Phonetic orthographies

Peter Constable petercon at
Sat Nov 25 20:37:04 CET 2006

From: ietf-languages-bounces at
[mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Gerard

> When I get an American dictionary, I expect that the 
> transcription is for an American pronunciation. For an 
> English dictionary, I expect an English pronunciation. 
> An indication of en-IPA or whatever just does not cut 
> it. It is not precise.

The logical fallicy here is that a subtag "IPA" could not be used with
other subtags, and must be fully sufficient without additional subtags.

I have been suggesting a subtag Latp for Latin-based phonetic
transcriptions. I have been assuming all along that, in typical usage,
it would not be used alone, but would be used with one or more variant
subtags or possibly a region subtag that could be used to indicate the
particular system of transcription and, if needed, the particular

Linguists documenting endangered languages will very often be dealing
with languages spoken by small communities in which there are not widely
divergent pronunciation dialects. Thus, while "IPA" might not be
adequate for English, it may well be entirely adequate for Veracruz
Huastec. Also, when documenting such languages, standard practice will
be to have metadata recording details regarding the context of a
recorded text including anything that in later analysis might be
relevant for possible pronunciation-dialect distinctions -- i.e.
allowing a later researcher to create an analysis of the text that is
tagged with "IPA" plus other qualifying subtags.

The fact that something is not adequate for some particular need does
not imply that it is not useful for other needs.

Peter Constable

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