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Adrian Underhill's interactive phonemic / IPA chart!

Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 8:03 pm
by fluffyhamster

Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:47 am
by Kharabish
This is excellent!

Is there a similar resource for the American verison of the phonemic chart?

Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:54 am
by fluffyhamster
Hi K, sorry for the delay in responding (I sometimes forgot about and stop checking by what I've posted beyond the Applied Linguistics forum)!

Underhill's chart at only seems to be available (as you've realized) in British English, so I did a search on Google for 'American English phonemic chart recordings' (or '...phonetic...') and spotted the following right at the top of the list of results:
Top Five English Phonetic (Phonemic) Charts | English Language ...tags: interactive, learn english, phonetic charts, phonetics ... The downside is somewhat strange voice recordings and not-so-friendly design for your eyes. ... We decided to include the site here because it offers American and British ... - Cached - Similar
They reckon the sublink/subsite in bolded question ('s page of IPA and their alternatives* using ASCII, which I hadn't quite thought of as a "chart" before!), is apparently 'the least interactive' of the five resources that survey, but at least antimoon supplies printed keywords for each phoneme (which the Underhill doesn't), though then not the phoneme pronounced in isolation before the keyword it is part of. Plus students might freak if they see not only IPA but ASCII alternatives to it. Ah well, it seems no freebie is perfect!

Anyway, I'm sure that you can find what you need yourself by doing similar searches, if antimoon or whatever isn't quite satisfactory enough. :wink:

*Though the apparently SAMPA-derived alternatives that Quinion presents would sometimes seem better:

Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:40 pm
by Kharabish
I recently discovered that the American English scholars use more than one phonemic/phonetic script. They aren't unified upon on chart like the Brits are on Underhill's chart.

For example some American scripts will use /j/ for a 'y' sound and others will use /y/. Then when you get into the vowels and diphthongs you find a variety of different symbols being used for the same sounds.

So you'll find American dictionaries and textbooks using different methods of transcribing the phonetics for the same word and the same pronunciation.

I gathered this after trying and failing to find a chart that uses the same phonetic symbols that American Headway uses and I emailed them asking "what gives?"

So I've now decided to teach my students only the British Underhill chart as the British industry seems united upon it's use. Plus I also suggest that my students only buy British dictionaries from now on.

It shouldn't make much difference because the British dictionaries map out the American pronunciations too, only they do so using the British script.

It beats teaching students one American phonemic script for them only to change institute later in life and find that they're being taught a different version.

I took the Underhill chart and added the words that accompany the sounds to make a handout for my students. I also found I handy phonemic font that I can use.

Thanks for the link, your research and the reply :)

Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:22 pm
by fluffyhamster
American dictionaries generally have been strangely averse to using IPA to represent phonemes, preferring instead to (continue to) use what they imagine to be intuitive "respelling" systems. But the problem of course is that one then has to take extra care to familiarize oneself with, or at least double check, the system used in each new or unfamilar dictionary, whereas IPA-based symbol-inventories (as you say, the norm in British dictionaries) have very few differences between them. There's a good discussion of such matters in Landau's Dictionaries: The Art and Craft of Lexicography. He clearly has come to approve of and favour British dictionaries on quite a few points!

Posted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 1:59 am
by fluffyhamster
Might be of interest to anyone who's read this far!