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41 votes
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Why was "zh" picked to represent /ʒ/, and where does it come from?

It's based on an analogy s : sh :: z : zh, where the first three graphemes already existed in English spelling. Since ⟨z⟩ represents the voiced counterpart to ⟨s⟩, at least some English speakers find ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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13 votes

Problems with the adoption of the Latin script in English?

English was written in the Latin alphabet even in the Old English period. Latin letters were introduced in the OE period by Irish missionaries around the 7th-8th century. The Anglo-Saxons converted to ...
user6726's user avatar
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13 votes
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What is "=" in transcriptions of Hittite

Your guess is correct; the equals sign/double hyphen separates clitics from the words they attach to. For example, from the Ten-Year Annals (KBo 3.4 ii 65): nu=us=si=kan widār arha dahhun Then I ...
Draconis's user avatar
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11 votes

Why does Hebrew transcribe Akkadian š inconsistently?

Yes, some people think Akkadian š was pronounced [s]. For the sibilants, traditionally /š/ has been held to be postalveolar [ʃ], and /s/, /z/, /ṣ/ analyzed as fricatives; but attested ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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10 votes

Why Korean transcriptions of Japanese words uses the letters ㄱ,ㄷ,ㅈ for initial /k/, /t/, /tɕ/ while using ㅋ,ㅌ,ㅊ for other languages?

As you may know, "single" stops in Korean are weakly aspirated in initial position only (audio example), so Japanese stops in the unvoiced series (such as た) correspond to Korean "...
jogloran's user avatar
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10 votes

What is the difference between two symbols: /i/ and /ɪ/?

In Southern Standard British English, also know as RP, there are two highish, frontish unrounded vowels: the FLEECE and KIT vowels, /i:/ and /ɪ/. The former is the vowel heard in the word fleece, the ...
Araucaria - him's user avatar
9 votes

What are the current hurdles to automatic audio to IPA transcription?

Dividing up the audio As you mentioned, formant analysis can place vowels nicely on a chart. But first you have to cut the vowels from the surrounding sounds. Often their formants are changed by ...
Draconis's user avatar
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9 votes
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A Lesson in Transcribing Egyptian Hieroglyphics

Short answer: Gardiner's classification system. It's what Unicode (and every major dictionary I know of) uses, and is quite comprehensive; pretty much anything you come across in everyday Egyptology ...
Draconis's user avatar
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9 votes

What's the difference between a syllabic consonant and a schwa followed by a consonant?

There are two answers, one in phonology, the other in phonetics. The phonology answer is at least initially mildly stupid: it says that [mr̩t] is a syllable with three segments, [r̩] being the peak ...
user6726's user avatar
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9 votes

Proto-Indo-European transcription: <u̯, i̯> vs. <w, j> & <k̑> vs. <ḱ>, etc

Transcription schemes and their diacritic differences There is no real standard for the diacritics in reconstructed Proto-Indo-European. There are lots and lots of different transcription schemes, and ...
Janus Bahs Jacquet's user avatar
8 votes
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Is there any International standard for representing phonemes?

IPA is neutral as to analysis: it is used to represent sound at any level, including underlying, intermediate form, phonemic transcription and surface realization.
user6726's user avatar
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8 votes

Origin of the ا that ends the past tense of Arabic verbs for هُم?

In fact, alif ا does not mean anything particular and that differs it from the rest of the Arabic letters. It is a kind of a service letter, now it is a support for hamza, now it is written as a ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
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8 votes

Why was "zh" picked to represent /ʒ/, and where does it come from?

The practice was encouraged by the widespread use of C+h digraphs th,ph,ch and especially sh, allowing the analogy s:sh::z:zh. The modern spelling sh for [ʃ] derives from Old English sc, then sch or ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
8 votes

What is the difference between two symbols: /i/ and /ɪ/?

There are three relevant lexical sets here: FLEECE, KIT, and HAPPY. (HAPPY is specifically the last vowel in the word "happy", not the first, since it doesn't appear in monosyllables.) In ...
Draconis's user avatar
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7 votes

Transform Chinese, Korean, Hebrew and Arabic to IPA

IPA is a representation of sound; therefore "transforming to IPA" implies converting text to sound. That task is harder than it seems, because writing systems are underdetermined – they don't include ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Why does Hebrew transcribe Akkadian š inconsistently?

While Akkadian š is generally cognate with Hebrew š or ś, there's good reason to believe its pronunciation was quite different! The reason it's transcribed as š is mostly historical—Akkadian was first ...
Draconis's user avatar
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7 votes
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What does 6 represent in Medieval Welsh?

It is obvious that 6 stands for the modern letter w which in Welsh can be pronounced in some words as the consonant [w] and in other words as vowels [ʊ] or [uː]. In your example there is the word ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
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7 votes
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What symbol, if any, signifies an audible nasal emission in the IPA?

I think what you're calling an audible nasal emission is just a voiceless nasal e.g. /m̥/, /n̥/, /ɳ̥/, & /ŋ̥/ (the diacritic here is not always well-rendered, but is a ring below). By definition, ...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 8,785
6 votes

Transform Chinese, Korean, Hebrew and Arabic to IPA

I'll deal with Korean writing. I don't know that there are any tools for directly converting the Korean writing system, hangeul, to IPA, but you can do it in several steps. You'll need some ...
gaeguri's user avatar
  • 1,485
6 votes

What are the current hurdles to automatic audio to IPA transcription?

The most basic problem is that it is impossible (given any realistic i.e. non-Star Trek technology) to map waveforms to IPA letters for an arbitrary language. It is, however, possible for well-enough ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
6 votes

Transform Chinese, Korean, Hebrew and Arabic to IPA

The English Wiktionary has some Lua infrastructure to do this: Chinese languages: Module:zh-pron. Generates IPA from the romanizations of the various languages (Mandarin pinyin, Cantonese jyutping, ...
Ethan Ward's user avatar
6 votes

Are there any existing guidelines for romanizing Aynu Itak?

The de facto standard method for transcribing Ainu (both in Latin alphabet and in katakana) being used today is the one proposed in Akor Itak, a textbook published by the Hokkaido Utari Association (...
ski's user avatar
  • 61
6 votes

What is the phonetic transcription of the Lithuanian name Austėja?

I'd do it this way: [əʊ'stʲeja] (I like this variant more, but don't have any data to prove it) or [əʊs'tʲeja]. It is based on my knowledge of Lithuanian and this recording. It is differ from ...
aGricolaMZ's user avatar
5 votes

Where to start with deciphering this language?

"How do you go about deciphering a language without any spoken basis, no native speakers to converse with, or another other leads to go on besides ones provided by context alone?" You don't. With ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 7,464
5 votes

To what extent can Japanese Kana be adapted to the Spanish language and be intelligible?

The phonology of Spanish might be vaguely similar to that of Japanese but the differences are also relevant. There are many consonantal clusters in Spanish and also word final consonants, and this ...
Artemij Keidan's user avatar
5 votes

Is it possible to read the narrow IPA transcription of one's native/fluent language as effortlessly and quickly as its conventional orthography?

We simply do not know: this is an empirical question, and nobody has done the study. The problem with writing in IPA is that you have to understand what the various letters "mean". It's easy for Saami ...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes

Google Translate Thai with IPA transcription?

No, because they don't provide a transcription, they provide a transliteration. Note that if the language uses the Latin alphabet, you get no help. It is also not always the "best" transliteration, ...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes

[a̟]: advanced front vowel?

Co-editor of PHOIBLE here. In the feature system used in PHOIBLE, a is considered to have features -front and -back — i.e., a (low) central vowel, not a (low) front vowel. Therefore you would think ...
drammock's user avatar
  • 824
5 votes

Is there any other known use of the Graphemes 'ϑ' & 'δ' outside of Avestan?

Short answer: yes, they're used in Greek. ϑ and θ are different graphic variants of the same letter, Greek "theta". The first is a cursive handwritten form, and the second is a standard ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 66.7k
5 votes

Why Korean transcriptions of Japanese words uses the letters ㄱ,ㄷ,ㅈ for initial /k/, /t/, /tɕ/ while using ㅋ,ㅌ,ㅊ for other languages?

jogloran's answer is a good explanation on why it's possible to transcribe word-initial /k/, /t/ to Korean ㄱ and ㄷ. As for why it had to be that way, there's no logical answer - IMHO the other way (...
jick's user avatar
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