Has anyone tried to memorize the IPA or the international phonetic alphabet?

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#1 2 September, 2017 - 23:10
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Has anyone tried to memorize the IPA or the international phonetic alphabet?


I wouldn't think anyone would try to memorize all of the sounds, both their orthography, audition and articulation without a desire to become a polyglot, linguist or both, and only after having learned a couple languages beforehand building a familiarity or a priming of oneself to better learn languages down the line.

Here is a link to the IPA chart on Wikipedia: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8f/IPA_chart_%28C%292005.pdf

IPA chart

So to repeat my question, has anyone approached language learning in this way, learning the sounds relative to the languages that they are learning, one by one? Not from a letter system first but by sounds?

And has anyone tried then building from phonemes, to morphemes, from morphemes to words, and from words to syntax? Here I am asking if it may be better to learn in an planned fashion of building from the ground up.

Or like many, do you think it is better to start with the actual practice of listening, speaking, writing and reading as a whole, like in the immersion method? If so, do you find this other method or way an interesting one?

Do either think the two combined might offer greater benefit than either alone?

Thanks for reading. Thank you in advance for the responses.

3 September, 2017 - 02:21
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I think it does vary on what language you want to learn, and what you want to do with the language. To me a s a germanic girl, learning the celtic languages was rather a challenge as the way I would pronounce the written words is sometimes very diffferent from how it it pronounced in reality.

When learning japanese, I started with learning the hiragana alphabet. Learning how the alphabet works was a huge advantage in learning the language as I already knew the sounds they worked with, which are pronounced practically the same all over. Unlike dutch, where 'c' can be both pronounced an 's' or a 'k'. If in japanese I saw "kuruma", I knew how to pronounce it because I knew the sounds that make it up.

3 September, 2017 - 03:59
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Only try this if you really care about pronunciation. Sounds like a lot of work unrelated to learning the actual language.

In the Japanese case this method barely even makes sense because of how easy the sounds are but if you want to do it this way for a harder sounding language, this doesnt seem unworkable.

3 September, 2017 - 17:58
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Rethinking this a bit it might only help for the non-phoneticized languages. This happens in both French and English where how it is written is different from how it sounds - with a writing system like Hiragana which is speech first written second, one obviously follows from the other. Not sure about a language like Celtic - sounds like an interesting language to learn like Icelandic.

Every English speaker knows that when the Japanese speaker tries to pronounce the R sound, they tend to not capture the sound perfectly instead saying something closer to the L. Instead of practicing a language repeatedly with the wrong sound, making the association harder to break or even hear down the line, it might be helpful to learn first the sound in isolation, with tongue position, voicing, pulmonary, etc.

And with a focus on those phonemes that are not in your domain language and are known to be difficult for learners of the target language.

I don't know, I have yet to try it. I plan on first tackling French as a second language. Then German.

Are there sounds in the German/French language that do not appear in the English language?

4 September, 2017 - 00:23
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In japanese the sounds are easy, but that is why I took it as an example. Not every language will require you to know the phonetic alphabet. When learning a germanic or celtic language, it might be very useful, but in the end it all depends on what language(s) you want to learn specifically. I myself love comparing the phonetic and written celtic languages, as a native dutch speaker it is impossible to do sometimes.

Learning the phonetic alphabet can be useful, but it can also be a waste of time depending on what you want to learn and what you already know.

German and french might have a few sounds that you don't often find in english, though it might depend on which kind of english we are talking about exactly. As far as I can think of now, it is not all too different though. German does have a huge number of hard sounds and possible sounds for 'g'. It can be a 'soft g', more often it is a 'hard g', and it is not out of the ordinary to have it sound like a combination between a 'g' and a 'k'.

4 September, 2017 - 18:55
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Gabe Wyner (Fluent Forever, book and website) thinks that learning the sounds is the essential first step to learning a new language efficiently. He has a bunch of Anki-based word pairs in a couple of dozen languages that only differ in one sound to train your ear to hear new sounds. Worked well for me in German. He is also a big IPA fan.

5 September, 2017 - 05:21
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As a native English speaker, I am finding it extremely difficult to learn Mongolian. As I listen to Mongolians speak the words, there are sounds that are part of the language that I can’t even figure out and parrot back immediately after hearing it. Forget about vocabulary and syntax, I can’t even repeat what I just heard with zero understanding!

I purchased a Glossika course to learn Mongolian (spaced repetition approach) and it includes an IPA reference for every word, but IPA is confusing and I have not taken the time to learn it. I think it would help me to learn Mongolian to some degree simply because I have not idea how to pronounce many sounds, but I have not desire to memorize the entire IPA system.

30 September, 2017 - 04:22
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I took a linguistics course on English IPA and a term paper on the phoentic desription and partial phonemic description of a language. All the tests were in the transcription of English to IPA.

If you are looking to learn it I would start with the picture of the mouth, there are few categories to recognize about 25 or so. Once you have the understanding of the English symbols and the general category tables you can then move to Mongolian, whatever language it is you are trying to learn. Start with the vowels, and their tongue positions and voicing and tones. Then to the consonants - which I assume are more various but less repeated.

You can also look to the IPA break down of sound in recorded versions - associate the sounds with the symbol and the tongue position both with the chart provided but the kinesthetic action of producing those same sounds. Then from there you can practice their combination by reading the IPA description in your course.

I am going to look into Glossika, because I have the pretty good initial idea of the IPA.

3 October, 2017 - 22:38
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First, a little information on consonant classification...

Consonants differ on manner, place, and voice. Manner refers to the class of sound, such as stop, plosive, fricative, nasal, liquid. These are generally named based on airflow. Place has to do with the location of the tongue in the oral cavity during articulation. Voice has to do with the vibration or lack thereof of the vocal folds.

In disordered children's speech, you use multiple contrasts (words that differ by one sound that is different on two of the above dimensions: "pat," "sat," and "gat") an approach that is best at reorganizing a child's sound system. You would also want to include maximal oppositions (words that differ as much as possible without differing on all three dimensions: "hat" and "vat") which are easier to discriminate and alleviate frustration. An empty set consists of sounds that a child can't produce (these vary on all three parameters: "mat" and "cat"). Finally, minimal pairs should be used because they are best at (words that differ on only one dimension: "pat" and "bat") which are best for sound stabilization. By merging these three approaches and creating a "snowball" set, you would get the best of each approach (pat, bat, sat, gat, hat, vat, mat, and cat).

The combination of these methods theoretically should reorder a second language learner's sound system. Just apply these principles to the differences in the two languages you are studying...(either look up the phonetic consonant charts and compare or search consonant differences). Try to use real words if possible...If not made up words are fine. Make picture vocabulary cards.

You want to work on both discrimination, listening to a native speaker say the words and identifying what they said, and production, saying the words and having a native speaker point to what you said.

They should just point and not offer advice on articulation description. It is best if you figure out what you are doing wrong. If that doesn't work, then you would ask for description.

Try to find a native speaker or close enough to it to help you via technology if one is not available.

This approach should help with listening and production. Let me know if you use it, and how it goes.

Pardon my grammar. I'm tired.

3 October, 2017 - 22:40
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Joined: 2 weeks 3 hours ago

#9 comment was for Ptken

3 October, 2017 - 22:42
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Joined: 2 weeks 3 hours ago

First, a little information on consonant classification...

Consonants differ on manner, place, and voice. Manner refers to the class of sound, such as stop, plosive, fricative, nasal, liquid. These are generally named based on airflow. Place has to do with the location of the tongue in the oral cavity during articulation. Voice has to do with the vibration or lack thereof of the vocal folds.

In disordered children's speech, you use multiple contrasts (words that differ by one sound that is different on two of the above dimensions: "pat," "sat," and "gat") an approach that is best at reorganizing a child's sound system. You would also want to include maximal oppositions (words that differ as much as possible without differing on all three dimensions: "hat" and "vat") which are easier to discriminate and alleviate frustration. An empty set consists of sounds that a child can't produce (these vary on all three parameters: "mat" and "cat"). Finally, minimal pairs should be used because they are best at (words that differ on only one dimension: "pat" and "bat") which are best for sound stabilization. By merging these three approaches and creating a "snowball" set, you would get the best of each approach (pat, bat, sat, gat, hat, vat, mat, and cat).

The combination of these methods theoretically should reorder a second language learner's sound system. Just apply these principles to the differences in the two languages you are studying...(either look up the phonetic consonant charts and compare or search consonant differences). Try to use real words if possible...If not made up words are fine. Make picture vocabulary cards.

You want to work on both discrimination, listening to a native speaker say the words and identifying what they said, and production, saying the words and having a native speaker point to what you said.

They should just point and not offer advice on articulation description. It is best if you figure out what you are doing wrong. If that doesn't work, then you would ask for description.

Try to find a native speaker or close enough to it to help you via technology if one is not available.

This approach should help with listening and production. Let me know if you use it, and how it goes.

Pardon my grammar. I'm tired.

4 October, 2017 - 03:58
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Joined: 9 months 3 weeks ago

Quote:
#9 comment was for Ptken

Thank you. I appreciate the input!

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