That's some voiceless epiglottal fricative you've got there.
January 7, 2005 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Hear the International Phonetic Alphabet. Voiced by one Paul Meier. One of the coolest things ever. [via languagehat]
posted by kenko (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This was neat. Now we just need MeFi to offer the full range of phoentic marks so that we can better express ourselves.
posted by blahblahblah at 2:04 PM on January 7, 2005

That was really cool. My roomate and I just spend the last 20 minutes trying to make every sound on the chart.
posted by saladin at 2:38 PM on January 7, 2005

Great link but about four years too late; this could have come in handy while I was preparing for a surreal phonetics exam where the instructor made what would otherwise be called a series of random noises and expected the students to dutifully transcribe "alveolar lateral flap, velar trill, dental click." So to you I offer what might be called a voiceless bilabial trill (:-P).
posted by fatllama at 2:59 PM on January 7, 2005

this is SO good. as a former linguistics student, i've had professors who couldn't reproduce a lot of these sounds. hearing them changes everything. what's interesting is that babies can and do make all of these sounds in their babble, and lose the ability to pronounce (and hear) the differences between them as their native language takes over their brain.
posted by ism at 3:02 PM on January 7, 2005

Surely this calls for a My Fair Lady quote.

Higgins : Now, how many vowell sounds do you think you heard altogether?
Pickering : I believe I counted 24.
Higgins : Wrong by a hundred.
Pickering : What?
Higgins : To be exact, you heard 130.
posted by mragreeable at 3:10 PM on January 7, 2005

This is far too cool for my own good.
posted by sciurus at 3:11 PM on January 7, 2005

Amazing. I've actually been looking recordings of different clicks for years. I'd love to hear them in a real language.

It's odd, though. I don't expect linguists to shill accent reduction software.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:24 PM on January 7, 2005

This is very cool. Thanks, kenko (and languagehat).

Did anyone else get great pleasure out of clicking multiple letters in rapid succession, so that it sounds like Mr. Meier is singing some sort of weird one-man diphthong aria?

.... or was that just me?
posted by Dr. Wu at 4:57 PM on January 7, 2005

I've needed this for so long. It's the one thing that I'm terrible about when doing field work. Thanks!
posted by Alison at 5:12 PM on January 7, 2005


...their native language takes over their brain.

Awesome also.
posted by clockzero at 5:28 PM on January 7, 2005

Don't forget the UCL Phonetics resources, which include an IPA for the Web tutorial, and The Sounds of The International Phonetic Alphabet CD. Yes, this CD has been played at a lexicographer's party. Hear this extract (mp3, from May of the 365 Days Project), and find out why not many people go to lexicographers' parties in the first place.

Accent reduction? Phooey. My accent beats your accent up, and steals its lunch money.
posted by scruss at 5:42 PM on January 7, 2005

So cool. Thanks.
And Dr. Wu, I did too.
posted by thirdparty at 5:42 PM on January 7, 2005

As I played around, I tried to guess at the sounds and make them based solely on their names. I hit several of them dead on. Proud of self now.
posted by devetron at 5:45 PM on January 7, 2005

I would like to make a song out of this.
posted by Jairus at 5:45 PM on January 7, 2005

Very cool, lovely interface, very fun. Still, I don't mean to be ungrateful, but (obligatory Flash gripe) it would be even nicer, and more useful, if you could link to individual sounds. Then someone could link hard-to-pronounce words with their sound prototypes, and vice-versa.

And, can someone tell me where the nasals are? If that's the right name. I mean the sounds in the French words "long", "lent", "lin", "l'un".
posted by Turtle at 6:01 PM on January 7, 2005

IPA is a blast. We had to learn it in acting school for dialects. Plus you can try and create fake dialects like ones where every vowel is converted to a schwa.
posted by ao4047 at 6:38 PM on January 7, 2005

I think you mean the retroflex nasal continuant. Looks like an 'n' with a long stem. The best is people who flip this to a pure n so they say I was singeen and danceen. We were haveen such a good time! Or even better is sing-geen.
posted by ao4047 at 7:59 PM on January 7, 2005

ao4047, my grandma used to sing me a song in that dialect! And then the same song in the dialect where every vowel is converted into an 'e' sound, and so on. "Oo oo look froot! Oo oo look froot! Look oopools oond boonoonoos, look oopools oond boonoonoos."
posted by moonmilk at 8:08 PM on January 7, 2005

That's awesome - one of my friends and her brother used to do the same thing with the 'a' sound as in have, cat and hat.


I want some ice cream!


Aa want sam ass cram!
posted by ao4047 at 8:14 PM on January 7, 2005

Very cool. IPA is one of those things I've been trying to learn for years, and have repeatedly given up in frustration, because I couldn't get the sounds in my head (I learn languages by hearing, not by reading).

Confused my dog, too.
posted by QIbHom at 10:04 PM on January 7, 2005

This is totally cool. Check out the non-pulmonic constants and the dipthong & tripthong animations.
posted by klausness at 12:40 AM on January 8, 2005

Anyone know if Victor Borge's phonetic punctuation routine can be found on these internets?
posted by Prince Nez at 3:44 AM on January 8, 2005

Very nice.

(Dropping a comment here so that I can find it later.)
posted by RavinDave at 4:14 AM on January 8, 2005

To answer my own question, the French nasalized vowels are not represented in the posted IPA chart (not very international!).

For more info, the Wikipedia's entry on the International Phonetic Alphabet has a link to Peter Ladefoged's UCLA Course in Phonetics. Though less slick than the Flash chart, it has a far more complete collection of sounds, and is highly linkable.

For example, the four different nasalized vowels in the French phrase un bon vin blanc are pronounced as follows:

un ~œ (lundi)
bon ~? (long)
vin ~? (lin)
blanc ~? (lent)

(Note IPA symbols are difficult to represent on some browsers and some fonts... tant pis.)
posted by Turtle at 7:51 AM on January 8, 2005

un ~̃œ (lundi)
bon ̃ɔ (long)
vin ̃ɛ (lin)
blanc ~̃ɑ (lent)
posted by Turtle at 7:55 AM on January 8, 2005

Here's another IPA Chart with sound (HTML, but only works with IE?), part of these IPA resources from the University of Victoria, British Columbia.

Sorry for the messed up IPA characters in the previous posts. They're truly hard to display properly on the web (and MeFi's buggy Preview doesn't help).
posted by Turtle at 12:57 PM on January 8, 2005

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