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For transcription used by some authors, check out http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/sampa/home.htm---- I call that opinion. Accurate according to whom. Yes the IPA is accurate, and perhaps there should be a link to it here. But, Samba is surely counter-intuitive and hardly the only choice for transcription or even computer transcription.

The advantage of SAMPA is that it's very close to IPA (you'll most certainly find a link to IPA on the SAMPA page). And BEING COUNTER-INTUITIVE is not a disadvantage at all, since IPA is also counter-intuitive - especially to speakers of English. Linguistics is very often counter-intuitive, and that probably applies to science in general. I don't think there is a more scientific and more computer-friendly system out there. Of course, /u:/ instead of <oo> is counter-intuitive to speakers of English, of course /S/ instead of <sh> seems strange, but only because <sh> is the grapheme you learn in school. In linguistics (especially phonetics and phonology), it doesn't really make sense to write <sh> instead of /S/. Of course those are all opinion, since there is no TRUTH in general. Of course I think it would be agood idea to use SAMPA throughout, but it's maybe better to include a transcription closer to English PLUS a more scientific transcription. Although SAMPA is not THAT hard to learn, I don't wanna force anyone to do so.---- Yes- that is 80% opinion at least. Further, this is a site where anyone can use whatever transcription system they like, and even, though it would be rude, anyone change someone else's transcription system. In my opinion, any transcription system that includes numbers rather than letters is more counter-intuitive than one that tries to confine itself to relatively familiar alphabets. Furthermore, British English speakers are brought up on the IPA, due to the influence of the OED, unlike Americans, and find it quite natural.

--- yeah, sure, I'd prefer to write in IPA, though that's not possible for technical reasons now is it? Sure, people with linguistic training from the UK feel that IPA is quite natural, but even IPA transcriptions may vary. Anyway... I don't think it would be a good idea to exclude SAMPA or IPA transcriptions. SAMPA only has SOME numbers, it's mainly or as far as possible it's identical with IPA.

--- I'll include ORTHOGRAPHY in the LINGUISTICS SECTION, because orthography is not language per se, but it is part of linguistics.


The subject of how to indicate pronunciations on Wiki pages is a complicated one, and simple solutions to complicated problems are frequently a bad idea. For many uses, something very simple and English-centric like the system used in the Jargon File would be adequate. But it's clearly not adequate for many other uses here, particularly when describing foreign languages. Using more than one system has its own drawbacks, and is more complicated overall than using one. Yes, SAMPA (or a competing IPA-based system such as the one used on sci.lang) is probably overkill and difficult to learn for many; but the technology here can be arranged to make it simpler. For example, the server already recognizes "ISBN XXX..." in Wiki text and automatically makes links to more detailed information about a book. It could do a similar thing with "SAMPA XXX...", automatically creating a link to a page explaining SAMPA, perhaps even a sound clip. It is possible that in the future, it could display real IPA symbols when Unicode fonts become more available. Most important, though, is that IPA-based information is information-preserving while simpler systems might not be, so we can add those features without needing more information. For that reason alone, I think it is important that we adopt some IPA-based standard. --LDC


yeah... dunno about the jargon file... the question is: is it used in linguistics?


No, it would be wholly inadequate for that; it's just a simple ad-hoc. I only mention it to say that it would br appropriate to use in some contexts (notably the jargon file itself, which describes jargon to English-speakers who aren't linguists). Surely we will need a more complete IPA-based system for linguistics articles in general, but that doesn't rule out the use of simpler methods for other uses. --LDC


This article says programming languages lack "discreteness". What does that mean? -LC

No answer for the last 4 months. I've removed the word. If anyone wants to put it back, please define it. -LC


Why does the introduction the concept 'language' START with machine language rather than with the human phenonmenon? It makes for a clever paragraph, but really now! --MichaelTinkler