06: All the sounds in all the languages - The International Phonetic Alphabet


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Mar 16 2017 34 mins   1.8k
English writing is hugely inconsistent: is “ough” pronounced as in cough, though, through, thought, rough, plough, or thorough? And once you start adding in other languages with different conventions and writing systems, things get even more complicated. How’s a person supposed to know whether to pronounce “j” as in Jane, Juan, Johan, Jeanne, or Jing? In the 1800s, linguists decided to create a single alphabet that could represent any sound spoken in any human language. After several revisions and competing standards, we now have the modern International Phonetic Alphabet with 107 letters, 52 diacritics, and a surprisingly passionate fanbase including linguists, musicians, and people who like cool symbols. In episode 6 of Lingthusiasm, your hosts Lauren and Gretchen talk about the history of the IPA, how it works, and some of the fun linguistics games and stories that have arisen around the IPA. For more information visit the show page: http://lingthusiasm.com/post/159237203511/lingthusiasm-episode-6-all-the-sounds-in-all-the