What is IPA?

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The IPA stands for International Phonetic Alphabet and refers to a system of symbols that are used to represent the sounds that are present in different languages all over the world. It can represent different qualities of the oral language, including phonemes, separation of words, phones, intonation, and syllabication. Basically, the IPA is based on the Latin alphabet and is considered as the most widely accepted and oldest phonetic alphabet. It is commonly used by translators, lexicographers, linguists, foreign language teachers, actors, speech-language pathologists, and constructed language creators.

The International Phonetic Alphabet was first published by the AssociationPhonétique Internationale (International Phonetic Association) during the 1800s. The Association Phonétique Internationale refers to a group of teachers of the French language, whose founder is Paul Passy. This organization aims to create a standardized system that can be used for the transcription of sounds of speech that can be applicable to any language. The original version of the IPA made use of a phonetic script created by Isaac Pitman and Henry Ellis in 1847 as a model.

IPA symbols are made up of two main components, namely letters and diacritics. Diacritics refer to small markings placed around a letter in order to provide a description of how the letter is pronounced and also to demonstrate alterations. Small markings that are usually placed below an IPA letter, called subdiacritics, can also be positioned above a letter that has a descender or tail.

The IPA is used for a variety of purposes. It is commonly used in dictionaries in order to represent the pronunciation of words, as well as in textbooks written in foreign languages. The IPA also serves as an instrument for teaching the correct pronunciation to people who are non-Native speakers of the language. Finally, this system can serve as a basis for devising new systems of writing in languages that do not have an established one, and can also be used for the transcription of spoken materials that are in unwritten languages.

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