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International Phonetic Alphabet
Abbreviation: IPA
Scope: A standardization of phonetic and phonemic transcription of language
Topic: Character encoding, Formatting
Standard body: Other
Keywords: Unicode, phonetic annotation, oral language, transcription

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) has been developed since 1886 by the International Phonetic Association and standardizes the set of symbols for representation of sounds in written form for almost all world languages. Primarily, IPA was developed based on the Roman alphabet, but then it contains some letters and additional symbols from other scripts.

Each IPA symbol consists of one or more elements (letters, diacritics and prosody marks) and is designed to represent only those qualities of speech that are distinctive (characteristics that show the significant differences between sounds) in spoken language, such as phonemes, intonations, separation of word and syllables. IPA does not define symbols describing information such as clicks, pops, gnashing of teeth; spoken rapidly or lisping; transcription of atypical speech, but there are extensions to IPA symbols that cover the transcription of such sounds.

IPA is widely used in all areas where the analysis of the oral speech is focused on lexicography, linguistics, translation, speech-language pathology.

Related Standard(s):
  • UCS

    The UCS contains an IPA section

  • Unicode

    The Unicode defines codes for symbols used in the IPA

Other standards in the same topic(s):

Abbreviation: IPA-2005 [not official, only for reference in this website]
Release Date: 2005
  1. The International Phonetic Association