Tutoriel en anglais sur les caractères API (alphabet phonétique international) dans les pages web et les navigateurs. Trop fatiguée pour le faire en bilingue, désolée.
The Tensor at Tenser, said the Tensor (if I’m going to link to him or her in the future I will have to find a better naming scheme) has an enjoyable post on pseudo-IPA in advertising.
You will have to be able to view phonetic symbols in your browser. Look up to this site’s logo and check: Can you see the (phonemic) transcription of serendipity twice, big and small, in different fonts but otherwise identical? Or are there boxes or gibberish showing up in the small version? Here’s the ultra-short tutorial to get your computer IPA-ready:
- I presume your browser is capable of displaying unicode-encoded characters. I hear that even IE4 is.
- You need a unicode font that contains the IPA characters (and diacritics, but let’s stick to the basics). A good place to start is this gentle introduction, with links to the most widespread IPA unicode fonts.
- Which font to choose? Doulos SIL is the quasi-standard. Arial Unicode MS and Lucida Sans Unicode come with most modern MS Windows systems, but if you have them you don’t need to read this. (I don’t have Arial; Lucida’s font design is quite original — one of the rare good sans-serif IPA fonts). Personnally, I like Junicode. Thryomanes is common on Linux systems (Debian-users: there’s an official .deb package for it, at least in SID). Very nice, but better at larger font sizes and in printed documents rather than on the Web. Gentium is gorgeous, I used it for the logo. At smaller sizes, though, Gentium looks a little delicate.
- Installing a font is easy. In MS Win, just throw it into your fonts directory, somewhere under the Windows directory. I can’t help Macintosh users, but usually Mac OS already does everything for them anyway. Restart your browser and off you go.
The Tensor clears up something that has long puzzled me: why some otherwise excellent online dictionaries, eg dictionary.com, use a way to transcribe the way a word sounds that is near-incomprehensible, at least to non-native speakers not very familiar with the sounds of English. Every (paper) dictionary I have ever consulted or owned uses IPA, with minor variations, such as whether to transcribe “pure” phonemes or lean more towards a phonetic rendering, or the accent issue (American vs British pronunciation, BBC, received pronunciation …) as in [loʊ] or [ləʊ] for low. Yes, even my trusty old Hornby (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English — revised and updated!), which I used in high school.