International Phonetic Alphabet
There are two principal types of brackets used to set off (delimit) IPA transcriptions:
All three of the above are provided by the IPA Handbook. The following are not, but may be seen in IPA transcription or in associated material (especially angle brackets):
Several Braille adaptations of the IPA have seen use, the most recent published in 2008 and widely accepted since 2011. It does not have complete support for tone.
Vowel letters are also grouped in pairs—of unrounded and rounded vowel sounds—with these pairs also arranged from front on the left to back on the right, and from maximal closure at top to minimal closure at bottom. No vowel letters are omitted from the chart, though in the past some of the mid central vowels were listed among the 'other symbols'.
In places where vowels are paired, the right represents a rounded vowel (in which the lips are rounded) while the left is its unrounded counterpart.
Additional diacritics are provided by the Extensions to the IPA for speech pathology.
(Normally additional degrees of length are handled by the extra-short or half-long diacritic, but the first two words in each of the Estonian examples are analyzed as simply short and long, requiring a different remedy for the final words.)
Among vowels, ⟨a⟩ is officially a front vowel, but is more commonly treated as a central vowel. The difference, to the extent it is even possible, is not phonemic in any language.
For all phonetic notation, it is good practice for an author to specify exactly what they mean by the symbols that they use.
The Unicode characters for superscript (modifier) IPA and extIPA letters are as follows. Characters for sounds with secondary articulation are placed below the base letters:
A number of IPA letters and diacritics have been retired or replaced over the years. This number includes duplicate symbols, symbols that were replaced due to user preference, and unitary symbols that were rendered with diacritics or digraphs to reduce the inventory of the IPA. The rejected symbols are now considered obsolete, though some are still seen in the literature.
Individual non-IPA letters may find their way into publications that otherwise use the standard IPA. This is especially common with:
In addition to the Extensions to the IPA for disordered speech, there are the conventions of the Voice Quality Symbols, which include a number of symbols for additional airstream mechanisms and secondary articulations in what they call "voice quality".
Capital letters and various characters on the number row of the keyboard are commonly used to extend the alphabet in various ways.
There are various punctuation-like conventions for linguistic transcription that are commonly used together with IPA. Some of the more common are:
The 100 series are IPA consonants, the 200's non-IPA consonants, the 300s vowels, the 400s diacritics, the 500s suprasegmentals, the 600s extIPA, the 700s capital letters and the 900s delimiters.
Web browsers generally do not need any configuration to display IPA characters, provided that a typeface capable of doing so is available to the operating system.