A Phonetic Alphabet for Keyboards
We needed a practical phonetic alphabet for use with a standard computer keyboard to annotate large numbers of words for our English pronouncing dictionary at howjsay. These phonetic annotations were needed as an aid during recording sessions.
Our need was for a phonetic transcription method that was fast, concise, and flexible so that it could be extended as needed where finer distinctions between sounds were required, but 'collapsed' where these finer distinctions were not required.
To increase typing speeds, upper case symbols were mostly avoided and the commonest items were assigned to easy-to-reach keys. New symbols are being added as the need arises, but so far (June 2007) this is what we have:
- Other vowel sounds are made by combining the above.
A sample transcription
ai h0p yu;
wil `'gri; dh`t dhis iz ` fa;st,
'i;zi `nd kn'sais wei
Note that distinctions are not made unless they are needed in a given context, just as vowels are omitted in written Arabic where a distinction between them is not needed. So /i/ becomes /i;/ only where the transcriber perceives a need to make the distinction. The font is up to you. I have used Garamond here. /tl/ and /dl/ denote lateral plosion; /tn/ and /dn/ denote nasal plosion.