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Could you please stop reordering the pronunciation sections? The policy at Wiktionary:Pronunciation states that enPR comes first, not last. If you think that should be changed, then by all means start a discussion saying so. However, for the time being, the policy should be followed. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 06:48, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Since you seem to have missed my initial comment, you have been blocked for a short period of time. Please, do not presume to change our policies without first discussing them. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 06:55, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, Atelaes, I'm new to this. I just signed on yesterday. I was going by Wiktionary's pronunciation entry layout instructions, which don't even mention enPR. I'm willing to abide by the policy for now, but I'd like to know the rationale behind a policy that puts a homebrewed dialect-specific pronunciation transcription system ahead of a long-established general international standard. How would I go about starting such a discussion? AndreasWittenstein 20:49, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

That's understandable. The WT:ELE is the primary document, but it has not been well-updated lately. Several subsidiary documents have been developing over the past year, but not all of them are linked from the main document yet. I have added a link to the more specialized policy document on Pronunciation. --EncycloPetey 22:07, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Based on recent conversations, we are now preferring "UK" and "US" over "RP" and "GenAm". Also, when the UK & US pronunciations are identical, they may be combined into a single line as on the entry for (deprecated template usage) eat. --EncycloPetey 23:39, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Okay. There are an awful lot of dialects in the UK, but it's true that RP is dominant. Where would I find these relevant conversations?AndreasWittenstein 00:08, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
In that case, how about 'AU' instead of 'AusE' for Australian English?
Wiktionary talk:Pronunciation has the conversation in which we opted for UK over RP. I's have to do a lot more looking to find the other related conversations, but US has tended to be used more commonly than GenAm in any case. When "US" is used in the {{a}} template, it links to the Wikipedia article about the General American dialect anyway. For Australian dialects, no regular option has ever been agreed upon, mostly because we've rarely had people adding them. --EncycloPetey 00:19, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Also, I don't understand why you are removing length markers from US pronunciations as you did here [1]. The vowel is indeed long in most US dialects. --EncycloPetey 00:21, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm removing length markers from US pronunciations because in General American, length is non-phonemic, being wholly predictable, in a given phonological context, from tenseness. Phonetically, in fact, vowel duration for a given vowel quality is used in General American to distinguish whether the syllable is closed with a voiceless obstruent, e.g. [bæːd] vs. [bæt].
But we, as a community, include vowel length in pronunciations, as do many major English dictionaries. The length is only predictable if one knows all the rules, which is not true of many of our readers. Please do not remove them. --EncycloPetey 03:23, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry if I was unclear. In General American English, unlike RP English, so-called 'tense' vowels are NOT longer than so-called 'lax' vowels. It is simply incorrect to characterize /i/, /ɑ/, /u/... as being "longer" than /ɪ/, /ʌ/, /ʊ/... in American English. Vowels in American English are lengthened under stress and shortened before voiceless obstruents in the same syllable, regardless of whether they are 'tense' or 'lax'. It is true that 'tense' versus 'lax' vowels in American English are still often mistakenly called "long" versus "short", but this is merely a terminological holdover from an accurate description of RP English that is not valid for American English. Many languages in the world distinguish between vowels of different length, and putting spurious length markers in American English pronunciations would be seriously misleading to them.
Well, the "tense" vowels are still slightly longer than the "lax" vowels in American English in identical contexts ("beat" has a slightly longer vowel than "bit" and "bead" has a slightly longer vowel than "bid"), but that pales in comparison to the difference in vowel length that depends on the voicing of the following consonant ("bid" has a significantly longer vowel even than "beat", let alone "bit"). And indeed Kenyon & Knott (for example) don't use the long mark in their transcription of General American. I'd also support omitting length marks for American English. As it stands, hot is listed as being pronounced /hɑːt/ in American English, as if it were homophonous with RP heart, which is ridiculous. Giving /hiːt/ for heat and /buːt/ for boot in American English isn't so bad, but /hɑːt/ is simply laughable. Angr 17:01, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Also, EncycloPetey, Wiktionary:English pronunciation key has never shown vowel length for American English in the two years that RP and GenAm have been listed side-by-side there, except for this one change of yours from a few weeks ago, which made the page internally inconsistent and which has been reverted partly by Andreas and just now partly by me. Angr 17:11, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Whether 'tense' vowels are at all statistically longer than 'lax' vowels in General American is controversial, and in any case the correlation is very weak, even in otherwise identical phonological contexts. House & Fairbanks (JASA 23.1.105, 1953), for example, found no evidence for it.
Yeah. The other feature that has an effect on vowel length is height. High lax vowels are shorter than low lax vowels in the same environment, so "hit" and "hook" are shorter than "hat" and "hot". Anyway, I definitely agree with you that we shouldn't be showing vowel length for American English, especially since Wiktionary's own pronunciation key doesn't. Angr 18:22, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Just to add my two cents, I actually agree with your assessment of US English, and I note also that the OED has now stopped marking length in US Pronunciation transcription. Widsith 18:37, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Syllable boundaries and SAMPAEdit

Please do not remove the syllable boundary markers, especially with comments like "incorrect" when they are not incorrect for the accent marked (e.g. as you did at never, which really does have two syllables in UK speech). Several people have requested syllable information on the feedback page, so we should strive to add it where we can.

Can we here? I certainly wouldn't dispute that "never" has two syllables. And I said the syllable boundary was "intervocalic", not "incorrect". The question is where to place the syllable boundary. Many phoneticians would say that the /v/ in "never" is ambisyllabic in RP, meaning that the syllable boundary occurs neither before nor after the /v/, but within it. From my experience in speech recognition, I definitely favor this determination. The problem is that the IPA has no way of representing ambisyllabic consonants. For those phoneticians who disallow ambisyllabicity on ideological grounds, there are a number of cues that might determine whether the boundary occurs before or after the /v/, but practically none apply here. There is no morpheme boundary on either side to guide us (even etymologically, the root of "ever" is unanalyzable); /v/ has no distinct initial versus final allophones; and the presence versus absence of the /v/ in either the preceding or following syllable has no distinct effect on the preceding or following vowel. In favor of /ˈnɛv.ə(ɹ)/, the vowel /ɛ/ is syllable-final in RP only in a few words such as "eh". In favor of /ˈnɛ.və(ɹ)/, the sound /ɛv/ is syllable-final in RP only in a few words such as "Bev"; and when RP speakers enunciate the word slowly, I believe they lengthen the /ɛ/, not the /v/. AndreasWittenstein 19:00, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

With SAMPA there is no need to preface @ (or any other) symbols with a backslash - we use SAMPA for English (or whichever other language) not X-SAMPA, and the MediaWiki software does not treat strings with an @ in the middle as an email address (unless explicitly marked as an external link).

I haven't been prefacing @ with a backslash; I've occasionally added a missing backslash after the r in SAMPA. The SAMPA for RP and GA /ɹ/ is /r\/. See the Wiktionary:English pronunciation key. AndreasWittenstein 19:00, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Also, where the pronunciations call for an = sign, use the syntax "x=/.../" (where x is the number of the parameter, e.g. {{SAMPA|1=/kn=/|2=/rIdn=/}}) rather than using the html/unicode codepoint entity, as this makes the markup easier to read. Thryduulf 20:54, 3 June 2008

Okay, thanks. I had just been following the first remedy suggested. AndreasWittenstein 19:00, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Another thing, if you make changes to the IPA pronunciation (e.g. as you did at after), please could you also make the same change to the SAMPA template. Thanks. Thryduulf 13:25, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

That was my intent, but evidently I missed some; I'll go back and check them all. What I would really like to do is write a trivial script to automatically derive the enPR and SAMPA transcriptions from the IPA, as part of the autoformatter, to avoid needless triplification of effort. How would I go about doing this? Is the autoformatter written in PHP or Python or what? Where is it? AndreasWittenstein 19:00, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Autoformat is a bot written by User:Robert Ullmann. If you look at the recent changes here you should be able to see what it is doing. Nadando 19:02, 4 June 2008 (UTC)