Re: Character Identity and Font Selection

From: Stephan Stiller <>
Date: Sat, 11 Jun 2011 01:58:38 -0700

I'm not debating that the Principles allow (or encourage) certain ways
of doing broad transcriptions. But thanks for reminding everyone of this.

> I remember getting Canepari's book when I was young; I thought then,
> and think with much better confidence now, that it is geekery gone mad
> - his level of detail is far beyond the ability of humans to agree on.
Strongly disagree. Depends on your ear ... That this can't easily be
learned is another matter. Also, I mean, it's not like he's forcing his
system on everyone - but it fills a need for people who need it. Based
on personal experience, it's not a large community, but it exists. (In
general, different people perceive the world at different detail in
different domains, and it's a skill, or an art, to not assume that one's
own perception levels are definitive. I mean, that's why some people
like poetry, while others debate about character development in movies.
And others don't care about either.)

> Even with years of ear training, phonetic transcribers often don't agree at
> the level of detail the IPA alone offers.
But part of the reason is the fact that reference recordings of a few
notable phoneticians have historically differed.

>> for the default reduced vowel in many language. (On that note, Korean
>> linguists tend to transcribe ㅓ [ɔ] as [ə] for really no good reason at
>> all, as it's not actually used a reduced vowel in Korean.) Linguists
>> have argued that standard British practice of transcribing the vowel in
>> "bet" as [e] is really outdated ([ɛ] is more appropriate). Linguist Ian
> According to the Principles,<e> is the right letter for a phonemic
> or broad phonetic transcription. However, I don't know where you get
> the idea that<e> is the standard letter - the Oxford Dictionaries
> use<ɛ>, and so do most of the other examples of English transcription
> I recall seeing, even 30 years ago.
Okay, seems like we have a factual disagreement. The following article
should address this: Holger Schmitt, JIPA 37:3 (2007). I doubt everyone
on this list in interested in the details, but, briefly, Schmitt
described the current (somewhat messy) state of affairs and proposes to
unify to the open e symbol.

> This is, in any case, influenced by your view on whether quality or quantity or both is the primary
> differentiator between tense and lax vowels in English.
Both. And the tense one is a diphthong (or "diphthongized", if you
like). I guess it's a good example of how perception can differ ...

>> Maddieson has argued (personal communication) that [ʌ] is not the best
>> choice for the vowel in "but". American linguists tend to omit
> What does he prefer? My STRUT vowel is probably nearer [ɐ] than
> any other letter on the main chart.
He told me he'd indeed prefer [ɐ]. Related interesting discussion is in:
Barry & Trouvain, JIPA, 39:3 (2009).

>> [...]
> Again, this is explicitly advised in the Principles.
I wasn't debating that fact. That doesn't mean that there isn't a felt
need by some people for narrower transcriptions that are not recordings.

Received on Sat Jun 11 2011 - 04:01:21 CDT

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