In some dictionaries and language manuals a series of symbols appear that indicate how the sounds should be pronounced in each language. Thus, knowing the meaning of these signs it is possible to improve the spoken knowledge of a foreign language. The set of signs used forms an alphabet, more specifically the international phonetic alphabet. This name comes from the acronyms , in English, AFI, Alphabet phonetic International. International Phonetic Alphabet
The letters of an alphabet have their corresponding sign in the international phonetic alphabet.
From a historical point of view, the API system was jointly developed in the late 19th century by several experts and language teachers, all of them led by French linguist Paul Passy.
Thus, the International Phonetic Association was formed . In this way, with a single alphabet it is possible to identify the sounds of any language. Over the years, some modifications have been included to improve this alphabet. This international code allows any recipient of a message to know the pronunciation of a word.
Furthermore, it is used as a complementary system in learning spelling. This linguistic code includes the set of possibilities of the human voice to reproduce sounds. International Phonetic Alphabet
Examples applied to the English language
The long sound of the letter i is expressed by the symbol i: and used in the combination of some letters together (ee, ea or ese, eg see, speak or these). Instead, the i’s short sound appears in words like chip, thin, or ship.
The long sound of the letter u is represented by the sound u: and is usually used to refer to words that have two vowels (choose, food or foot). The short sound appears in words like book, good or cook.
The long sound of the letter a is indicated by the sign a: being applicable in words like arm, bar, car or far. Instead, the short sound is found in words like son, sun or cut.
Most languages are formed by a certain number of phonemes ranging between 25 and 40
There are approximately 6500 languages in the world, each of which has a different sound. Phonetics studies the articulation of consonants and vowels. The points of articulation of a tongue are called phonation: labial, coronal, dorsal, radical and glottal.
Each language has its own phonemes, therefore, it is necessary to use an international phonetic alphabet.