Here is an example of a sentence from the Glossika course in Taiwanese Hokkien:

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The "Phonics" line is the IPA line. (The "Typing" line is the Tâi-lô romanization; I don't know where the "Pronunciation" line comes from, it is not any standard romanization of Taiwanese Hokkien.)

The IPA line has "pluses" (+) and some kind of primes underneath some letters. What do those mean? I don't see them in this article on Taiwanese Hokkien IPA. And vice versa, some of the symbols from the article never appear on Glossika (e.g. t͡ɕʰ (with this "hat") or the stop k̚ -- maybe Glossika uses a different notation? In the above example bak8 should have a stop k.).

Also, some letters have other kinds of primes and overlines. What do they mean? (I don't think they refer to tones. For example, "gua" comes with an overline in the IPA line, but at the same time it has the second tone (see the "Typing" line), and the second tone is denoted by a prime `, and not by overline.)

Probably this is some standard thing, but I don't have much experience with IPA. As far as I understand, the superscript = means lack of aspiration and the superscript n means nasalization, but the other ones I wasn't able to figure out.


This isn't standard IPA. The dots and accents indicate tone, and the raised n indicates nasalization of the previous vowel (actually, "nasal release"). The standard interpretation of macro is "mid tone" and the standard interpretation of acute is "high tone". The plus sign means "advanced", which is a feature of a number of African languages (and not Chinese). Lowered grave tone doesn't have an IPA function: you will have to consult recordings and reconstruct the actual pitch profile to figure out how they are using these letters. The equals sign is also not a phonetic sign, it seems to indicate something about syllabification. The tie in t͡ɕʰ (also raised h) and the "unreleased" diacritic in k̚ are optional in IPA – it indicates more detail that is minimally required.


The little plus signs tell us that the articulation of the phone is "advanced". The little equal signs tell us that it is pronounced "plain", because there is an aspirated counterpart in the language.

The "hat" above two signs is a ligature, indicating an africated consonants, a sound that is, roughly, two sounds "combined", like the sound represented by the < ch > in "chocolate". The sign you put over the [k] represents a no-audible realise, it is: a sound that is kinda articulated but isn't realised in an audible way, like when you have a geminate consonant, the first normally isn't audible, but the second is, giving us an impression of a little pause.

You can access an interactive chart here for more information of you want: https://www.internationalphoneticassociation.org/IPAcharts/inter_chart_2018/IPA_2018.html

I hope it cleared the transcription :D


The symbol ˭ is from an extension to the IPA (from extIPA) and means "unaspirated", as you say.

Like you, I can't tell what the macrons (overlines), acute, and subscript grave are meant to represent; they look like tone symbols, but don't correspond exactly to the tone letters in the line above.

In IPA, a subscript plus sign means "advanced" and specifies the quality of the vowel symbol above it. However, I'm not sure that is its meaning here, since it appears in the "Pronunciation" line also and does not cooccur with the macron, acute or subscript grave.

  • The "Pronunciation" line is a mystery, I don't know where they got it from (it's neither the IPA, nor the standard Tai-lo romanization), so I keep ignoring it. – user22577 Jan 24 at 18:59

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