Re: Character Identity and Font Selection

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2011 19:49:34 +0200

2011/6/10 ejp10 <> wrote:
> The phonemic level means that not all phonetic detail is recorded. It is common practice in the U.S. to transcribe American [ɹ] as /r/ UNLESS it is critical to record the phonetic details of said /r/

Very true: we have to make distinctions between phonetic
transcriptions (that should be language neutral), and phonologic
transcriptions, even if they both use the IPA symbol set. Each
language actually does not use the full set of IPA symbols but
transcribes in its phonology all allophones using the same symbol,
which is normally the same used for one the possible phonetic
realizations of the same phoneme.

In other words, if you have to tag a phonologic transcription, you
MUST use the language code before the "-fonipa" transcription.
Otherwise, the notation makes no sense at all (and not for example
when producing automated aural rendering from this transcription).
This is not true for pure phonetic transcriptions, for which the
indication of the language should NOT be needed for correct rendering
by some automated aural converter.

Subtle phonetic transformations that occur in actual languages are
generally not noted, as they are implicit for a specific accent of
that language. The same phonologic transcription of the same language,
should be usable to produce the various regional/societal accents of
that language, that have EACH one distinct phonetic transcriptions
using a much more complete and complex transcription system (this is
highly difficult to standardize phonetic transcriptions, even between
native speakers of the same language in the same region, as this also
depends if you're a child or adult, or your male/female, or between
levels of speech and attention, or speed of speech and who you're
speaking to and how you want to focus your auditory, or if you're
singing, playing theater, or if you are doing jokes, or speaking loud
or very light...).

An automated aural processor will then have to consider the language,
and some other parameters, in order to convert the simplified
phonologic notation into an actual phonetic transcription (using some
complex rules) in order to render the actual speech.

It is then perfectly valid to use, say, /r/ in English to denote all
possible phonetic realizations, even in US English.

French has a common standard for using /ʁ/ in its phonologic
transcription, biut this is still a conventional notation, and here
also you may use /r/ as well. If you need to make a clear distinction
within a specific accent, to designate the actual phonetic realization
where phonemes may NOT be replaced, you need to place the notation
between [square brackets] instead of /slashes/. And an automated aural
processor (such as an aural screen reader) should be able to detect
the bracket/slash distinction to avoid some generation/transformations
of allophones, and generate the wanted accents (but even in that case,
the processor will have to add some other transforms, notably when
creating subtle transitions to get a smooth language that can be
understood and that is reasonnably pronounced by native speakers,
because not all combinations of phonetic realizations of allophones
are even possible in every position of the pronounced sentences).
Received on Fri Jun 10 2011 - 12:52:11 CDT

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