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Ah, I wondered why IPA wasn't used :) I'll look up X-SAMPA and XCS  
now. Thanks a lot :)

On 25 Nov 2009, at 12:39, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets wrote:

> 2009/11/25 Sam Stutter <[log in to unmask]>
>
>> Um... sorry to be a list noob about this, but how does this  
>> phonetic script
>> work?
>>
>
> We use the IPA here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPA
> But since some people's mail clients still have difficulties with  
> characters
> outside the 7-bit ASCII range (or have trouble inputting IPA  
> characters), it
> is common to use the X-SAMPA representation (
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-SAMPA), or our own variant CXS (
> http://www.theiling.de/ipa/).
>
>
>> Is /e/ like "let", /ej/ like the Swedish "hej" and (I'm seriously  
>> guessing
>> here) but are the others something more similar to certain dialects  
>> of North
>> West England?
>>
>
> It depends: transcriptions between // are phone*m*ic representations  
> of
> sounds, i.e. they represent idealised phonemes which might have  
> different
> pronunciations in different contexts. To indicate actual sounds, one  
> uses
> the square brackets [], as Catherine did to indicate which sounds  
> she felt
> she was actually making.
>
>
>> /ei/ something akin to "late" (pronounced more like "lay it") and E
>> something akin to the lack of schwa in a word like "runner" or lack  
>> of /i:/
>> in "runny": that is: "runneh"? More information; about 15 minutes  
>> into the
>> latest episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson attempts to describe
>> Worksop accent ("They're using Cosworth engines, or since they're  
>> from
>> Sheffield: "Cosseh". That's "Cosseh", like you've had a stroke  
>> halfway
>> through the word: "Cosseh", so your face just falls off").
>>
>>
> It's actually difficult to use English to exemplify the vowels of  
> the IPA,
> because English vowels vary wildly between dialects and even  
> idiolects, and
> because English centralises unstressed vowels a lot, while it tends to
> diphthongise stressed vowels. Usually one will have more luck using  
> other
> languages with "tamer" vowel systems (although those have their own  
> pitfalls
> as well).
>
> As for the *ideal* pronunciations of [e] and [E], [e] is the vowel  
> at the
> end of the French word "année" [a'ne]: "year", while [E] is the more  
> open
> vowel of French word "sept" [sEt]: "seven". I'd actually expect the  
> English
> word "let" to have [E], but I could be wrong.
> -- 
> Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.
>
> http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
> http://www.christophoronomicon.nl/