The International Phonetic Association
March 10, 2013
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Established in 1886 in Paris, the International Phonetic Association (IPA) seeks “to promote the scientific study of phonetics and the various practical applications of that science.”
Compulsive language learners will inevitably come across the organization’s International Phonetic Alphabet, which is a standardized way of representing the sounds of oral communication across multiple languages.
The symbols may look a little intimidating, but some languages naturally contain sounds that do not exist in other languages, which creates a need for a consistent global method to render and discuss humans’ marvelously diverse collection of communication sounds.
If you just buckle down and learn the International Phonetic Alphabet, your language-learning life will probably be much easier. I personally have not done that, so mine is not.