The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
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Do you know about the IPA, the International Phonetic Alphabet? It is an alphabet used to transcribe the phonetics of words, in order for there to be common letters and symbols to write down the pronunciation of words, usually for languages whose words are read/pronounced differently than they are spelled/written, i.e. languages that have reading/pronunciation rules. 


"The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetical system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin alphabet." 


I remember getting introduced to this alphabet very early in childhood when I started learning English with my aunt (she is an English teacher). She introduced me to it gradually and I think I remember it by heart now. When I was holding private lessons of English and French myself, I remember using it and explaining it to my students. I now wonder though, since it is international, did your teachers use it with you while studying other languages? Like for Korean for example, or Japanese, or all others that you are/have been studying? Is it the same alphabet used there to transcribe the phonetics of words for westerners? 

This tutorial/lesson is a great explanation of the alphabet, in case you don't know what it is, or have forgotten, like myself: 




My aunt and I, we used to use different brackets though for indicating the phonetic transcription ( {} ), while the common ones are ( // ) according to this video. I don't think that is very relevant, but... 


So, do you know about it? Have you been introduced to it already? Do you find it helpful? Teachers need to know it, it helps students, and almost all online dictionaries use it. 


Cheers! 


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#5
Ranger
Posts325Likes 225Joined 8/7/2018LocationAlmeria / ES
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It is useful to me for some words especially in English as the rules change so often ough for example can be pronounced 9 different ways in British English

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#6
Ranger
Posts298Likes 165Joined 11/7/2018LocationManila / PH
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Learning English, Korean

I find the Merriam Webster's easier to use but it's also useful to know IPA. The symbols for consonants can be a pain to write though.

--

ikay

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#7
Dwarf
Posts68Likes 37Joined 6/10/2018LocationJonestown / US
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English
Learning Italian, Spanish

This is a completely brand new concept to me. I have never heard of it and it was never used in my classes. I do think that it seems like a great learning tool and it should be taught more in schools. Thank you for this enlightening information.

Taylor Fabio

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#8
Elf
Posts114Likes 78Joined 8/10/2018LocationPH
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Learning Japanese

Interesting, thanks for the link, I had a vague understanding of it but this definitely helps.


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#9
Elf
Posts111Likes 96Joined 4/10/2018Location
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Interesting - thanks for the share. I have noticed this when I check things out on dictionary.com, but I don't believe I have ever been taught that intentionally by any of my English teachers, or other language teachers for that matter. I have seen some language teachers write it from time to time, but none have ever explain the system of notation to me. I wish I had a physical Chinese dictionary beside me to check if it is used in Chinese as well.


As far as I recall, I don't remember seeing these in Vietnamese dictionaries. The way my Vietnamese teacher taught was just to pronounce words, and make us repeat the words after him. 

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#10
Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
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meifeng wrote:

The way my Vietnamese teacher taught was just to pronounce words, and make us repeat the words after him.


Haha, yeah, that's how they/we do it too, that's what I wanted to know... It's sometimes too hard to transmit it to students, and many times irrelevant 


I forgot to post the official website, in case some of you want/need to dive deeper 


http://www.internationalphoneticalphabet.org/ipa-sounds/ipa-chart-with-sounds/ 


 Thanks all, keep posting... 


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#11
Ent
Posts760Likes 466Joined 18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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I think the IPA is a really good thing for all language learners to learn. I briefly studied (and failed) to become an English teacher in Thailand, and the IPA was a requirement. I think it's a requirement for many asian and European countries. It makes a lot of sense for people who need to learn English, since English orthography is so inconsistent. 


That being said, I've never used it to help me learn a language. I'm sure there are texts for native English speakers learning foreign languages that contain the IPA, but I've never used or even seen one. So it's hard to buck the trend and go out and do something unique. Another personal reason, pronunciation seems to be my strong point. It's the only aspect of language learning that I seem to be naturally above average at, so I am less compelled to look for ways to improve it. 


While I pronounce quite well, I'm sure I'm making some sounds in a way not prescribed by the IPA. My tongue may be in the wrong position, I might be blowing the wrong way, etc. And while I don't like this fact, the sounds I make are close enough to be understood without making native speakers strain, so I'll live with it for the time being.

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#12