Phun with Phonetics

Most linguistics students will at some point be faced with the daunting task of learning the phonetic alphabet. That long list of little symbols which is supposed to adequately represent any sound in any language and make possible the transcription of the spoken word. In reality it falls short on many levels but we need not go into that now.

The whole set looks something like this:


As you can see, some signs, especially many consonants, appear familiar, whilst others take some getting used to. The bane of most students is being briefly introduced to these in a lecture and then trying to learn them from a book without the advantage of sound.

That’s where some brilliant folk over in Ohio came in and built this little online game which gives you four possible symbols to choose from for every sound you hear. A little bit of phun with phonetics and you too will soon be aceing your transcription exams…