Several years ago, a friend came to stay with me for a few days. He perused a page on Wikipedia and wondered out loud about some marks following the name of the subject he was reading about. I told him that the marks were symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet. He said, Well, they don't do any good if people don't know what they are.
He was right––as he is occasionally. So today I'll clue you in on the IPA so when you come across it, you know what it is.
The IPA consists of symbols that resemble letters in the English language. It's based on Latin. Each symbol represents a sound in oral language. It's used by linguists, lexicographers, and a variety of people who want to learn how to pronounce words or names, whether in their own language or any other language. It can even be used to represent unrecorded languages.
I learned the IPA long ago when I took a class on linguistics. I don't remember all the symbols, but I still get the general idea of a pronunciation when I see it written in IPA.
Let's take the example of Milo Ventimiglia, who stars in the popular NBC show This Is Us, which I started watching because my good friend Rita at SoulComfort's Corner recommended it. Ventimiglia also played Jess on The Gilmore Girls, a show I adored because it's about my daughter and me.
|Need I remind you yet again that I am the real Lorelai Gilmore?|
So if we look up Milo on Wikipedia, we see this after his name: / /That's the pronunciation of Ventimiglia in IPA symbols.
You can find the entire IPA chart with its symbols and sounds online. It looks like this:
So now you know what those funny symbols mean when you happen across them, even if you don't know how to read them. But you can learn the IPA if you like, or pick out your favorite resource for the symbols and use it as a reference guide.
Infinities of love,