Wongery:Pronunciation

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In the Wongery, pronunciations are given for words, names, and phrases that may be unfamiliar to many readers. These pronunciations are given in the International Phonetic Alphabet, a notation system designed to represent all sounds in spoken human language. Some words may have alternate pronunciations aside from the one given; the Wongery does not necessarily give all possible valid pronunciations of each term.

Most pronunciations in the Wongery are given as they would be said by a speaker of English, even if the words or names in question refer or pertain to locations where English is spoken rarely or not at all. In these cases, the pronunciations are enclosed in virgules, like so: /ˈwɒŋgəriː/. They use a slightly altered version of the IPA that does not distinguish between nonphonemic variations. Occasionally, however, when there is no standard Anglicized version of a word or name, or simply when it is judged interesting to supply the pronunciation in another language, a more detailed phonetic pronunciation is given. In this case, the pronunciation is enclosed in square brackets, like so: [ˈwɒŋgəɹiː].

Standard IPA

Pronunciations in square brackets are strict phonetic transcriptions, and may include differences in sound that are not phonemic in English or even in the native languages they come from. Such pronunciations are usually only given when there is no standard pronunciation of the word or name in question in English, or when a pronunciation in another language has interesting features that warrants its being given in addition to the English pronunciation. This includes cases in which the original pronunciation includes sounds which do not exist in standard English, such as [ɣ] (a voiced version of the ch in loch, the sound represented by the letter R in French), [ʕ] (a pharyngeal fricative found in several languages including Hebrew and Kurdish), and [ʘ] (a bilabial click found in a few languages in Africa and one ritual language in Australia).

A complete chart of the International Phonetic Alphabet can be found on the website of the International Phonetic Association.

English IPA

Pronunciations in virgules—slashes—are phonemic English transcriptions. These may differ from the strict phonetic transcriptions in a number of ways. Some symbols have a slightly different meaning in the English transcription than in the full IPA; most notably, the English R sound is properly [ɹ] in the IPA, but in the English IPA transcription it is represented by /r/, which otherwise represents the trilled R of Spanish and other languages. Also, different sounds that are not phonemic are represented by the same symbol; the Ls in <leap>, <plane>, and <pull> are actually three different sounds—in the IPA, respectively [l], [l̥], and [ɫ]—but in the English pronunciation will in all three cases be represented as /l/, since the different sounds do not represent different phonemes. Finally, the English transcription does not make distinctions between dialects, and may include sounds not spoken in some dialects. For instance, in some British dialects of English the R in <hare> may be silent, and in others the H may be, but the pronunciation will be written as /hɛər/ regardless.

In essence, the Wongery follows the same standards as Wikipedia with regards to the use of the IPA to represent English pronunciations; you can see the article there on IPA for English for more information.

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