don't have a French dictionary to hand to verify this.

Wikipedia says that /ʀ/ is the Parisian pronunciation (a trill) while /ʁ/ is a fricative, used by most of the rest of France. I tend to use a fricative, mainly because it's easier to pronounce, I expect. Given that /ʀ/ is Parisian, I suppose that makes it the standard.

Que disent nos contributeurs francophones?

Paul G 10:26, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

/ʁ/ is the pronunciation that French SAMPA /R/ implies; X-SAMPA /R/, which is equal to /ʁ/, specifically uses French roi as its example. —Muke Tever 16:25, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I'll check my Collins French-English dictionary when I remember to, and report back. I'm fairly sure that my monolingual French dictionary uses /r/ (presumably because it does not need to distinguish between this variety of "r" and any other). — Paul G 17:22, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I have seen several symbols used by several dictionaries. In fact I see the same situation with most languages. I think we should take the monolingual dictionary approach. That way we'll be able to use the same pronunciation section on every dictionary in the future when content-sharing will be possible. A bulky phonetics textbooks I read months ago talked about the concept of "Romanicness". The principle is to always choose the symbols which most resemble those in the Roman alphabet. Only choose more exotic ones when there is a need to distinguish. Narrow transcriptions will of course use more exotic IPA symbols. This is the same reason we should always use "r" in English and not the exotic retroflex and upside-down variants that some contributors were using some months ago. — Hippietrail 01:08, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
In French, the "r" is pronounced [ʁ], everywhere, especially in Paris. In Old French, it was pronounced [r] (trilled). I don't think the [ʀ] phonem is used in any French dialect.
I think it's really a bad idea to use a monolingual approach since Wiktionary is multilingual. In the French Wiktionary, we use the specific [ʁ] phonem everywhere, despite it's not easy to write it. If you take a monolingual approach, with phonologic transcription (only making distinction between different pronunciations of the letter in one specific point of view, for example a language) instead of phonetic transcription, it will be useless for non-English users : they won't know the "r" pronunciation in English isn't the same as in French, etc. SergeBibauw 02:39, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Just remember, most translating dictionaries only have to deal with two languages so they only have to come up with a set of symbols that can handle the commonalities and differences between those. They then do use only broad transcriptions, not the narrow transcriptions which would be a nightmare and has been discussed before. Trying to come up with a set of symbols which works for all languages without being constantly argued over would be nigh on impossible. — Hippietrail 04:58, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
But that is exactly what IPA is intended to do – it is the International Phonetic Alphabet, after all. The reason it works for all languages is that it represents articulations of the organs of speech. So /ʁ/ stands for a uvular fricative rather than the less precise and somewhat subjective "r sound as it is spoken in France". Incidentally, my bilingual dictionary uses /ʀ/, which seems to contradict what SergeBibauw says. This dictionary is, however, the 1978 edition, and IPA has been updated since then. — Paul G 16:44, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Even some bilingual Fr-En dictionaries use [r] for both the English and French 'r' (e.g. Harrap's), while Collins uses [R] for French (which isn't strictly speaking the most correct symbol). Whatever choice we make with 'r's, Hippietrail is quite right about the IPA. It would actually be unwise for us to attempt to use the IPA to represent the precise pronunciation of French - for reasons I'll come on to in a moment. There is no phonemic difference between [r] and [R] in either language.

Note that English speakers aspirate initial 'p' and 'b', particularly when they precede a vowel; French speakers don't. Similarly, English speakers have an alveolar articulation of 't', 'd' and usually 'n', while French speakers have a dental articulation. To be clear, there are two ways of transcribing. One is called phonetic or narrow transcription - this is detailed. The other is called phonemic or broad transcription. A broad transcription of "pen" is what is found in dictionaries, regardless of whether they are monolingual or bilingual: [pεn] rather than the more accurate (narrow) transcription of /phε~n/. I assume we won't attempt narrow transcription. Technically, narrow transcriptions should be within / / and broad ones within [ ], according to David Crystal, but he allows that "in the broadest possible sense", a broad transcription can be treated as a narrow one. So, there is more than one way to write the same thing in the IPA. Like hippietrail I do seem to remember reading somewhere, though I can't say where, about the principle of "romanicity", meaning that linguists sometimes choose to use a less precise approximation (in terms of transcription) because the symbol is more familiar and there is no phonemic distinction between the sounds within the language. --Richard 18:43, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

How do you pronounce the english word "balcony" in spanish?[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2004

The Spanish for "balcony" is balcón, which is pronounced [ßalkón] in IPA transcription, or approximately "bahl-KAWN." --Gelu Ignisque

Representing pronunciation[edit]

copied from Wiktionary talk:Representing pronunciation

I have begun adding AHD (American Heritage Dictionary) pronunciations as given by dictionary.com - mainly because most US dictionaries don't use IPA.

  • AHD pronunciation isn't as precise as IPA so I think it should be used only for American pronunciations.
Can AHD be freely used? We are not supposed to copy content from dictionaries. If a dictionary has the pronunciation in AHD, it is not forbidden to convert it to IPA yourself.Polyglot 22:50, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I've just been using "AHD" because I couldn't find a better term. After doing more research I've learned that American dictionaries each roll their own pronunciation scheme although most have much in common and Unicode has all the necessary characters though I can't find a font yet which includes the character to distinguish the "oo" in "foot" from that in "hoot". I doubt that it's possible to copyright a pronunciation scheme though the pronunciation guide page in a dictionary is surely copyrighted and the entries, including pronunciations would also be protected. I bet this actually would coverting them from one representation to another. Then again, the pronunciations of words themselves are in the public domain...
I do think it's worth having an "American Dictionary" field since Americans are not accustomed to IPA or sampa from that matter. It may be worth making our own version and giving it a different name however. You can read about the various dictionaries' versions here: http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxhowtor.html Hippietrail 12:36, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)
  • IPA is designed to be able to represent all pronunciations so it can be used for US as well as British pronunciations.
And the pronunciations of most any other language. That's why it would be a good idea to standardize on IPA, I think.Polyglot 22:50, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)
  • SAMPA is designed to be a 1:1 mapping of IPA onto ASCII so the IPA and SAMPA lines should match exactly.
  • Many functional words such as "the", "was", "than", have a stressed and an unstressed pronunciation.
  • Many words have pronunciation variants even in the same part of speech.
I think we have no choice but to add them all and comment when or where they are used.Polyglot 22:50, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Actually my question isn't about whether to add them but how to add them. Should we have transcription types across and pronunciation variations down? What happens when there are more than two kinds of differences? Currently we have one line for IPA and one for SAMPA but when there are different pronunciations various articles do various things. We need one standard way. Take a look at chalk right now for instance. Hippietrail 12:36, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)
  • Dictionaries don't always agree on which variants are valid or which order to arrange them in.
We can sail our own course.Polyglot 22:50, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)
  • Dictionaries don't agree on how to use IPA. For instance, OED uses ɛ, /E/ where other British dictionaries use e, /e/.
e is what you hear in sail, gate, say. veel (nl), été (fr)
ɛ is what you hear in sel, get, letter, sé (es), vet (nl), lettre (fr)
Dictionaries that don't use them this way are plain wrong. Polyglot 22:50, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)
It's really not so black and white. Can you give me a reference where I can read why my Larousse dictionary is plain wrong. I can dig up some references on how complex the issue really is if you like. I've been going through the pronunciation guides in all the major dictionaries in my collection and my local library and I can assure you there is much variation - and for good reason. Hippietrail 12:36, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)
  • Some IPA dictionaries use a superscript r to show "linking r" whereas I have been using (r). Using the superscript looks better but spoils being able to cut and paste from Wiktionary's IPA.
Actually I've found IPA ʴ /ʴ/ which is a superscript inverted r designed to show rhoticity. This would be the best candidate. My Larouuse shows "leather" as [ˈleðər], but we could show [ˈleðəʴ], ["leD@`].Hippietrail 12:36, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Don't forget /lɛ.ðɚ/ ? That is, there is a symbol specifically for the "er" sound.
Well "ɚ" etc are designed to to show specifically rhotacised vowels. In English this is specific to certain dialects so perfect for transcribing American pronunciation but not for British or Australian or for trying to find a unifying transcription. It certainly shouldn't be used for "connecting r". Hippietrail 04:40, 23 Mar 2004 (UTC)
  • Some dictionaries use a schwa in "syllabic" endings such as in "simple" /sImp@l/, some do not: /sImpl/. The same (equivalent) may be true for American dictionaries.
I hear the @, so I believe it makes sense to write it. Polyglot 22:50, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)
You hear it, many trained linguists do not. To my ears as a native speaker it's clearly unclear. IPA uses a small vertical line below the letter to show that it is syllabic. In Unicode it is ̩ /o̩/ and SAMPA uses /=/ before the syllabic letter. My Larousse and Collins (European) dictionaries on my desk all give "simple" as [sɪmpl], [sImpl], using a syllabic [l] with no diacritic but other larger dictionaries I've consulted give [sɪmpl̩], [sImp=l]. Dictionary.com (American) doesn't use IPA but does insert an explicit schwa. Hippietrail 12:36, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Another system, which I think makes a lot of sense, is to include the @ but raise it (write it as a superscript). I don't think it makes sense to miss out the schwa entirely because the "pl" sound as the end of "simple" is so different to that at the start of "plough". By contrast, "pl" (with optional schwa at the end rather than in the middle) would be a good transcription of how "simple" is pronounced in French. Amatlexico 21:04, 23 Mar 2004 (UTC)
To differentiate the French and American differences in pronunciation of syllabic consonants it would make sense to use /5=/ for the American pronunciation, and /l=/ for the French. (Sorry, I can't see the IPA.) In fact I wouldn't be surprised if this standard is already applied.
I assure you that /@l/ (or rather /@5/) is not the same! As an example, consider the last syllable of "mountain", which can be pronounced as either /@n/ (moun-tun) or /n=/ (moun-tn). The same can't be done for "simple", just try saying it! (sim-pul) Davilla
Northern English, Scots etc. has (sim-pul). I tried saying it and it was simple :-) We don't have the "dark L" sound of "pull", "well", "simple", etc. so much so that children often end up pronouncing "pull" as ("pul-l@"). As the dark L is dialectal and doesn't carry meaning, it possibly isn't worth the effort of distinguishing this from the clear form. Cf. comments at end of teaching pronunciation of dark L.
  • Should we have a line for each pronunciation/regional/stressed variation and put AHD/IPA/SAMPA together on that line?
  • Should we have a line for each of AHD/IPA/SAMPA and put region/stressed/unstressed together on that line?
  • Is there another way to arrange them?
we could use a table, but it's not practical to edit those. So we should try to avoid it.Polyglot 22:50, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Hippietrail 01:45, 28 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Sorry for writing through your text Polyglot 22:50, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)


copied from Wiktionary talk:Representing pronunciation

All dictionaries that I know of use /tr/ in the phonetical spelling of words such as "trash", "trail", and "true". I believe the actual pronunciation is with a ch sound or something similar. I'm wondering if the distinction in my ears might be a result of a slight accustomization to the Mandarin spoken around me. In other words, am I hearing something now that most English speakers cannot hear, or that they simply have not noticed? For most of these words, I find it particularly difficult and awkward to say them without turning the stop into an affricate. At least I think that's what's happening, as I've never studied linguistics formally. Can anyone confirm, deny, or otherwise shed light on this? Davilla 06:52, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

It appears that what you're hearing is the incidental fricative between "t" and Americanized "r". If you wanted to document every single phase of the changing sound, it could be transcribed as "t-th-sh-ch-r", but that would be ridiculous :-) With trilled "r", there is no fricative: just "t" then "r". rfsmit
Putting the humor aside, sh=/ʃ/ is related to ch=/tʃ/ (and neither th sound is present). Really I'm asking if "trash" should really be /tʃræʃ/ instead of /træʃ/. Davilla 04:38, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
The pronunciation /tʃræʃ/ is considered to be incorrect (and even illiterate) in standard English. Careful speakers still say /træʃ/. However, /tʃræʃ/ is standard in Cockney and some other accents and dialects.
It is possible that in the future, /tʃr/ will become the standard pronunciation of "tr", as has happened with with other combinations of sounds. For example, the pronunciation of "suit" as /sjuːt/ ("syoot") is now considered old-fashioned or "upper-class" in UK English, with most speakers using /suːt/ instead. Some UK speakers pronounce "new" as /nuː/ ("noo"), as is standard in the US, rather than /njuː/. The pronunciation without the /j/ is currently non-standard in Received Pronunciation, but the great influence of US English on UK English means that the /j/ following a consonant might one day be lost in UK English.
Another example of this sort of change is the pronunciation of "wh". The Received Pronunciation for this is /ʍ/ (an unvoiced /w/, pronounced like "w" without moving the vocal cords), sometimes transcribed as /hw/. This is still standard in Scottish English, but is now uncommon among most English speakers in England, who replace it with /w/. Thus "which" was once commonly pronounced /ʍɪtʃ/ but is now usually pronounced /wɪtʃ/, making it a homophone of "witch". — Paul G 18:45, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Sounds believable—in fact I've seen some of this before—although I think the /ʃ/ in /tʃr/ can often be weak, and usually weaker than "ch". What's difficult is eliminating it altogether. What would be more descriptive are audio files. In particular I'd like to hear what you think /tr/ sounds like... if it's possible to find someone who still uses that pronunciation without being conscious of it. Davilla 03:19, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
"Correct", "incorrect", and "careful" has nothing to do with it. As rfsmit points out, a very brief fricative is practically unavoidable between a /t/ (not a regular [t], but one whose place of articulation has changed to match the following [ɹ]) and an /r/. The resulting [ʃ] or [ʂ] is usually shorter than the fricative in /tʃ/, as Davilla notes, but it's also quite unlike the standard release burst and aspiration you'd get between a /t/ and a vowel. Some pre-school children spontaneously classify the whole ambiguous sequence as /tr/, others spontaneously classify it as /tʃr/, most probably don't bother classifying it at all until their grade school teachers start beating the /tr/ classification into their heads as part of teaching reading. But /tr/ is no more physically accurate than /tʃr/ (nor even more psychologically accurate for many people).
I'm not sure exactly what Paul G is picking up on in Cockney English -- it's quite probable that Cockney has an even longer fricative period here than other dialects of English. I've never myself noticed anything striking about /tr/ clusters in the times I've listened to Cockney speakers, but I've hardly been conditioned to pick up on every subtle difference between British accents.
Practically, for Wiktionary transcriptions, we should keep using /tr/, since 99% of speakers have had that classification beaten into their heads as children. /tʃr/ would just confuse them, and there's zero chance of getting everyone to use it consistently. But, hey, Davilla, don't think of your /tʃr/ intuitions as substandard English. Think of them as having excellent ears and the strength of character to resist years of indoctrination. :-) Keffy 04:07, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Not my ears, actually. Those of my Chinese students. And yes, I did correct them, initially. Davilla 14:40, 15 February 2006 (UTC)


Pronunciation of Iapetos[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2005

This came up on an astronomy forum. You can see my comments at http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=394326#394326 .

The informal pronunciation given in Wikipedia doesn't match the that given by dictionaries, and doesn't follow what the "proper" pronunciation ought to be.

So, what should it be? I think astronomers have not said it much until last week, so an incorrect pronunciation is just the guess of who's reading the paper rather than a long-established practice.


Well, if you, like me, believe firmly in etymology -- which is not always the best guide to modern use -- in the original Greek (and subsequent Latin) it's a long I, with the rest of the vowels short; as Latinate stress is usually given to borrowed Greek words, one would expect overall the best pronunciation to be /aɪˈæpɪtəs/ (or "eye-APP-it-us", for the IPA-impaired). I don't know what current or former practice of the word is though. —Muke Tever 18:22, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
[emendation, for future reference -- Latinate stress is often given to words, but there was a rule happening around Middle English that moved that stress back a foot, which is why we say NAtion (na-ti-ón to ná-ti-on) and not naTION like it still is in Spanish (nación). But there aren't enough syllables in this word for that rule to apply.] —Muke Tever 18:25, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
How do you insert IPA symbols into a wiki? --Gelu Ignisque
Er, same way as you insert any Unicode characters into a document. The method will vary widely with the kind of operating system your computer is using. If you mean me, personally, I have a (slightly incomplete) IPA keyboard installed, which I supplement with judicious use of Windows Character Map. —Muke Tever 16:17, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Approximant sonorants[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2005

While writing the pronunciation for mandible, I came across a problem: I can't remember the notation for (or our policy on) a sonorant consonant (a consonant acting as a vowel/forming a syllable). I've used a schwa (ə) for the sound for the time being, but I'm not happy with it. Any help? --Wytukaze 11:58, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

A syllabic consonant (which doesn't need to be a sonorant, though it usually is) is notated in IPA by a line underneath; U+0329, as, [l̩]. In X-SAMPA (and SAMPA for English) it is the equals sign, as, [l=]. In "dictionary" notation it's either [əl] or just [l], depending on the dictionary. —Muke Tever 17:19, 8 May 2005 (UTC)


copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2005

I never knew why we have only a category for heteronyms and list homophones, quite for certain. From the definitions provided here on Wiktionary (conferring with Wikipedia) I came up with the little truth table that is now on heteronym, homonym, homograph and homophone.

Given the definitions we have for these terms, I'm not convinced that Category:English heteronyms is the correct category...or that that should be a sub category of Category:English homonyms? Would it be helpful to also break out Category:English homographs and Category:English homophones? Did I get the names right? Did I spell them right for once? Nitpickers, please nitpick these to correction!

--Connel MacKenzie 06:22, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)


UK county names ending in -shire[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

In the UK, the -shire ending for names of UK counties is pronounced "shuh" (shə, /ʃə/, /S@/). Is the correct US pronunciation of these really "shyr" (shīr, /ʃaɪr/, /SaIr/, to rhyme with "fire"), or is that pronunciation only used by Americans who are unaware of the "shuh" pronunciation? (This is not to denounce Americans as ignorant - I'm just looking for the correct US pronunciation.) See, for example, the pronunciation I've added to Gloucestershire. — Paul G 11:53, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Well, I'm a Swede and, while we learn in school to pronounce words the British way, I thought /ʃaɪr/ was the normal prounciation even in British English. /ʃə/ sounds snobbish to me, but perhaps I have seen too many American movies or that I just wasn't paying attention while in school. --Patrik Stridvall 13:23, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
There's something peculiar about the idea of a "correct" American pronunciation. The state of New Hampshire is not usually pronounced to rhyme with "fire". Even in Britain I would expect that there could be some variation in how the final "r" is handled. This seems to justify my usual avoidance of pronunciation issues. Eclecticology 17:13, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

The Scots always use 'shire' (=fire) almost rolling the r. Local accent/dialect plays a big part in how the ending is used in England and Wales. In the northeast of England 'shah' is shortened to 'sha' (with a hard 'a'). NW.

The RP is definitely "shuh", and so this is the pronunciation given in the entry. This applies to the pronunciation of "New Hampshire" as well. This pronunciation is not considered snobbish in the UK (at least, not in England). The word "shire" by itself rhymes with "fire", even when used to mean "those counties ending in -shire". — Paul G 18:18, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
What is a "hard a"? — Paul G 18:18, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

I've always said Gloucestershire like "fire" and don't recall hearing the "shuh" for any name besides New Hampshire. --Connel MacKenzie T C 07:28, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

You were mistaken. It is Glosster-shuh, Har-ford-shuh, Oxford-shuh, Came-bridge-shuh, etc. But as stated, many Scots pronounce Scottish counties -shyr. Kittybrewster 00:00, 5 March 2006 (UTC)


copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

Is the IPA on that proper? It has a ♪ symbol, and a smiley. Looks like a joke to me.

The IPA, which is included, as IPA should be, between // slashes, is (though I probably incline more to pronouncing it with /ɑ/ rather than /ə/). The music note and the smiley are a comment added to the side, and are probably safely removable. —Muke Tever 17:55, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Pronunciation fixed and completed. — Paul G 18:28, 30 January 2006 (UTC)


copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

This one has one etymology but two different pronunciations for adjective and verb. I've formatted it with ===pron 1=== and ===pron 2===, or should I put the pronunciations after the PoS? — Vildricianus 14:20, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

There is a single pronunciation section for such words (which are known as heteronyms). See absent for the format, and Category:English_heteronyms for a list of words marked as heteronyms in Wiktionary. — 16:00, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, I think my format of absent was more accurate, as it listed the pronunciations where they belonged, under the various etymology headers. — Vildricianus 16:42, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

In the case of multiple etymologies, pronunciation sections are supposed to be subordinate to the etymology sections...as are all headings (except ==Language==, which the multiple etymologies are subordinate to.)
===Etym 1===
====all other headers at this level====
===Etym 2===
I don't like that format myself, but that is what is done here. --Connel MacKenzie T C 21:19, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

The issue is that there's only one etymology. — Vildricianus 21:27, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Ah. In that case, I'd prefer a single ===Pronunciation=== section with each pronunciation broken out (similar to the way translations are broken out) as Adjective then Verb. --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:23, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
  • I would do the same with the Pron sections as we do with the Etym sections: make more than one with all subordinate headings 1 level more than usual:
===See also===

Hippietrail 23:06, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

That's exactly what I was thinking. Each pronunciation belongs near the POS it represents, even more so when there's only one POS with two different pronunciations (no example ready). — Vildricianus 09:01, 9 February 2006 (UTC)


copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

sinh has 3 pronunciations. How odd. Any other words have 3 pronunciations? See Talk:sinh and discuss there on editting formalities for multiple prons, i.e should it go:


  1. Like sinch
  2. Like sinech
  3. Sine H
  4. shine

It maketh me scratch my metapohrical head anyway. --Expurgator t(c) 21:44, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

"a historic" or "an historic"?[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

I'm confused, becuase I've seen "an" used before "historic" sometimes instead of "a". The historic entry doesn't say anything about why this would be, and the dictionary.com example shows "a historic". Isn't "an" used only before vowel sounds? -- Creidieki 07:40, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Some people pronounce the H, some don't, and a/an would be appropriate depending. Davilla 17:05, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Some people also pronounce the H and still use "an". This has always sounded wrong to me but often this is done by the kind of people who correct others' English. — Hippietrail 19:07, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Careful, Hippietrail. You might make me want to follow you around correcting your grammar, and I'll bring a couple of countries along with me to help. It's one of those British-tends-more, American-tends-less things. For almost everyone who uses an before H, the syllabe with the H must be unstressed. So "an hisTORical" is fine, "an HIStory" would be weird. H is a pretty wimpy consonant at the best of times, and in an unstressed syllable it's often too wimpy to keep the N from popping up. -- Keffy 19:30, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Now that you mention it it does feel "British" to me though I'm pretty certain I've heard it discussed that some Americans do it too and I've definitely known many many British people, especially of a younger generation, who do not do it. In Australia there was a "proper" way of talking which has almost died out. It was the people who used this mode of speech in Australia that tended to say "An historical ...". — Hippietrail 19:41, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I wasn't really sure what to say about this in the historic article. I noted the existence of the issue, which I think is an improvement over no mention. I wasn't sure how to format it. -- Creidieki 20:51, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
The French consider H to be a vowel and some users of RP will do the same. I have noticed BBC newsreaders do this kind of thing. It always seems pretentious to me. MGSpiller 01:04, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
It does seem pretentious now, but it used to be incorrect to do otherwise than use "an" before H+vowel. Nowadays it only seems to crop up with phrases like "an historic occasion" which politicians and newsreaders like. I would describe it as formal, or maybe even formal passing into archaic. Also, pace MGSpiller, consonantal H does exist in French, eg la hache (not l'hache). Widsith 02:35, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough, my French is rather sketchy. Indeed I'm not entirely sure what you mean by pace, I would expect en passant from the context. MGSpiller 12:38, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Erk, it has another definition which isn't on here yet. It's a Latin term which you add before a person's name as a gesture of respect when you're about to correct them, roughly meaning "with all due respect to...". Quite often it's used ironically, though it wasn't by me! Actually, it's probably just as pretentious as "an historic"... Widsith 08:21, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
The letter h is indeed a consonant in French, just as in English. It is always silent at the beginning of words, but this does not make it a vowel (just as the silent h in English words such as "hour" and "honest" is not a vowel).
There are two varieties of h in French: "h muet" ("silent h") and h aspiré ("aspirate h"). Neither is pronounced in modern French, but words beginning with h muet cause certain preceding words to undergo elision or liaison, while this does not happen with those beginning with h aspiré. Elision means the contraction of certain words (such as "le", "la" and "de"); liaison means the pronunciation of the final, usually silent, consonant of the preceding word.
For example, "homme" ("man") begins with an h muet, so we have:
  • l'homme ("the man"): elision of "le" ("the")
  • des hommes ("some men"), which is pronounced /dɛzɔm/ rather than /dɛ ɔm/): liaison (the "s" of "des" is pronounced, which, usually, it is not)
In contrast, "hibou" ("owl") begins with an h aspiré", so we have:
  • le hibou ("the owl"): no elision
  • des hiboux ("some owls"), which is pronounced /dɛ ibu/: no liaison
Some words beginning with h come from French and were once pronounced similarly to how they are pronounced in French. Most of these words have ended up with the h being pronounced but a few haven't (such as "honest"). "Hotel" is one example - you'll still hear some older people pronounce it with a silent h (and I'm not talking about dropping the h - they would never pronounce it). Hence they it is quite correct for them to say "an hotel".
As Keffy says, the stress must be on a syllable other than the first for "an" to be used. Saying "an historic..." is popular with BBC newsreaders (and they seem to be among the few people in the country who use "an" instead of "a" here) but it is not really standard UK English any more (in that pretty much everyone says "a historic...").
I would agree with Widsmith that it sounds pretentious but would prefer to mark it as "old-fashioned" or "dated" rather than "archaic", as many older people (and the BBC) still use it. — Paul G 15:28, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes that sounds better. By the way it's Widsith (Old English "far-traveller") not Widsmith (maker of wids). Widsith 08:21, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Oops. I was concentrating on what I was writing and overlooked the correct spelling of your name. Sorry. — Paul G 09:35, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
For this old British wrinkly, "an (h)istoric" seems to run together easily, whereas "a Historic" seems to have a little judder of a pause before the H, and seems a little unnatural. SemperBlotto 09:54, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
From this British whippersnapper, I agree with SemperBlotto: "a historic" sounds jarred and unnatural. It's somewhere inbetween "an hour" (universal) and "an horse" (wrong). Because the "h" is unstressed, it tends to be left out and you end up saying "istoric", in which case you'd say "an" but, if you were to deliberately make yourself say the "h", then you would use "a". Or at least, that's my understanding of it. Celestianpower 09:44, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Another note: although, as mentioned above, words beginning with H generally took ‘an’ only if they were stressed on a syllable other than the first, that rule is relatively recent. Chaucer for example could write ‘an hill’. Widsith 06:19, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Audio in WOTD[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Grease pit/2007/January

Should a link to {{audio|{{{5|en-us-{{{1}}}}}}.ogg}} be added? Could having an audio file be made a criteria for WOTDs? --Connel MacKenzie T C 17:49, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

I think Dvortygirl has been very good about adding pronunciations for each of these. Is there any opinion, one way or another, regarding audio on Main Page/here? --Connel MacKenzie T C 16:57, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
AOTD? Included somewhere in this template? Yes please! I think there is enough audio to cover a couple of years, so this shouldn't be a problem. —Vildricianus 19:31, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Done. --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:18, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm afraid we'll have to make it more complicated and not show an audio link when there's no such file. June 7 has a redlink. — Vildricianus 09:45, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
I've added #IFEXIST to {{wotd}} but we'll see in a few hours if it works correctly, across to commons files. --Connel MacKenzie T C 13:54, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

We need two tricks for audio.

  1. In general, the loudspeaker image should be clickable, bringing the clicker to the audio file or file description page, instead of to the image. Can be fixed using either CSS or {{click}}. See w:Template:Audio.
    In the interest of consistency, e.g. {{wiktionarysister}}, I think {{click}} is the better of those two options. --Connel MacKenzie T C 19:21, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
    Perhaps. It uses bad tricks, though, being not very compatible. Perhaps CSS hacks will be useful here after all. — Vildricianus 19:34, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
  2. In the WOTD, I suggest there be only the loudspeaker icon, clickable then. It's best to get rid of the "Listen".

Vildricianus 11:40, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

I've conditionally removed "file" in {{audio}}, stopping short of linking the icon as you say. Perhaps a separate {{wotdAudio}} or something? --Connel MacKenzie T C 13:54, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm removing it completely from the template for now. Perhaps back later today. — Vildricianus 19:34, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

#ifexist: can't check Commons files. We may need to force a fourth parameter for the audio. — Vildricianus 20:49, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Or procedurally ensure that only English words are submitted for WOTD for the next couple months, until it does? Has anyone searched buzilla for the relevant request yet? It's probably on my "votes" list, but obviously could use more votes. --Connel MacKenzie T C 04:40, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
I haven't even logged on to bugzilla. The one option here is that both the WOTD volunteer(s) and the audio volunteer(s) have to maximize communication and make sure not a single day is missed. — Vildricianus 23:22, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Up. — Vildricianus 21:06, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Transcription of the word "Wiktionary"[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

Unless, of course, one is going for only the British pronunciation of "Wiktionary," one should be sure to include the SAE transcription of the word, with the IPA epsilon between the "n" and the "r." In addition, for IPA purposes, the final I in the word should be lower case, as it is the tense form. If this has already been addressed, or I am completely off base, I do sincerely apologize. Cheers. Sunny.

If you are referring to the image at the top lefthand corner of the page, then yes, this has come up many times before. This is just one UK pronunciation. When you say "epsilon", do you mean /ɛ/ or schwa (/ə/), the vowel in the first and second syllables of "second", respectively? One UK pronunciation has a schwa between the n and r, while US pronunciation has /ɛ/ there.
I think we are stuck with the image as no one has ever come forward to say they will change it. If Sunny's question isn't already in the FAQ, it's probably time we added it. — Paul G 15:53, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Actually you yourself added it to WT:FAQ back in January. :x) —Muke Tever 22:42, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Ah, thanks for that, Muke. I'll update it with anything else I've said here, and then we can refer users to it the next time the question comes up. — Paul G 08:44, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
Regarding the final vowel, RP has /ɪ/ (as in "bit") in that position, while most English speakers tend to use /i/ these days, in common with US speakers. Some dictionaries (eg, dictionary.com) use ē (equivalent to IPA /iː/) here as they lack a symbol for the shorter /i/. — Paul G 15:57, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

This issue of discussion is purely stupid since Rolls-Royce is obviously not a trademark, it is a car, and the manufacturer of the Engines of Boeings.

Bot for moving rhymes: entries[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Grease pit/2007/January

Can someone come up with a 'bot to move all rhymes: entries back to Rhymes: ? I spotted a few, moved them manually, but then checked Special:Allpages and saw there are hundreds of them. If we ever want Rhymes: to be a real namespace, these will need to be re-capitalized. Great! I would have posted at Connel's talk page but this is the place to do so, actually. —Vildricianus 13:23, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I think there are cases like these when we can ask a dev to do a server-side script for us. This is how they did the uppercase/lowercase split for instance. It would also be a lot easier if one of us learned how to make such scripts and then we would only have to request they run it, rather than requesting they develop it too. — Hippietrail 19:15, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm wondering what happens when a new namespace is made. Perhaps it's not necessary at all to move the rhymes: pages around, because they may be automatically capitalized (template:see = Template:see). —Vildricianus 13:11, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Right, it could be rHyMeS: and still find it, once it is a namespace. Perhaps we should revive the "wanted" namespaces discussion from years gone by? --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:55, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely. Wikisaurus to begin with, once we settle on the name (discussion still ongoing at BP). Then, Index:, Appendix:, Rhymes: and Concordance:. (Transwiki:? WT:?) —Vildricianus 19:54, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure that "WT:" would have as much support as the others. Transwiki:, absolutely! In fact, Transwiki: is possibly the highest priority. --Connel MacKenzie T C 01:09, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
The benefits of having a true namespace have come slowly to me, and I think they've not come at all to most users. Only yesterday did I discover the option to have random page generation for every true namespace. I'm sure there are still advantages I've not discovered. Can anyone sum them up? We'll surely need them if we want to convince people of the necessity to have these namespaces. It looks like the WikiSaurus debate is kind of stuck. —Vildricianus 20:27, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Serious? That one looks to me to have resolved to Thesaurus: with only one objection. Davilla 14:06, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
On first sight, yes. Looking twice, one sees the main Wikisaurus contributors giving a different and quite valid opinion. I don't mind, I think Wikisaurus is equally fine. It's the technical aspect that bothers me now, as looks like it will take some time ere it is solved.
On the same topic: does someone have the technical know-how to read and more or less understand Help:Custom namespaces? One thing that bothers me is this note:
Any existing pages whose titles start with the letters "Foo:" or "Foo talk:" will become unavailable, so you'd better rename them first. (Where Foo: is the desired custom namespace).
This sounds like we can't make a namespace where there are already pages that exist in it. In other words, will we need to move, for instance, all Appendix: entries temporarily to another space, then set the namespace, and move them back? If that is the case, we'll certainly need developer help for this, if not already. — Vildricianus 14:18, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
If that's the case, it sounds like we should certainly leave them at "rhymes:" for now (unless the caselessness of namespaces means that the existence of a true "Rhymes:" namespace will make any existing pages whose titles start with the letters "Rhymes:" or "rhymes:" unavailable, in which case we'll have to temporarily rename all of them anyway.) —scs 12:17, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Toolserver project for exotic scripts[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Grease pit/2007/January

Here's an idea for somebody ambitious using toolserver. The scripts that some languages use don't yet have good support in all or some Operating systems. Burmese, Sinhala, and Khmer all spring to mind. Tibetan is also pretty poor in many cases.

What we could do is to provide graphical images for these languages. At least if pango and at least one good font can be found for each case and toolserver can run pango. A request could be sent off to the toolserver to generate an image that we then display.

A non-toolserver solution would be that we include images of such words just like normal images, but each one would have to be contributed by somebody capable of making them. — Hippietrail 22:06, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Exotic scripts like IPA you mean? Davilla 15:57, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Exactly! It's surely the one we need most, and wouldn't need a pango back-end, just 30 or so .png files. — Hippietrail 17:09, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
So, you could handwrite them on a piece of paper, scan it, then post the 30 images to commons, right? When better ones come along, they replace them... Or did I just completely miss what you were getting at? --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:59, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

how do you pronounce moor?[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

I've been mucking around at rhymes:English:-ʊə(r) and rhymes:English:-ɔː(r), and now I'm confused. The suggestion there is that moor rhymes with floor and store, and is therefore a homophone for more. And I'm sure that for some speakers it is, but me, I've always pronounced moor to rhyme with pure and the surname Muir. Does anyone else, or am I the only one? —scs 15:12, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Surely both are possible. — Vildricianus 17:29, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
PS: Are you American? — Vildricianus 17:30, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
For a while I was having fun keeping Connel guessing, but: yes. —scs 17:47, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
Sorry if I gave the impression I was wondering.  :-)
(no prob. :-) —s)
The way I pronounce them, moor does not rhyme with floor, nor store, nor pure, nor Muir. --Connel MacKenzie T C 05:04, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
But is it close to pure without the /y/ sound, i.e. to poor? (Paul claims that the vowels in pure and poor are the same, or close enough for Wiktionary rhyme page work. See his talk page and also mine for far more than you want to know on this subject.) —scs 23:59, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
The vowels in "poor" and "pure" are clearly different for me. Jooge 02:32, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
I (and I think most people in SE England, where there are no moors) pronounce it like more or store. In N England and Scotland (where there are) I think it's usually pronounced like poor. Throughout most of UK we pronounce pure and Muir as pyoor/myoor. --Enginear 00:05, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
Now all we gotta do is get someone to weigh in from south west England! (Anyone from Dartmoor?) —scs 15:27, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, I know the area pretty well. The locals pronounce the "moor" of "Dartmoor" rather like "myrrh", ie to rhyme with purr, so rolling the first r more than the second and stressing the first syllable,Dartmoor becomes Darrrtmyrrh". Since Plymouth is less than 20 miles to the south of the centre of Dartmoor, it is not surprising if some East Coast US pronunciations are similar (see next post). In fact the minor-stressed moor in Bodmin Moor (30 miles NW of Plymouth) is pronounced exactly as described below, somewhere between poor and purr. --Enginear 10:26, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm from America, and frankly, I think that poor rhymes with more and store and pure without the /y/ sound would sound a little like purr. Also, my opinion is that moor is pronounced like poor, more, and store. I'm sorry if I confused anyone.
Here's my two cents worth. Moor, floor, more, poor, store, pour, pore, paw, law, for, etc. all rhyme for me. They don't rhyme with pure. Pure rhymes with Muir, fewer, tour, cure, etc. Neither pure nor poor rhyme with purr. Jimp 02:36, 7 December 2006 (UTC)


copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

What's with the pronunciation for argh? It seems to be smileys, and not IPA. But I don't know IPA so well. Anyone know? -- 16:41, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

That’s the work of User:Strabismus. He does funny things with letters and spellings. You can just pronounce argh as 'aaaaaah, pronounced as though you just learned that your house burned down and you lost your job at the same moment. A sort of angry, frustrated, desperate scream. —Stephen 16:58, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
You can add {{rfap}}/{{rfp}} for entries like that. I usually pronounce the "R" and "guh" when I say it, but that is mainly, only on Halloween when wearing a pirate costume. --Connel MacKenzie 19:48, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Pronunciation for deism and derivations.[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

In words such as deism, deist, pandeism, panendeism, etc., should the "e" be pronounced like a long "a" - my research indicates that "deus", which is the root for all of these, is pronounced like DAY-us, and that these words should be pronounced like DAY-ism, DAY-ist, pan-DAY-ism, pan-en-DAY-ism, etc. Dictionary.com offers the long "e" and long "a" as alternate possibilities, but I believe only the long "a" should be considered correct based on the root (contra theism and variations, derived from θεός, pronounced "THEE-os"). bd2412 T 22:43, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Either /eɪ/ or /i:/ is fine for this vowel. You're right that the /eɪ/ is closer to the Latin, but still not exactly the same – Latin used the ‘pure’ /e/, so deus = /d̪eus/. I'm not sure what your point about Greek is – the e-vowel sound there was identical (θεός = Classical /tʰeos/). I'm not sure why we have developed two pronunciations, but they're certainly both well-established and both pretty common in my experience. Widsith 08:42, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I was under the impression that θεός was pronounced with a long "e". My point was that many people, I think, pronounce deism as though it rhymes with theism, deist as though it rhymes with theist, pandeist as though it rhymes with pantheist, and so forth, because the words have similar appearances and are within the same realm of study (especially once you get into hair-splitting differences between, e.g. pantheism, panentheism, and panendeism). I'll go with /eɪ/, then. Cheers! bd2412 T 16:01, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm no expert, but I believe Greek ε was always a short vowel. Long-e was represented by η (/ɛ:/) or ει (Classical /e:/, later moving towards /i:/). See w:Phonology of ancient Greek for more. Widsith 07:31, 1 August 2006 (UTC)


copied from Wiktionary:Information desk

How do I add the IPA pronunciation?

Choose IPA from the Templates menu in the edit screen and add symbols as necessary. A guide to what the symbols represent can be found here. By the way, please sign what you write on talk pages and in other discussion fora with four tildes (4×~). Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 15:50, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

WOTD audio license info[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Grease pit/2006/October

I posted a concern about the WOTD mainpage template a while ago, but still have received no reply. The issue was the lack of a link to license information for the audio files on the mainpage. I would love to fix the template myself, but I'm simply not that good with wikicode to figure it out.

Peter Isotalo 08:23, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Is this entirely necessary? The license should be in the audio file information. DAVilla 17:56, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Word of the day "sound" problem[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Grease pit/2006/October

When I click on the "sound" icon next to word of the day, it first says I must be a member to "upload" files (which does not make sense) and then (after I joined :-) ) it says I must be a "Sysop" to perform the action! I think that the link to the "play sound" icon must be incorrect folks! —This unsigned comment was added by Craisin (talkcontribs).

I've not been able to reproduce this problem. Anyone else? --Connel MacKenzie 17:51, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
I had this happen to me once, but not since. I never did figure out what might be the cause. --EncycloPetey 02:24, 24 August 2006 (UTC)


copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

I need help transcribing the following sentence using IPA

The apricot tree.

I would greatly appricate it if someone would help me, my e-mail is rromero@emuhsd.k12.ca.us

Thanks a million,


Er.. in what accent? In south England, it's roughly [ði ˈeɪpɹɪkɒʔ tɹi]. Widsith 15:42, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
For roughly the same accent, I'd say [ðə ˈeɪpɹɪkɒʔ tɹiː] feels more natural (ignoring aspiration). --Wytukaze 16:29, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Welsh word with silent w[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

Is there a Welsh word with a Silent W

The Welsh ‘w’ is not a semivowel/semiconsonant as it is in English, but a full-fledged vowel. Therefore there are many words where the ‘w’ may have the appearance of being silent. For example, rywbryd (once), pronounced /'rubrɨd/; or meddwl (thinking), pronounced /'mɛðʊl/. —Stephen 14:03, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Minor qualm with the title graphic of the Wiktionary site[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Information desk

The phonetic transcription under the title "Wiktionary" uses the rightside-up "r," which in the International Phonetic Alphabet really refers to an alveolar trill, like in the Spanish word "perro." According to good IPA standards, it really ought to be an upside-down "r" to represent the sound in English, which is an approximant and not a trill. The Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_phonetic_alphabet itself attests to this fact.

See WT:FAQ#The pronunciation of "Wiktionary" in the logo, WT:BP#meta:Wiktionary.2Flogo and m:Wiktionary/logo. --Connel MacKenzie 00:13, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
I understand that the transcription uses the British rather than the American pronunciation, but no dialect of English uses a trill in place of the alveolar approximant "r" (except Scottish English, which uses it sometimes as an allophone). Somebody really ought to change that, since the logo is the first thing one sees when logging onto the site.
  • There is a principle of "romanicness" used in phonemic/broad transcriptions which means that the most "roman looking" characters will be used for the most common phonemes rather than the most accurate. Look in almost any print dictionary which uses IPA and you will see only "r" for English pronunciations. — Hippietrail 23:06, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Korean words[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Information desk

I've been studying Korean, on and off, for over 20 years. I've seen dozens of textbooks try to deal with the fact that the Korean alphabet (Hangul) has many sounds with no exact counterpart in English or other European languages. Often these books offer a 'transliteration' which provides a one-to-one mapping between a Korean letter and an "English-looking" romanization.

But this system is not usable for pronunciation. While romanization does allow a native Korean (or advanced Westerner) to reconstruct the original spelling of the word, it does nothing for readers who:

  • do not want to learn the Korean alphabet, but
  • want to pronounce a particular word correctly

A romanization like seonsaeng can be converted back to Hangul easily: 선생

But a reader trying to pronounce it is more likely to say SEE-AHN-SAH-EHNG (which a Korean would have a hard time interpreting) than SUHN-SAY'NG.

So I propose we either:

  1. drop romanization for Korean words, and just supply a pronunciation (either in the style I'm using here or IPA or both);
  2. keep romanization but also supply pronunciation

What do others think of this?

All entries should eventually have both romanisation and IPA pronunciation information. See a Chinese / Japanese page like 愛人 for what we're after. Widsith 21:30, 11 October 2006 (UTC)


copied from Wiktionary:Tea room/2006

Previously uploaded pronunciations included pee-seez and pai-siz. Are these correct? And could we categorize these by regional use? DAVilla 20:10, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

The spelling /ˈpaɪ.sis/ Sounds like "pie-seas", and is the pronunciation I normally hear. (Notice the ɪ, which represents a "short" i sound). The one that I deleted (/ˈpee.seez/) would be pronounced "pay-ay-say-ayz", which isn't even remotely correct. I see you've added /ˈpɪsiz/, which would sound like "piss-ease". I've not heard that one before. --EncycloPetey 21:50, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
For the one you deleted, the user who added it doesn't know IPA, clearly, which is why I didn't claim it was IPA above. If you understand that intention, then it's not far from pi-seez (yes, "piss ease"), the one I added, which came out of a dictionary I used to double-check him. But if only one of them is right, who's to say the dictionary is more correct? Just because someone doesn't know IPA doesn't mean they don't know what they're saying. DAVilla 21:58, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I usually hear pie-sees in London. There is also a pronunciation piss-Kay's, ie pronouncing the word as if in Latin. I often absent-mindedly use the latter myself, but I'm not sure it's widespread enough to add as an English usage (particularly as it may not be "correct" English usage). --Enginear 09:47, 14 October 2006 (UTC)


copied from Wiktionary:Grease pit/2006/December

I've been away for a while, but has something changed with {{IPA}}? It's outputting in a different font from before, which is fine, but it seems to have trouble displaying some accented characters, e.g. ɛ̃. Widsith 11:19, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

I acted on a request from a sysop from another Wiktionary (pl.wikt:, I think it was) who had a much nicer layout for IPA on their Wiktionary. I doubt the extra 10% is the problem, more likely my change (no, I don't see what the problem is, offhand) at: {{IPA fonts}}. Perhaps I was too bold, with what looked like a tried and true fix? --Connel MacKenzie 22:43, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, if I'm not the only person now seeing boxes where there used to be characters, it would probably be better to revert whatever font changes you made, at least temporarily. The size is fine, obviously. Widsith 16:07, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Are you not? Well, rollback done, +10% kept. --Connel MacKenzie 22:04, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Ah – that's better! Thanks. Widsith 10:27, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Pronunciation of "van Gogh"[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Tea room

What is the correct way to pronounce the name of the artist Vincent van Gogh. I know we are all told that the correct form is van Go, but I heard an artist interviewed and he claimed that is only an American way of saying it. I thought that was a bit odd, but names do vary around the world. I was brought up saying van Goff, but that might not be right either. --Dmol 23:24, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

The final consonant is pronounced exactly like the ch in Bach or Scottish loch. In fact, in Dutch, I believe the first G of Gogh is the same, so they pronounce it as /vɑn xɔx/. I think van goff is fine; van go sounds weird to me, but it's the usual pronunciation in the States. Widsith 11:36, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that only Americans pronouce it Van Go. In England it is usually pronounced Van Goff, as the correct Dutch pronunciation is rather difficult. SemperBlotto 12:04, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
Dutch v is half-voiced, meaning that it sounds halfway between English f and v, and the a is a bit darker than what one would expect in English. The closest in English is the word fawn, which sounds pretty much like Dutch van, as long as you clip the vowel (like the British) instead of dragging it out (like we Americans do). In any case, Van Gogh lived in France for much of his career, so it probably wasn't pronunced the Dutch way much of the time. --EncycloPetey 03:06, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Are imminent and immanent homophones?[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Tea room

Are imminent and immanent homophones? Just wondering, seems it is possible to pronounce them the same. bd2412 T 17:40, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

I move my mouth differently to say them, but I'm not sure the sound that comes out is noticably different. --Enginear 20:25, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
I merge the second syllable vowels as [ə], and I suspect some American accents would merge them as [ɪ]. See w:Phonological history of the high front vowels#Weak vowel merger. --Ptcamn 20:31, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
Strange... I thought I read somewhere that there actually was no distinction, that is, in fast speech for some words (like the ones listed), they come out as sounding the same regardless of who's speaking, even if there is a supposed distinction in the speaker's mind. But certainly -in and -on endings are pronounced differently in the UK, e.g. Erin and Arron. DAVilla 22:41, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
I say them differently, but as Enginear and Davilla pointed out, they may not always sound distinctly different. --Connel MacKenzie 17:40, 16 December 2006 (UTC)
There might be a UK/US distinction. UK English usually pronounces unstressed "i" as /ɪ/, while US English often pronounces it as /ə/. The OED gives /ˈɪmɪnənt/ as the RP, but, in my experience, UK speakers tend to use /ˈɪmənənt/. As "immanent" is quite rare (at least, compared to "imminent"), distinguishing the pronounciations does not usually matter very much. I can't comment on US pronunciation. — Paul G 08:59, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

IPA aɪ[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Information desk

If aɪ is the sound of the I as in the word I, shouldn't it be ai? I don't know, but to me, "ah ee" sounds a lot more like I than "ah ih". Why is it decided that I should be aɪ and not ai? Thanks! —Soliloquial 22:55, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

We're following the standards agreed upon by the linguists. If you look around, you can find books (especially older ones) that use /ai/ rather than /aɪ/. Think of it this way: I is closer to /aɪ/ while ayee! is closer to /ai/ --EncycloPetey 23:15, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

Proposal on application of IPA[edit]

copied from Wiktionary talk:IPA Characters

Romanized IPA is not an international standard. We use AHD and the English-version SAMPA for broad transcriptions in English. Similar systems can be applied for other languages, but otherwise the correct IPA (or X-SAMPA) would be encouraged. Because IPA is more precise, we should use it with narrow transcriptions as they apply to regional accents. From now on, IPA would only be actively applied to audio pronunciations. As our inventory of audio files grows, we could tackle the tougher chore of thoroughness. Thus the problem of standardizing our choice of characters in IPA is avoided, applying it instead as a tool when regional variations are finally considered. Davilla 05:57, 10 February 2006 (UTC)


German "er"[edit]

copied from Wiktionary:Information desk

Hello, I'm a n00b looking for a way to prounce [eːɐ̯], found here. The IPA chart doesn't seem to have anything for the upside down a and the symbol before it. Please help! --JDitto 04:43, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

The vowel occurs in "cut" [kɐt], "sofa" [ˈsəʊfɐ] in some Brittish dialect, "manual" [mɐˈnwal], in Portuguese, it's not quite fully open, central unrounded vowel. ―Gliorszio 04:51, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
No, that's incorrect. The sound [ɐ] does not occur in English. You're thinking of [ʌ] in "cut" and [ə] in "sofa". Neither of these sounds is quite the same as [ɐ], though they're close. --EncycloPetey 05:54, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Anyone know what happened to the audio links we had (on one of the IPA pages) last year? I do remember seeing at least one IPA table that had audio for all the symbols, but I can't find it now. --Connel MacKenzie 05:47, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
The Swedish one does - Wiktionary:About Swedish/Pronunciation. Remember, we do have a page entitled Wiktionary:Pronunciation that has lots of useful links. --EncycloPetey 05:54, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Thank you, EncycloPetey, for the final answer, but back to the question: once I've found the page, how do I pronounce it? All the examples are already in German. Wow, this getting to be quite difficult for a two letter German word... --JDitto 04:37, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

If you can play .ogg sound files (such as with QuickTime), there is a
available on the Wikipedia page for the w:Near-open_central_vowel (technical description of this sound). I have linked the file here as well for your convenience. Note that in German it's an r that thinks it's a vowel, and that should help you understand what you're hearing. It's pronounced lower in the mouth and a bit further back than the u in "up" or the a in sofa. For the whole word, there is a sound file on the German Wiktionary; the file is
. --EncycloPetey 04:57, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Thank you so much!! Have a great day! --JDitto 01:57, 10 January 2007 (UTC)