- Why do some words appear in red, blue or italics?
- How do I copy the results line by line to Word?
- Why [r] instead of [ɹ]?
- Shouldn’t [t] between vowels be a flap [ɾ]?
- Why is “let” vowel /e/ replaced by /ɛ/ in BrE?
- Can I download the speech audio?
- Is there an API?
- What is the source of the transcriptions?
- How can I reference this website in my work?
Why do some words appear in red, blue or italics?
- Words in red couldn’t be transcribed. Leave us a comment if you believe the word should be in the dictionary.
- Transcriptions in blue have more than one reading. Hover the mouse to see alternatives or click the word to cycle through them.
- Transcriptions appearing in italics are weak forms. “Show weak forms” option should be checked for this to work.
How do I copy the results line by line to Word?
For now “Side by side with English text” is your best option if you are going to copy it somewhere else. For best results you will have to break up the original text by lines though.
Why [r] instead of [ɹ]?
The website provides phonemic transcription. Since there is no rolling [r] sound in English language and therefore no confusion between the two, IPA recommends using ‘r’ for simplicity. Most dictionaries do just that.
Shouldn’t [t] between vowels be a flap [ɾ]?
The website is focusing on phonemic transcriptions, so this particular case is out of scope. On top of that, even if we limit this feature to NAmE, there are too many factors involved. There is just no exact phonological rule for whether the flapping will occur or not.
Why is “let” vowel /e/ replaced by /ɛ/ in BrE?
The actual realisation of the phoneme has shifted to open-mid vowel a while ago, so /ɛ/ better reflects modern British pronunciation. The reason /e/ is still used in BrE transcriptions as a separate phoneme is that it is a part of Gimson convention. While simplicity is the main pro-/e/ argument, using the same character as in diphthong /eɪ/ causes confusion to ESL students. This article might be of interest.
Can I download the speech audio?
Not at the moment. The speech you hear is generated by your browser, so potentially there might be extensions capturing browser’s audio, but you will have to search extension repository of the browser you are using for that.
Is there an API?
Not at the moment, although not ruled out in the future. We understand it’s a popular feature request, but we need to come up with some logistic solution for managing the server workload.
What is the source of the transcriptions?
American transcriptions were initially based on the Open Carnegie Mellon University Pronouncing Dictionary and this far didn’t deviate that much in relative terms. British transcriptions are backed by a proprietary database with years of corrections and updates to align it with existing modern conventions and actual usage of the language. We are grateful to our users flagging issues and otherwise drawing our attention to discrepancies in the results, thereby driving continuous improvement to the service.
How can I reference this website in my work?
“toPhonetics.com” is just fine or “toPhonetics.com (2013, Mu-Sonic Ltd)” if you need publishing details.