Linguistics: An Introduction

By William B. McGregor



2.1 — IPA charts and fonts

The textbook uses a simplified version of the IPA chart (see p. 31), omitting some of the less commonly used letters and diacritics, and organising the chart in a somewhat simpler way.

You can see the full version of the latest version of the IPA (dated 2005) at the homepage of the International Phonetic Association. A pdf version of the latest version Chart can be downloaded there. (Note that the chart is updated regularly, new symbols being added for new phones that are found in previously undescribed languages.)

The University Sheffield has a a website that lists IPA symbols and sounds. Clicking on a symbol you can hear the sound, and get an articulatory description.

You can get free IPA fonts for your computer from the SIL International Software homepage. Follow the downloading and installation instructions.

The following Unicode compliant fonts are recommended:

Important note: To read some of the documents on this website properly you will need a non-Unicode SIL font (these were created on a program that does not support Unicode). To download the necessary fonts, go to SIL Encore IPA Fonts in the font list at the SIL International Software homepage and click on that option. Next click on Download SIL Encore IPA Fonts. Follow the instructions for installing the fonts to your system.

There are many other sites where you can get IPA fonts for free or for a price (if you prefer to pay).

Note that the incipient standard for fonts is Unicode, which includes IPA characters in parts of its range (IPA-Extended, Modified letters, and Combining diacritics; some IPA letters will be found scattered about). Some fonts included with Windows machines have IPA symbols in the main ranges (others have no symbols there, or just a few). Check Arial and Lucida Sans.

Many of the IPA fonts you find on the web are not Unicode; the SIL International website has Unicode IPA fonts, as well as non-unicode.

Wikipedia provides extensive information on the IPA and ways to input IPA as well as links to free IPA fonts etc.

Updated: Feb. 11, 2009