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Department of Linguistics

PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY

International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

Robert Mannell

Important: If you have not yet either installed the phonetic font "Charis SIL" or tested this installation to determine if the phonetic characters installed properly then click here to go to the phonetic font help pages.

International Phonetic Alphabet
(Revised to 2005)

IPA Diacritics

This table displays a sub-set of the diacritics in the International Phonetic Alphabet. It represents the majority of the diacritics used in this course.

The diacritics in this table have been paired with an "x" in the first column to provide a consistent display context. You should understand that this does not necessarily imply that "x" can be paired with each of these diacritics. Phonetically sensible examples are displayed in the right-most column.

Note that the diacritics (5, 7, 8, 10) that can be placed beneath another character, can be placed above a character that has a descender (such as [ɡ]). Note that this cannot be so for the creaky voice (11) and nasalisation (12) diacritics as that would result in confusion. Note that the syllabic diacritic (9) and the dental diacritic (18) are only found under the affected symbol.

Diacritic Font Problems

This table has been provided as a graphic image so that you have a reliable reference of the diacritic symbols. You should not interpret your ability to see the diacritic symbols on this table as proof that diacritics display accurately on your browser. You should particularly check the topic "Complex Articulations" and ensure that the diacritics used on that page are correctly displayed.

From a font design perspective there are two types of diacritic:-

  1. Superscript and subscript characters that precede (1, 2) or follow (3, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22). These characters, from a font design perspective, are no different from ordinary IPA characters and if your system displays ordinary IPA characters it will have no trouble displaying these diacritic characters.
  2. "Combining" characters are characters that "overstrike" a preceding character. That is they either go through (17), over or under (5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 18) the preceding character. Some browsers have trouble displaying these characters (especially some releases of Netscape) so you should be very careful to ensure that you can read these characters and that they look like they do on this table. People viewing the Unicode version of these pages (so far, only SLP801 students) may find that some of these characters are not properly displayed (the bottoms get cut off when using the Lucida Sans Unicode font).