Mine’s a Page of IPA

Now normally my favourite type of IPA is India Pale Ale.  This was originally developed, as it says on the – er – tin, to sell to the British in India.  But nowadays I’m into another type of IPA, a type which I first came across in 1976 when I began to study linguistics.  For today’s IPA is none other than the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Here’s an idea of what it looks like:

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=the+international+phonetic+alphabet&rlz=1C1CHMO_enGB507GB507&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=Je4_UquVM-G50QWlmYGoAg&ved=0CFEQsAQ&biw=1600&bih=775&dpr=1

it’s a set of symbols for transcribing the sounds people make when they speak, so that you can record and read back exactly how a person says a particular phrase.  So for example, whereas a writer like myself would indicate a cockney accent by changing a few vowels, so that instead of:

‘My brain itches’ you would write:

‘My broin itchis.’

That’s not terribly accurate but it gives the reader an idea; likewise if I were to indicate a Cornish accent, I might do it like this:

‘Moy brayne itchus.’

These are not terribly good and I might not bother at all: some ways of indicating accents can be patronising or just bizarre, and it can be better just to remind readers at intervals that the speaker has a strong accent.  But! with the IPA you can tell people exactly how a person has uttered a particular phrase; so a posh person might say it like this:

/mai brein ichiz/

That’s not entirely accurate because I haven’t got the right set of characters: I expect there’s a way to type in a phrase with an accent and get it in the IPA, but normally you have to speak to get an accurate transcription.  Anyway, there it is.  I prefer to have fun as a writer and do what I feel like, though – rather than being accurate.

Philosophy today where we will be doing consciousness.  Providing I can stay awake…

Kirk out

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