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On Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 12:32 PM, Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> So I decided I should finally get with the program and learn XSAMPA so
> I can properly describe a new syllabary I'm working on. The problem
> is, every resource I can find doesn't seem very complete from the
> perspective of an English speaker with know prior knowledge of
> phonology. For example, I've been through every XSAMPA chart I can
> find looking for the vowel sound in the English words "lake", "rain",
> "base", "fail", etc. It's a common enough sound, but I can find any
> trace of it in the XSAMPA chart. From that I conclude that it must be
> one of the many sounds for which they only give examples from French
> and Urdu, assuming for some reason that I already know all about how
> those other languages are pronounced. Either that or it one of those
> they describe with alien-sounding words like "fricative" and "uvular".
>
> If you detect a trace of frustration in my tone, it's because I can't
> find anything on the Internet that talks about XSAMPA in plain English
> that a non-linguist could understand. I see why language textbooks for
> the general public never use IPA or SAMPA. Nobody but linguists
> understands it. And they are, quite successfully, keeping it hidden
> from the rest of us common folk!

Learning the IPA before learning basic phonetics is putting the cart
before the horse, isn't it?

Anyway, the letter you're looking for is probably <e>, though the
sound in most dialects of English is properly a diphthong, /ej/.