Why incomplete subscript/superscript alphabet ?

Julian Bradfield jcb+unicode at inf.ed.ac.uk
Mon Oct 10 16:01:56 CDT 2016

On 2016-10-10, Hans Åberg <haberg-1 at telia.com> wrote:
>> On 10 Oct 2016, at 22:15, Julian Bradfield <jcb+unicode at inf.ed.ac.uk> wrote:
>> What do you mean? The IPA in narrow transcription is intended to
>> provide as detailed a description as a human mind can manage of
>> sounds. It doesn't care whether you're describing differences between
>> languages or differences within languages (a distinction that is not
>> in any case well defined).
> It is designed for phonemic transcriptions, cf.,
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_International_Phonetic_Alphabet

It *was* designed, in 1870-something. Try reading the Handbook of the
IPA. It contains many samples of languages transcribed both in a broad
phonemic transcription appropriate for the language, and in a narrow
phonetic transcription which should allow a competent phonetician to
produce an understandable and reasonably accurate rendition of the
passage. Indeed, a couple of decades ago, I participated in a public
engagement event in which a few of us attempted to do exactly that.

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