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  1. #1
    aclowes is offline Newbie
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    Phonetic translation for Meerkat?

    Hi,

    I seem to be able to find applications online (through various threads on this site) yet I am struggling to find an application that can translate words into the phonetic symbols. Please forgive me if that's a bit of an impossibility but I am trying to make approximations from the phonetic alphabet but I can't be sure that it's correct. In a nutshell, I'm trying to note two pronunciations of the word Meerkat - one correct, one incorrect. I have come up with mɘəkt for the version which was pronounced incorrectly as 'Marecat'. Is this correct?

    Many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Phonetic translation for Meerkat?

    There probably is an [e] sound in Afrikaans (or wherever we borrowed it from*); and probably the second vowel is closer to a pure [a], unheard in any English word and unused in English phonology. In English a meerkat is just a /'mɪəkt/ .

    b

    PS *Bingo OED:
    Etymology: < South African Dutch meerkat (Afrikaans meerkat), transferred use of Dutch meerkat a long-tailed monkey of the family Cercopithecidae (see mercat n.).

    The forms mier-cat, mier-kat, mierkat reflect the Afrikaans variant mierkat (with the first element altered by folk etymology after Afrikaans mier ant, termite).
    (subscription, I'm afraid, so no link)

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Phonetic translation for Meerkat?

    There's this: PhoTransEdit (English Phonetic Transcription) Online
    However, given that words can have various pronunciations, such tools will always have their limits.
    Last edited by Tdol; 22-Jan-2011 at 08:28. Reason: typo

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Phonetic translation for Meerkat?

    PS For an English teacher from England and living in England, you certainly have a way with words .Your last three sentences defy understanding. 'In a nutshell' you're looking for two things, one wrong and one right, but you call this 'trying to note'. Do you want one correctIPA transcription and one incorrect IPA transcription? I wonder why. You propose a transcription and then (correctly) give an incorrect reading. Then you ask if this is correct. I'm lost, though I think the tool Tdol mentions won't do what you want.

    If what you want is a tool that takes as input a spelling and produces as output a phonetic transcription, I know of none. I think it's a practical impossibility. If it were theoretically possible, it would be prohibitively expensive. It might be possible to produce something that worked on the level of phonemes, but I don't think it's been done.

    b

    Quote Originally Posted by aclowes View Post
    Hi,

    I seem to be able to find applications online (through various threads on this site) yet I am struggling to find an application that can translate words into the phonetic symbols. Please forgive me if that's a bit of an impossibility but I am trying to make approximations from the phonetic alphabet but I can't be sure that it's correct. In a nutshell, I'm trying to note two pronunciations of the word Meerkat - one correct, one incorrect. I have come up with ‘mɘəkt’ for the version which was pronounced incorrectly as 'Marecat'. Is this correct?

    Many thanks in advance.

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: Phonetic translation for Meerkat?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    If what you want is a tool that takes as input a spelling and produces as output a phonetic transcription, I know of none. I think it's a practical impossibility. If it were theoretically possible, it would be prohibitively expensive. It might be possible to produce something that worked on the level of phonemes, but I don't think it's been done.

    b
    Tdol's link does exactly this. It's also free to download.
    It doesn't necessarily get the transcription right; but it does take ordinary text as input and outputs a phonetic transcription in IPA.
    I look at this application as being a first-pass tool. It will get a lot right and save time, but the transcription must be corrected by a human.
    I wouldn't even think of using it to find out how a word is pronounced.

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
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    Re: Phonetic translation for Meerkat?

    Hasty skimming - I assumed the link was another.

    b

    PS Impressive. It nailed this easy one /ə kwɪk braʊn fɒks dʒʌmps ˈəʊvə ə ˈleɪzi dɒɡ/. But I don't expect it to pass a more rigorous examination.
    Last edited by BobK; 21-Jan-2011 at 13:46. Reason: added PS

  7. #7
    BobK's Avatar
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    Re: Phonetic translation for Meerkat?

    This one's slightly less easy, but it exercises a predictable and limited number of exceptions (not really exceptions when you think about it):

    /ə ˈθɪsl̩z ət θɔːt eɪ ʃəd θwk aɪ θaɪ /

    (I didn't expect it to manage 'thy thigh'.)

    b

  8. #8
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: Phonetic translation for Meerkat?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    This one's slightly less easy, but it exercises a predictable and limited number of exceptions (not really exceptions when you think about it):

    /ə ˈθɪsl̩z ət θɔːt eɪ ʃəd θwk aɪ θaɪ /

    (I didn't expect it to manage 'thy thigh'.)

    b
    I imagine that the n most common words are hard coded word by word.

  9. #9
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: Phonetic translation for Meerkat?

    I bow to the bowed bough. | aɪ baʊ tu ə baʊd baʊ |
    He has bowed legs | hi həz baʊd leɡz |
    Has he bowed legs? | həz hi baʊd leɡz |
    Mow the lawn | maʊ ə lɔːn |
    Row your boat | raʊ jə bəʊt | ; These should rhyme. It seems it doesn't handle 'ow' well.


    You're here - Your hair. | hɪə <-> jə heə |
    Has he? | həz hi |
    It also doesn't handle stress variation for words like, 'has', which it gives as /hz/ as an isolated word, but həz in sentences.


    The apple, the book | i ˈpl̩ | ə bʊk | It does handle the two 'the'.


    So, it's a mixed bag at the moment, but quite impressive. It should be quite obvious to linguistics teachers if their students handed in an unedited transcription from this.

  10. #10
    aclowes is offline Newbie
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    Re: Phonetic translation for Meerkat?

    Well, after checking back through the responses that I have received from various members, I must say that I feel quite upset. Is there any need for you to respond in such a critical and offensive way BobK? I'm sorry if I didn't construct my post in a manner that you would have expected. I just wrote it in my way. I do live in England, yes, and have just started a CELTA course which I'm hoping will enable me to LEARN how to teach English to speakers of other languages. Based on your response BobK, maybe I should give up now.

    Thanks to the other members who have attempted to answer my query in a kind and helpful way.

    I shall change my member type to 'learner' immediately and make a note to look for other forums where people aren't out to ridicule and demean others.

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    PS For an English teacher from England and living in England, you certainly have a way with words .Your last three sentences defy understanding. 'In a nutshell' you're looking for two things, one wrong and one right, but you call this 'trying to note'. Do you want one correctIPA transcription and one incorrect IPA transcription? I wonder why. You propose a transcription and then (correctly) give an incorrect reading. Then you ask if this is correct. I'm lost, though I think the tool Tdol mentions won't do what you want.

    If what you want is a tool that takes as input a spelling and produces as output a phonetic transcription, I know of none. I think it's a practical impossibility. If it were theoretically possible, it would be prohibitively expensive. It might be possible to produce something that worked on the level of phonemes, but I don't think it's been done.

    b

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