Phonetics and Writing Sounds

Phonetics is a subsection of linguistics. It is the study of sounds in human speech. There are many ways to write down sounds. Here are some examples:

  • IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet): This is a system of writing sounds primarily based on the latin alphabet. There are over one hundred symbols denoting all the sounds from human speech. It is mainly used in some British dictionaries to write the pronunciation of a word, and also by classical singers, singing in an other language, again to help sing with the right pronunciation. It is also used a lot by linguists. It is merely another way of writing the same sounds.

Example: 'This is my cat Fluffy.'

IPA: '[ðis] [iz] [maɪ] [kat] [fləfi]'

  • SAMPA (Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet): This is basically a different version of IPA but with computers. Most of the IPA characters are special characters and writing a big text in IPA on a computer can take a long time. SAMPA swaps some difficult characters with ones easily made on the keyboard.

Example: 'This is my cat Fluffy.'

SAMPA: '[Dis] [iz] [mAI] [kAt'] [fl@fi]'

  • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation): This system was founded in the 1950's and it's use was for war. It is a system of spelling out words on the phone or radio through long distances. Some of the letters sounded the same, such as 'P' and 'B'. With this, each letter is known because none of the words sound the same. One word replaces every letter in the normal alphabet. This system varies from language to language and it even varied through history. At first, the method didn't seem practical, but as time went on, some words changed and got replaced with easier words to remember. It also varies from region to region, some places even changing words to their liking.

Example: 'Cat'

NATO: 'Charlie Alpha Tango'

This is now the accepted official English version:

  • Morse: Morse code is a very useful international alphabet using dots and bars, or rather short taps and long taps. It is most commonly used by ships and it is often portrayed in movies when a place is in trouble and a message in morse is sent out for help.

Example: 'My Cat'

Morse Code: ' _ _ _._ _   _._. ._ _ '

This entry was posted in Languages and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a reply