TL;DR. Please recommend programs or resources that enunciate and vocalise not only words, but phonetic symbols (eg IPA) or any representation of oral sounds, for at least English and French? I can view the symbols, but need an audible resource to know how to pronounce them.

Though later curtailed by a moderator, this post exemplifies French SE questions that concern phonetics, which I require such a resource to pronounce for me. Without one, I've been failing to comprehend these questions since Nov 2013; I can't determine or hear the phonemes (Right word?) discussed?

Please beware that I already use OALD (most entries are accompanied by clickable sound clips for both American and British English pronunciations) and Larousse.com (which only pronounces Parisian French), so I seek more powerful tools than these (eg: that can help me hear other dialects).

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    I learned practical articulatory phonetics mostly from William Smalley's Manual of Articulatory Phonetics, which had tapes for listening to exercises with all the interesting sounds. Great book. Later, I used it as a text in teaching a course on articulatory phonetics. (I haven't checked its current availability.) – Greg Lee Mar 13 '15 at 21:22
  • @GregLee It's listed on Amazon for $9.50; the audio files are hosted on line at the University of Leuven. – StoneyB Mar 13 '15 at 23:40
  • Thanks, @StoneyB. I suppose I should mention that Smalley does not use IPA. – Greg Lee Mar 13 '15 at 23:44

For IPA symbols, there is a severe lacuna in that there is a limited supply with just one speaker. This page gives Peter Ladefoged's rendition of the IPA chart. For vowels, you can get a comparative sample of 3 expert performers (Ladefoged, Jill House and John Wells) on this page. This is useful in understanding the degree to which the phonetic values of vowel symbols, especially, is a range.


Just to clarify, is the problem that you are you incapable of viewing the phonetic symbols due to using a screen reader or other form of assistive device, or are you capable of viewing the symbols, but in need of a pronunciation resource to know how to pronounce them? If it’s the former, I found a page that’s about IPA braille, but also has links to a variety of accessibility resources for using the international phonetic alphabet.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any software that can synthesize a complete pronunciation from an IPA transcription, but there are names for each letter that can be used to read them out loud. If you learn the pronunciation of each letter as an independent sound, you might be able to figure out the pronunciation by putting together the sounds of each individual letter.

  • Thank you for your first para which raised the possibility of confusion! I just edited the OP to clarify this, with some of your wording which I hope you won't mind. Does it help? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Mar 17 '15 at 17:06
  • Yes, that makes the issue completely clear. – sumelic Mar 17 '15 at 17:09
  • Many thanks to you again for raising the confusion. – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Mar 17 '15 at 17:10

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