Help:Pronunciation respelling key

The following pronunciation respelling key is used in some Wikipedia articles to respell the pronunciations of English words. It does not use special symbols or diacritics apart from the schwa (ə), which is used for the first sound of the word "about".

The standard set of symbols used to show the pronunciation of English words in Wikipedia is the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The IPA has significant advantages over the respelling system described here, as it can be used to accurately represent pronunciations from any language in the world, and (being an international standard) is often more familiar to non-native speakers of English. On the other hand, the IPA (being designed to represent sounds from any language in the world) is not as intuitive for those chiefly familiar with English orthography, for whom this respelling system is likely to be easier for English words and names. Articles often provide pronunciations in both systems (see documentation at the template {{Respell}} for more examples and for instructions on using the template).

Syllables are separated by hyphens ("-") in the display. The stress on a syllable is indicated by capital letters. For example, the word "pronunciation" (/prəˌnʌnsiˈʃən/) is respelled prə-NUN-see-AY-shən. In this example, the primary and secondary stress are not distinguished, as the difference is automatic. In words where primary stress precedes secondary stress, however, the secondary stress should not be differentiated from unstressed syllables, because to respell "motorcycle" (/ˈmtərˌskəl/), for example, as MOH-tər-SY-kəl instead of MOH-tər-sy-kəl would incorrectly suggest the pronunciation /ˌmtərˈskəl/.

Both the IPA and respelling for English on Wikipedia are designed to record all distinctive sounds found in major varieties of English. That is, we record differences found in some varieties but not in others, such as those between "father" and "farther", "wine" and "whine", and "cot" and "caught". This does not mean these differences are, or must be, always distinguished; if you speak a dialect that does not distinguish "father" and "farther", for example, simply ignore the difference between FAH-dhər and FAR-dhər.

For a more thorough discussion of each sound, see Help:IPA/English.

When a certain sound is pronounced by some speakers but not by others, the sound is put inside parentheses (round brackets). For example, "Mauritius" could be respelled mə-RISH-(ee-)əs, indicating it can be pronounced either mə-RISH-əs or mə-RISH-ee-əs.

Sometimes another means of indicating a pronunciation is more desirable than this respelling system, such as when a name is intended to be a homonym of an existing English word or phrase, or in case of an initialism or a name composed of numbers or symbols. When citing a homonym, it should not be enclosed in the {{respell}} template. In such cases, an IPA notation is usually nevertheless needed, but not necessarily so; see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Other transcription systems for further discussion.

Respelling should also be avoided when a respelled syllable would be the same as an existing word that is pronounced differently. "Maui" /ˈmi/ respelled as MOW-ee, "metonymy" /mɛˈtɒnɪmi/ as meh-TON-im-ee, and "cobalt" /ˈkbɒlt/ as KOH-bolt are susceptible to being misinterpreted as /ˈmi/, /mɛˈtʌnɪmi/, and /ˈkblt/, because of the words "mow", "ton", and "bolt", so only IPA should be provided for such words, if any.

This page was last edited on 25 April 2018, at 01:19.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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