Ask A Linguist For October 1997 - December 1997
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Re: Systems for mapping IPA onto ASCII (fwd)

Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 00:01:24 -0500
From: Ask A Linguist <ask-ling@LINGUISTLIST.ORG>
Subject: Systems for mapping IPA onto ASCII


From: David Mayerovitch <>

I understand that a number of systems (such as SAMPA) have been proposed
for mapping IPA symbols onto ASCII so that phonetic transcriptions may
be exchanged on the Web and in e-mail without the need of special
characters that may not be available everywhere.

Is there any particular system that you would recommend as being widely
understood and that would be suitable for such purposes as posting to
this Ask-a-Linguist page? Are professional groups rallying behind any
particular schemes?

Is it necessary in using one of these systems to specify which one is
being used, or are they sufficiently similar that a transcription could
be interpreted without confusion?

I'm interested mostly in the transcription of English sounds.

David -

	There is an ASCII IPA system developed by another David - David
Prager Branner - who founded and now runs the Yuen Ren Society, an
organization for the promotion of Chinese dialect fieldwork. You can find
this system at: 

	This is probably not the only system in use, and will not
necessarily be universally recognized. But it is a good place for you to
start. And I expect that, especially for English sounds, it would not be
too hard to understand for anybody familiar with IPA. 

					  Karen Steffen Chung		
					  National Taiwan University


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