International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
This is the most universally accepted phonetic transcription, used in dictionaries to indicate the correct pronunciation of the English language. It is based on the original Latin alphabet.
It was devised by Issac Pitman & Henry Ellis in 1847 as a phonetic script, to standardize the sounds represented by the letters of the alphabet within the English language. It was adapted from an idea of French Language teachers who initially created an IPA which was applicable to all languages.
The IPA is used as a basis when creating new writing systems for old language which have no written element. It is beneficial to translators, linguists and speech and accent therapists.
It is used as a tool in phrase books and foreign language books to help speakers of a new language to gauge pronunciation. It is very helpful to non-native English speakers when learning English as a second language.
The symbols are made up of one or more foundations of two types of symbols, letters and diacritics (glyphs) For example, the sound of ‘t’ would be transcribed in IPA as the letter [t], or if combined with a diacritic, it would be symbolised as [t̺ʰ]. This transcription characterizes distinctive speech qualities in the English language including the separation of syllables within words.
The International Phonetic Association continues to adapt, add or replace letters and diacritics when modification is required. Currently there are 107 letters, 52 diacritics and 4 prosodic marks with identify intonation.