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            During the second half of the 19th c., the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) was set up to supersede a multitude individual transcriptions of human speech. It won widespread support during the 20th c., and more so in Europe than in America. In the USA, most dictionaries still use English-based transcription systems.

The IPA tries to cover all languages by providing one symbol for each sound, it includes modifiers (in form of diacritics), and it allows both narrow and broad transcription. The alphabet borrowed most letters from the Roman alphabet and some from the Greek alphabet. Certain letters are modifications of existing letters and others are apparently unrelated to any standard alphabet. The IPA was last revised in 1993 and updated in 1996.

You can use the IPA phonetic alphabet with VTrain. Version 5.0 comes with on-screen keyboards for 100 languages, many of which include phonetic symbols:

For more information, see the
Alphabets & fonts section.

Besides, if you need an ASCII-only transcription of the IPA, try
X-SAMPA. This system can be a useful alternative to using two different fonts (regular vs. phonetic) in a document. Transcription examples in both systems follow:

English word IPA X-SAMPA
mother IPA transcription "mVD@(r)
peacefully IPA transcription "pi:sf@li
empathetic IPA transcription %emp@"TetIk

For charts of symbols for IPA and X-SAMPA, see:

IPA Official Website *****
University of Victoria: IPA chart Chart of IPA symbols in HTML format. [Requires Unicode.]
University of München: IPA chart ***** Chart of IPA symbols in PDF format.
Wikipedia: IPA
Wikipedia: SAMPA Language-specific transcriptions of IPA in ASCII.
Wikipedia: X-SAMPA ***** Universal transcription of IPA in ASCII for all languages.
SIL A Protestant missionary organization devoted to the study of all sorts of languages.
    Updated: 2017 January 1
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