Standard orthogrphy vs phonetic alphabet.

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Standard orthogrphy vs phonetic alphabet.

Post by Michellekj » Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:00 am

Why do linguists use a phonetic alphabet as opposed to standard orthography? What would be a variety of answers in this forum?

Sally Olsen
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Post by Sally Olsen » Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:00 pm

Seems quite obvious that a phonetic alphabet can describe many languages with the same orthography to be compared and accurately understood by many people who know that phonetic alphabet. Why are you interested?

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Post by fluffyhamster » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:42 am

As Sally says, you can transcribe any language regardless of its orthography if you use IPA (by which I mean a broad phonemic inventory drawn from the IPA) instead. IPA is also a good way of showing the pronunciation of words that may have a difficult or ambiguous pronunciation e.g. I read a book everyday - Past or present tense for the 'read'? IPA would disambiguate which context. IPA is also a fallback for learners, especially when no native speakers are available - the learner can look words up in dictionaries and find out how to pronounce words from the transcriptions provided. All that being said, there are standard orthographies (or rather, ancillary romanizations for them) that are so clear that IPA isn't really needed (unless of course one is a linguist more familiar with the IPA than with the ancillary romanizations), Chinese Pinyin and Japanese romaji being the two examples I'm most familiar with. But apparently there are actual standard orthographies where the spelling-sound fit is also pretty consistent (much moreso than English, tho "messy" English helps point to its etymologies more).

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