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IPA transcriptions for free?
February 15, 2010 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Is there an open source (or free for non-commercial use) list of English (Either RP or Standard American) IPA transcriptions available somewhere? Example: car: /ˈkɑː/, cat: /kæt/.
posted by Memo to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not IPA, but serviceably similar: The CMU Pronouncing Dictionary.
posted by aparrish at 2:18 PM on February 15, 2010


Are you looking for IPA in particular or just a phonetic representation? There are open-source speech synthesis packages like espeak and festival which convert text to a sequence of phonemes (usually with tone and stress markup) and then synthesize audio from that.

Otherwise, maybe you could mechanically transliterate an online out-of-copyright 1913 Webster's' pronunciations into IPA?
posted by hattifattener at 2:30 PM on February 15, 2010


If you have Mac OS 10.4 or later, you've got a nearly correct IPA pronouncing dictionary in unencrypted XML. (Link goes to instructions for fixing the few glitches that are there.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:45 PM on February 15, 2010


Wikipedia's sister project, Wiktionary, includes IPA transcriptions and its source data can be downloaded in XML format. I beleive that FAQ is out of date regarding the license, as they've switched to CC-BY-SA. Looks like there's even some software available to read the XML dump.
posted by serathen at 3:05 PM on February 15, 2010


Wiktionary?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:06 PM on February 15, 2010


aparrish and hattifattener: Sorry, it has to be IPA as that's what we use in class.

nebulawindphone: Sounds interesting but I don't have a Mac or access to one.

serathen and Sys Rq: I've considered Wiktionary (and I'm currently checking the XML dump) but it's more of a last resource thing as it looks like a non-trivial process to scrap the IPA from it.
posted by Memo at 3:31 PM on February 15, 2010


Can you be more specific about why you need this? You obviously have the IPA font, can you just transcribe what you need yourself? I can't imagine your needing to transcribe pages and pages ... or do you?
posted by lilnublet at 5:09 PM on February 15, 2010


Yes, it would be nice to know what purpose you have in mind. There are likely to be a lot of ways to skin this cat, depending on what you're up to.

One fairly simple possibility — the CMU Pronouncing Dictionary's phonemic notation maps 1-to-1* onto the IPA symbols generally used for English. It would not be at all difficult to download the CMU dictionary and use Your Favorite Search-And-Replace Tool (in a pinch, you could use the Find and Replace commands in MS Word) to replace "AE" with "æ," "NG" with "ŋ," and so on.

*...almost. You'll need to be aware that some people use /ʌ/ and /ǝ/ to represent stressed and unstressed variants of the same English vowel. If the IPA users in your corner of the world do this, then you'll need to replace AH1 and AH2 with "ʌ" and AH0 with "ǝ." This is still doable using any program that can do search-and-replace on text — it's just a finicky detail to be aware of.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:25 PM on February 15, 2010


Another possibility: if you just want someplace to look up English pronunciations and don't actually need the whole list in a single file, the Cambridge English dictionary is searchable online and uses the IPA.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:34 PM on February 15, 2010


I want to make a script where I can input a word or even a sentence in English and get the basic IPA transcription.

I know I can get them word by word using any (good) dictionary but when dealing with sentences it would make things much faster, even if I have to add the appropriate features of connected speech manually.

nebulawindphone: "One fairly simple possibility — the CMU Pronouncing Dictionary's phonemic notation maps 1-to-1* onto the IPA symbols generally used for English. It would not be at all difficult to download the CMU dictionary and use Your Favorite Search-And-Replace Tool (in a pinch, you could use the Find and Replace commands in MS Word) to replace "AE" with "æ," "NG" with "ŋ," and so on. "

That's almost exactly what I wanted! Thanks.
posted by Memo at 6:47 PM on February 15, 2010


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