Chapter 2: Student Resources

2.1 IPA Charts and fonts

The textbook uses a simplified version of the IPA chart (see pp. 29‒30), omitting some of the less commonly used letters and diacritics, and organising the chart in a somewhat simpler way.

You can see the full version of the latest version of the IPA (dated 2005) at the homepage of the International Phonetic Association. A pdf version of the latest version Chart can be downloaded there. (Note that the chart is updated occasionally, new symbols being added for new phones that are found in previously undescribed languages.)

Click here for a website that lists IPA symbols with their sounds. Clicking on a symbol you can hear the sound.
You can get free IPA fonts for your computer from the SIL International Software homepage. Follow the downloading and installation instructions.

The following Unicode compliant fonts are recommended:
• Charis SIL
• Doulos SIL
• Sophia Nubian

Important note: To read some of the documents on this website properly you will need a non-Unicode SIL font (these were created on a program that does not support Unicode). To download the necessary fonts, go to SIL Encore IPA Fonts in the font list at the SIL International Software homepage and click on that option. Next click on Download SIL Encore IPA Fonts. Follow the instructions for installing the fonts to your system.

There are many other sites where you can get IPA fonts for free or for a price (if you prefer to pay).

Note that the standard for fonts is Unicode, which includes IPA characters in parts of its range. Some of the most popular fonts included with Windows computers have IPA symbols in the main ranges (in Word, they are found under IPA Extensions, Spacing Modifier Letters, and Combining Diacritical Marks, though some IPA letters will be found elsewhere, e.g. the signs for clicks and engma). Times New Roman, Arial and Lucida Sans Unicode have the full set of IPA symbols.

In Word for Windows you can access the IPA characters by going to the Insert tab, selecting the symbol tab and then click on More Symbols … This takes you to the list of symbols available for each installed font on your computer. Then you search for the relevant letter. An easier and more convenient means of inputting IPA to your document is with a soft keyboard. An online keyboard can be found here. Two useful keyboards are Type IPA phonetic symbols and IPA character picker.

Some of the IPA fonts you find on the web are not Unicode; the SIL International website has Unicode IPA fonts, as well as non-unicode.

Wikipedia provides extensive information on the IPA and links to free IPA fonts etc.

2.2 'The farmer kills the duckling'

You can download here my production of The farmer kills the duckling from which the wave representation of Figure 2.1 is generated (p. 28 of the textbook). Try to correlate the sounds you hear with the wave representation. The figure is also available for download.

2.3 Sample layout of a phonological problem

On pp. 47–48 of the textbook a Gooniyandi problem is discussed, illustrating the reasoning processes involved in solving the problem. Here we illustrate how to lay out answers to questions in phonology in your tests or exams by providing a model solution to that problem.

Question 1

Based on the following Gooniyandi data, are [d] and [ɖ] distinct phonemes or allophones of a single phoneme? Justify your claim.

[ɟʊdu] ‘straight’ [laɾgaɖi] ‘boab tree’
[ŋaɭʊdu] ‘three’ [lambaɖi] ‘little’
[waɖa] ‘star’ [bɪɖi] ‘thigh’
[lambadi] ‘father in law’ [mɑːdi] ‘cold’
[ɟʊɖu] ‘dust’ [t̪aɻɪdi] ‘heavy’
[bɪdi] ‘they’ [lawɑdi] ‘shoulder’

Model answer

The phones [d] and [ɖ] represent two different phonemes in Gooniyandi, /d/ and /ɖ/.

First, the two phones are suspicious pairs: both are made with the tip of the tongue in roughly the same region: the alveolar ridge for [d], and just behind it, in the pre-palatal region, for [ɖ]. They are therefore sufficiently similar phonetically to be possible allophones. 

Second, there are minimal pairs in the list provided that show that [d] and [ɖ] do actually occur contrastively in the same phonetic environments. The minimal pairs are:
[ɟʊdu] ‘straight’ [ɟʊɖu] ‘dust’
[lambadi] ‘father in law’ [lambaɖi] ‘little’
[bɪdi] ‘they’ [bɪɖi] ‘thigh’

This demonstrates that the two segments are phonemically distinct. 

2.4 Basic procedure for determining allophony

The basic procedure for determining whether two phones are allophones of a single phoneme or represent different phonemes is shown in the flowchart available for download.