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"H. S. Teoh" wrote:
>
> I'm looking at the IPA transcription page again, and I notice that IPA
> seems to have reserved symbols/diacritics to indicate tone? Kirsch has
> ASCII equivs for 5 of the tones, while SAMPA has 9.
>
> Anyone care to enlighten me as to what these tones are? It'd make my life
> easier when trying to transcribe sounds from my L1 :-)

IPA tones work by using five relative pitch levels (1 lowest, 5 highest).
These are represented by iconic symbols in real IPA.

Contour tones, such as are used in Sinitic languages, are represented by
strings of tone digits or symbols; the symbols can be "ligatured" to
show the shape of the tone (see below).  For example, the standard Mandarin
tones are approximately (in the usual order, and ignoring tone sandhi):
55, 52, 214, 15.

It is also common with Kirschenbaum to simply use the standard tone
numbers for the language in question, rather than bothering with the
exact representation.  In this case tone sandhi is usually ignored,
as in Pinyin writing.

Approximate examples of IPA level 3, level 5, contour 35, and contour 214
tone symbols (use a fixed font):

        |               |----           |  /            |
        |               |               | /             |     /-
        |----           |               |/              |    /
        |               |               |               |\  /
        |               |               |               | \/

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