Author Archives: Adam Albright

ˌøpəl snøˌfu

When I recently upgraded by operating system to Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger), I was amused to discover that the new Dictionary application has an option to give IPA pronunciations. Well, amused and slightly apprehensive, thinking that suddenly it might be a whole lot easier to simply look up the answers to transcription assignments. As it turns out, that fear was unfounded.

As it happens, Apple must have made some kind of coding error when converting the symbols for the New Oxford American dictionary, so (almost?) all the [æ]’s come out as [ø]. They also got the stress marks switched, so [ˌ] marks primary stress, and [ˈ] marks secondary stress, and some symbol which I guess must have been meant as a barred i [ɨ] shows up as the number ‘1’ (though I’m not able to determine the principles that govern when it is used, rather than a schwa or lax [ɪ]).

Another (probably intentional) glitch is that flaps are systematically indicated as [d] (a common dictionary pronunciation “feature”)

ˌhøpin1s ɪz eɪ n(j)u ˌmøkənˈtɑʃ ˌɑpəˈreɪdɪŋ ˌsɪst1m.