dictionary.com throws the IPA out the window?

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Avram
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dictionary.com throws the IPA out the window?

Postby Avram » Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:38 am UTC

...or has the site redesign merely hidden this beautiful feature?

This has completely ruined my day.

Can anyone recommend a decent online dictionary with real pronunciation guides? Seriously, as far as I'm concerned, any dictionary without IPA is worthless. There already exists a widely-agreed upon transcription standard; why do dictionaries keep inventing their own? Probably because the vowels are confusing to the uninitiated, I guess.

shivasprogeny
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Re: dictionary.com throws the IPA out the window?

Postby shivasprogeny » Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:42 am UTC

Fonkey wrote:...or has the site redesign merely hidden this beautiful feature?

This has completely ruined my day.

Can anyone recommend a decent online dictionary with real pronunciation guides? Seriously, as far as I'm concerned, any dictionary without IPA is worthless. There already exists a widely-agreed upon transcription standard; why do dictionaries keep inventing their own? Probably because the vowels are confusing to the uninitiated, I guess.


One reason could be that dictionaries are focused on one language whereas the IPA has to represent the sounds of every language.

If you were creating a phonetic alphabet for just English, you would create something that would be easy for English speakers to understand and that looks reasonably similar to our normal writing.

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gmalivuk
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Re: dictionary.com throws the IPA out the window?

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:15 pm UTC

Yeah, except, if you're not using IPA, which dialect of English am I supposed to assume when you're giving me pronunciation guides?

On the other hand, don't they have little audio pronunciation links for every entry?
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Re: dictionary.com throws the IPA out the window?

Postby yeyui » Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:30 pm UTC

Using IPA does not remove the difficulty of dialectic differences. In fact, if you give IPA transcriptions, you must either give one for each regional pronunciation, or pick favorites.

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Re: dictionary.com throws the IPA out the window?

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:05 pm UTC

What I mean is that with the IPA you can tell anyone who knows IPA how GAE pronounces a word, or how RP pronounces it, or whatever. With a dictionary-specific system, you have to check each system before you know how those words are pronounced.

All dictionaries pick a "favorite" accent, regardless of what phonetic symbols they use.
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semicolon
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Re: dictionary.com throws the IPA out the window?

Postby semicolon » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:58 am UTC

so are there any immediate benefits to learning IPA? that is, after learning IPA you were like "wow now that I can read the pronunciation thingy all these wikipedia articles and dictionary.com entries are so much more enligtening! i feel fulfilled!"?

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Re: dictionary.com throws the IPA out the window?

Postby Longhouse » Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:52 am UTC

semicolon wrote:so are there any immediate benefits to learning IPA? that is, after learning IPA you were like "wow now that I can read the pronunciation thingy all these wikipedia articles and dictionary.com entries are so much more enligtening! i feel fulfilled!"?

If you ever want to learn another language, IPA is the way to go. You'll learn not only how to pronounce words as they are pronounced, instead of approximating it through English (or whichever you mother tongue is), but also general phonology. All those distinctions, like the difference between velar and uvular, aspirated and unaspirated, or other features like palatisation, retroflexes, clicks etc. You'll probably learn something new about English as well.

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Re: dictionary.com throws the IPA out the window?

Postby shivasprogeny » Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:25 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:What I mean is that with the IPA you can tell anyone who knows IPA how GAE pronounces a word, or how RP pronounces it, or whatever. With a dictionary-specific system, you have to check each system before you know how those words are pronounced.


Certainly the IPA is useful, and I'm don't think it would be bad for dictionaries to use it. However, most English speakers are going to better understand "sh" in a pronunciation guide rather than "ʃ". And then you try to explain that "j" is pronounced like "y" and so on until most people aren't able to make heads or tails out of it. I imagine that's why most dictionaries develop their own pronunciation guide.

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Re: dictionary.com throws the IPA out the window?

Postby Monika » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:08 pm UTC

semicolon wrote:so are there any immediate benefits to learning IPA? that is, after learning IPA you were like "wow now that I can read the pronunciation thingy all these wikipedia articles and dictionary.com entries are so much more enligtening! i feel fulfilled!"?

Of course.

But then English is not my native language.

IPA wasn't taught when I started learning English, but when my little brother entered 5th grade, they spent some weeks on IPA first.
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subjective
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Re: dictionary.com throws the IPA out the window?

Postby subjective » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:59 pm UTC

The old design is back - I think Ask.com realized the error of their ways. At least, I desperately hope so because the 'new' corporate look was utter crap.

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Justinlrb
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Re: dictionary.com throws the IPA out the window?

Postby Justinlrb » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:13 am UTC

*sigh* English speakers and their rejection of international standards.


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