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Zelda Wiki talk:Pronunciation Guide

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Symbol modifications

New to the wiki, and these are some of my first edits and comments. :) That said, I have a full decade of wiki experience and I am a linguistics enthusiast.
I propose making some minor modifications to the IPA being used here, for the sake of those of us native English speakers who are not necessarily American or even from England. They are mostly for distinctions that tend to be lost to most Americans and most southern English.

  • /r//ɹ/ in general, though I only propose this one only lukewarmly as it's mainly what they prescribe and semi-enforce at Wiktionary.
  • /ʍ/ is still very much distinct for a lot of us, and should be included in the consonant table. For a respelling symbol, I recommend wh.
  • /ɑɪ///. The actual articulation of the /a/ component varies wildly by accent.
  • /ɑʊ///. Same deal as above.
  • /ɑr//ɑːɹ/.
  • /ɜr//ɜːɹ/.
  • /ɔr/ → separate /ɔːɹ/ and /ɔəɹ/, for speakers without the horse-hoarse merger, including Scottish English, Irish english and scattered swaths of the eastern United States including African American Vernacular English. This distinction is mostly easy to predict: "short" /ɔːɹ/ is in border, born, for, horse, morning, or, and "long" /ɔəɹ/ is boarder, borne, fore, four, hoarse, mourning, oar, ore. There are some less obvious exceptions: "long" /ɔəɹ/ is some words like fort, pork, sword, but this is not usually relevant for fictional proper names. Even where it may be relevant, and is overlooked on a good faith basis, it can also be corrected or supplemented on a good faith basis. For respelling symbols, I recommend awr for /ɔːɹ/, and oar or perhaps ohr for /ɔəɹ/.
  • In respelling symbols for /ʊ/ and //, I suggest something different from what's being used now. /ʊ/ should be ŏŏ or perhaps uu (this one is prescribed by Wikipedia:Pronunciation respelling key), and // should be more simply oo instead of bolded oo.
  • For /ɨ/, I suggest a respelling symbol identical to /ɪ/: i, not ə.
  • /ɵ/ for the reduced vowel that varies by accent between /ə/ and /o/ in words like geographic or Octorok. For a respelling symbol, I recommend o, as it cannot be confused with the always-shut vowel /ɒ/ o.
  • /ʉ/ for the reduced vowel that varies by accent between /ə/ and /ʊ/ in words like the unstressed clitic to. This would be // in words like document. I recommend the respelling symbol for /ʉ/ be the same as what is used for /ʊ/ (see above).
  • An even bolder suggestion might be to change /ɨ/ and /ʉ/ respectively to // and /ᵿ/, as these are the IPA symbols prescribed by the Oxford English dictionary for these particular archiphonemes. The symbols are admittedly not officially adopted by the International Phonetic Association for standard IPA, but exist as intuitive symbol modifications for intermediate articulations that standard IPA can only precisely describe in any of several possible presentation forms made up of standard symbols with added diacritics: /ɨ̞ ɪ̈ ɘ̝/ and /ʉ̞ ʊ̈ ɵ̝/, respectively. However, this bold suggestion is not absolutely necessary — /ɨ/ and /ʉ/ are used often enough for reduced vowels in English IPA transcriptions as to be clear in context.

Also, IPA convention calls for the use of periods /./ to mark syllable breaks, though this may be omitted if the following syllable is already marked with primary or secondary stress such that /./ would be redundant. So, basically /ˌɒk.əˈɹiː.nə əv ˈtaɪm/ instead of the awkwardly broken up /ˌɒk ə ˈɹiː nə/ /əv/ /ˈtaɪm/.
- Dermot Mac Flannchaidh 08:43, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

First of all, welcome! =) Wow, you really know your stuff! I'm not staunchly against any of these changes, but there are a few things to keep in mind. For example, as you yourself stated, mostly of these changes would be lost to most Americans and most southern English. I'm not averse to making this wiki exceptionally accessible to a variety of people, BUT this is an American English wiki, and I think adding too many variables will only confuse things for the average person. This page is meant to be (perhaps a little too) simple, so that almost everyone can use it, and only subscribes to Standard American IPA for this reason. While I do especially like certain suggestions (For example, /ɵ/), I think others are less likely to be useful when applying them to Zelda vocabulary (for example, I don't foresee much usage for the /ɔːɹ/ and /ɔəɹ/ differentiation). That having been said, if everyone else likes the changing I'm not going to stomp my feet about it or anything. =) Embyr 75  --Talk-- 16:38, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for your review. And yes, I'm aware of the concern. Fortunately, there still exists an American frame of reference for most of these changes. Here's the American context for the living horse-hoarse distinction and an incomplete context or the living wine-whine distinction (it also exists in certain other parts of the U.S. and Canada). American English, as you may be aware, is not monolithic, nor does there necessarily even exist a formally standard accent (the United States nationally actually has no official language, and uses English as a mere convention). The accent referred to as General American is most influential because most people consider it "regionless", making it the most neutral accent for broadcast news, but geographically it only covers a small area of the Midwest. For example, national news anchors from Texas bend over backwards to train their speech accent, yet Omaha, Nebraska makes a killing in hiring for national call centers from the local population. :) Truth be told, there are also some vowel distinctions within the continuum of American English that many Americans (especially in the west) virtually never make, such as marry-merry-Mary, hurry-furry, and perhaps most (in)famously, cot-caught. And most of the U.S. and Canada don't distinguish father-bother at all, but Britain and eastern New England do. Highly developed cities like Boston and Atlanta (which fall in some of those isogloss maps I just linked) are certainly no exiles of modern English-speaking university-educated civilization. And there's a difference between trying to sound like you have no accent because you're making media (broadcast news or localized video game voice acting), and merely recognizing that educated, polished speakers (whom we in the Anglosphere may usually associate with as friends and neighbors) don't all sound exactly like Omaha. But we are considering what is reasonable to consider for the various core Anglosphere countries for speakers under 40 who are likely to play Zelda games. If we weren't, and we were only considering Los Angeles or Chicago because of a limited frame of reference, there are many distinctions (in the vowel chart especially) that wouldn't be made at all. (...my apologies, I'm very poor at making myself brief; do not expect my comments to be short and sweet because I will usually not succeed. XD If you read all this, thank you for bearing with me. :D) - Dermot Mac Flannchaidh 05:45, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
MAAAHHH definitely infamous! I still can't hear the cot/caught difference. But I digress. If anyone has any doubts about your statements regarding the diversity of American accents, they should look up Amy Walker (she's great, and hilarious, and she has an interesting video on American Accents here, and her famous 21 Accents video here).
I have no qualms about admitting that your linguistic enthusiasm far surpasses my own (I took just one linguistic anthropology class, from which I acquired all my IPA knowledge), and I am not really educated enough to discuss changes on a case by case basis. I guess all I can say from here is that the community needs to decide if they'd like a more complex and accurate IPA system at the expense of some simplicity, or if the benefits of implementing that aren't worth the sacrifice of the ease of the current setup. I hope everyone weighs-in! =) If you don't get some response soon, though, I'd say no one really has an opinion and you can start making changes. If someone decides after the fact that they do have an opinion and want to revert, we can always do that. =) So glad to have you on-board! (And I like the thoroughness; it's well-referenced!!!) :D Embyr 75  --Talk-- 06:44, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Alright, I've made some modifications to the page. Not all that I had proposed, but I decided to exercise some caution for now. - Dermot Mac Flannchaidh 11:57, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Looks great!!! =) Embyr 75  --Talk-- 18:19, 17 July 2013 (UTC)