As we all know in IPA isn’t used capital letters. There is also the 2nd option for representation acronyms which is to use dots, but in IPA dots is used to represent syllables. And therefore I'd like to figure out how to represent acronyms?


IPA is used to render the pronunciation of a word, so NATO is [ˈnɛɪtʰɔʊ], JPEG is [ˈdʒeɪpɛɡ] and so on. Some people pronounce NATO as [ˈnɛɪɾɔʊ], in which case you'd use a different transcription. IPA isn't a spelling system / general-purpose writing system, it's used to represent pronunciation, thus it doesn't matter if you write IRA or I.R.A (but it does matter if you pronounce it [ɑɪɑɹɛɪ] or [ɑɪɹə]).

  • Thanks for the answer, but you used the acronyms with vowels. What about HTML for example? Is theres special symbols to show pauses between [eɪʧ] [ti] [ɛm] [ɛl]? – user10191 Jul 28 '15 at 3:16
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    In ordinary speech, HTML is pronounced [ˌeɪʧˈtʰijəmɛl], so there are no pauses. "Pause" isn't a transcribable phonetic object, but you can indicate it indirectly with differences in vowel quality (reduction), aspiration (syllabification) and stress. In "HTML", each letter is essentially treated as a phonological word; but word status isn't a primitive concept in IPA transcriptions. – user6726 Jul 28 '15 at 5:03
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    there is a de facto convention to use ordinary keyboard space characters to break up words (even when pauses between them are minimal or non-existent), but as @user6726 mentions, the whole acronym usually behaves like a phonological word so spaces within the acronym would be inappropriate. For transcribing breaks of different durations between words, you can use ToBI – drammock Aug 6 '15 at 17:32

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