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Social Sci LibreTexts

2.3: Describing Speech Sounds: the IPA

  • Page ID
    9633
  • This unit introduces the International Phonetic Alphabet, a system for accurately transcribing speech sounds. The IPA is useful because it is unambiguous: each symbol always represents the same sound, and each sound is always represented by the same symbol.
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    Check Yourself

    1. The vowel sounds in the words neat and spread are both spelled “ea”. Do the vowels in the two words sound the same as each other or different?

    • Same.
    • Different.

    2. Are the final sounds in the words face and mess the same as each other or different?

    • Same.
    • Different.

    3. Are the first sounds in the two words gym and gum the same as each other or different?

    • Same.
    • Different.