Looking for an application to give me phonetic spellings of words and surnames.
February 1, 2005 11:05 AM   Subscribe

I need an application (preferably web based) in which I can enter a word, including surnames, and get the phonetic spelling in return. Any ideas?
posted by Heatwole to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
This site can give pronunciations for surnames. I seem to recall seeing another similar application somewhere else. I know there's a standardized system that's used in genealogy.

As for normal words, how about a dictionary?
posted by stopgap at 11:22 AM on February 1, 2005

Ah! You need Soundex.

See online examples here and here. Microsoft offers advice on creating apps here. Free code snippets here.

(Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex is the greatly preferred version for Jewish and Slavic names.)
posted by Asparagirl at 11:40 AM on February 1, 2005

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary has quick-loading audio demos of word pronunciations. I find this very handy.
posted by Dr. Wu at 11:41 AM on February 1, 2005

Soundex is the genealogy system to which I referred.
posted by stopgap at 11:58 AM on February 1, 2005

Is there any way to convert soundex back into pronunciation? AFAIK, it is usually used to flatten similar names into a common arbitrary value for indexing.
posted by smackfu at 12:24 PM on February 1, 2005

Yeah, I don't see how the Soundex system is helpful here.

stopgap, your "this site" link gave two absolutely horrible attempts at pronouncing the name I put in. It sounded like the robot the NYPL used to have on the book-renewal phone line ("To re-new I-SAAC Ass-IH-move, Foundation tri-LOGE-ee, press... ONE..."). There must be a better way.
posted by languagehat at 2:11 PM on February 1, 2005

Some of the software on this guy's site may do what you want (scroll down).
posted by i love cheese at 8:28 PM on February 1, 2005

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