word (ex. nubivagant), language (ex. Portuguese), topic (ex. love),
part of speech (ex. noun), origin (ex. origin: Latin), first letter (ex. A)
For anyone who’s wondering: At the time being, I do not have any intention of using IPA in my pronunciations. Here’s why. Please try and refrain from sending messages that inquire or complain about it further. Thank you!
I absolutely agree with you. I realize that there are a number of things wrong with my pronunciation guide. In this case, it’s that I haven’t found a way to denote a U sound like oo (tsundoku) instead of uh (umbrella) or yoo (union). It also has problems with A sounds—I have ay (able) and ahh (apple) but not aah (anonymous) or ah (always).
Vowels are tricky, because as an English speaker (and not Japanese), it’s hard for me to differentiate consciously between similar vowel sounds. Plus, I’ve only got so many characters on my keyboard, and Tumblr only accepts so many kinds of formatting. Making a pronunciation guide that “makes sense” to everyone is tough. I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you, but know that I do try my best, and be assured that I am constantly trying to improve the guide.
But I hope that you see that six months of studying anything does not necessarily make you an expert, and that even being an expert does not necessarily mean you need to be angry about someone else’s mistakes. I accept your criticism (as humbly as possible!) but I wish you didn’t feel like you had to “rant” about anything that appears on my blog, or that one post ruined it for you. I hope you’ll find time to look at some of my other hundreds of posts and make your judgment with a wider sample to inform your decision.
I don’t use IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) because IPA looks like this:
and typing it would look like this:
whereas my system can be summed up in three simple points:
See, that’s just three things to remember, with minimal use of characters I can’t find on my computer or phone keyboard (which is where I do much of my posting from now). IPA, of course, covers an amazing depth of sound and linguistic detail that my system doesn’t even approach. But this is just a Tumblr, and my goal was to get as close to the proper pronunciations as possible without forcing people to rely on a guide every time. Once you know the three points I listed above, you can easily read my pronunciations without having to check the guide.
I can’t read IPA, and I don’t think I’m the only one! It’s really very complicated, I think. I have plans to clean up my existing guide, and I’d certainly like to study linguistics and learn IPA. But I’m sorry, I don’t have any intention of switching to IPA on this blog.
uh-THAZZ-uh-gore-uh-foe-bee-uh. (That looks very silly.) Something like that! You can kind of just sound it out and you’d be about right.
After many days of hemming, hawing, and general procrastination, I’m finally including pronunciations in the captions of posts. If you click the funny symbols, you’ll be directed to my pronunciation guide page, which can be summed up like this:
- separates syllables.
’ before a syllable indicates the strongest stress in a word, and
” indicates the second strongest stress(es).
No mark before a syllable means weak or no stress.
Capital vowels, generally, mean the long vowel sound.
(ex. O in oak and o in otter)
It’s the other way round for consonants: lowercase means the hard consonant sound where the consonant has multiple sounds, and uppercase means the soft sound.
(ex. c in cat and C in center)
Check out the pronunciation guide for more info.
If the symbolic pronunciation is almost completely undecipherable at first glance, I’ll include a rough phonetic pronunciation in the caption too.
Thanks to everyone who sent me a message asking about pronunciation—your patience and, er, persistence is appreciated!
Short version: Yes!
tl;dr but important anyways version: Yes! But not quite yet.
Over the past few days, I’ve been working on turning that mess of strange characters that dictionaries use to show pronunciation into a simpler, more understandable system.
Here’s what I’ve got so far: | pronunciation guide | I’ve left out many of the subtler linguistic nuances that dictionaries include. It does mean that sometimes we only get a good approximation of a pronunciation instead of a perfect representation (most notably for non-English words), but it makes things much clearer.
The second to last thing for me to decide is whether to use underlined letters or capital letters to denote long vowel sounds and hard consonant sounds—for example the C in cat versus the C in census.
The last thing, which is really the problem, is where in the posts to put the pronunciation. As you can probably tell from the word images and the theme, I don’t like clutter, and I really want to keep the blog feeling clean and minimal.
I put other information, like origin and part of speech, into the tags, but that won’t work for pronunciation. So where do I put it? The caption, like in Waldeinsamkeit? (But then it might be cluttered!) A separate image for other info, and make every post a photoset? (But then making posts will take longer!)
I know it seems like a silly thing to be indecisive about, but I promise I’m working on it. If you’ve got an opinion or suggestion on either issue and you’d like to help me out, please, please send me a message.
A lot of people have asked about pronunciations, so thank you all for your patience!