Phonetic orthographies

Dave Pawson dave.pawson at
Sun Nov 12 10:22:31 CET 2006

On 11/11/06, Michael Everson <everson at> wrote:

> I don't know how to understand the problem people have with the IPA.
> I have a hypothesis, not intended to offend anyone. Some people who
> only learned 26-35 letters when they were children playing with their
> building blocks and refrigerator magnets and so on apparently have
> difficulty learning new letters when they encounter them later on.
> They look at a run of IPA or UPA or something and say "I can't read
> that" without really trying. But of course they can.

I'm a case in point Michael. Please don't presume what others can and
can't do.

I had a task of generating a lexicon for a text to speech system.
The input was a global list of names and addresses.

I had a choice of IPA or SAMPA.
Primarily I had a job to do, generate the lexicon.
I appreciate that IPA can do more than SAMPA, but the task
was done, far more easily IMHO, using SAMPA.

I didn't have the time or reason to invest in IPA.
For that task, and many more I'm sure, it's overkill.

For people keenly interested in these things I'm sure its
For others it's not.

Another perspective.


Dave Pawson

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