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On 2/25/06, Yahya Abdal-Aziz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I could really do with a GOOD
> website offering exact pronunciations of all vowels
> recognised in the IPA in a number of different contexts.
> Is there anything like that available anywhere?

That's impossible.

The IPA has a finite number of symbols, but the human speech apparatus
is capable of producing a far greater range of nuances, so it's not
possible to say that, for example, [e] is *exactly* this or that
sound.

As far as I know, IPA encodes only sounds which are considered
distinctive/phonemic in at least one language.

There is the cassette/CD "Sounds of the IPA" (
http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/cassette.htm ); however, even
that notes that while they try to produce a "neutrally typical version
of each" sound, their version "may not quite correspond to the typical
sound of the language you may be interested in".

> If the
> IPA is an international standard, one might expect there
> to be a website that freely promulgates it and makes it
> accessible to all.  Or have international standards also
> been privatised in the name of economic rationalism?

I don't know the reason, but ISO standards, for example, which are
both international and standards, are *not* available free of charge,
and are, in fact, rather expensive (from my point of view; for a
company, the price of buying, say, ISO 8859 -- about 64 CHF for each
section of the standard, whether in paper or PDF format --, is
probably peanuts).

Cheers,
--
Philip Newton <[log in to unmask]>