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What is phonetic spelling?

Phonetic spelling is the representation of vocal sounds which express pronunciations of words. It is a system of spelling in which each letter represents invariably the same spoken sound. Some schools may use phonetic pronunciations to help children learn the spelling of difficult words, for instance, WEDNESDAY = Wed Nes Day. 

Phonetic spelling constitutes an alteration of ordinary spelling that better represents the spoken language, that employs only characters of the regular alphabet, and that is used in a context of conventional spelling. A phonetic orthography is a writing system where there is a one-to-one relation betweengraphemes (the written form) and phonemes (the spoken form). Examples are “Esperanto” and the “International Phonetic Alphabet,” which is used to describe pronunciations in some dictionaries, and that used by airplane pilots to communicate. The latter, for the US is: A-Alpha, B-Bravo, C-Charlie, D-Delta, E-Echo, F-Foxtrot, G-Golf, H-Hotel, I-India, J-Juliet, K-Kilo, L-Lima, M-Mike, N-November, O-Oscar, P-Papa, Q-Quebec, R-Romeo, S-Sierra, T-Tango, U-Uniform, V-Victor, W-Whisky, X-X-ray, Y-Yankee, Z-Zulu.

There have been numerous attempts to launch spelling reform in English, but the last person to have any success was Noah Webster. He recommended a small number of standardized spellings which differed from the British English of the day, and many of Webster’s suggestions are still in use in American English. Creating a phonemic orthographyfor English would be impossible, as pronunciations differ far too much. You can read more about the pros and cons of phonetic spelling and spelling reform by looking up those topics on the Internet.

8 Comments

  1. Leilani -  August 20, 2016 - 2:15 pm

    Thanks! I was watching a series where some guy was lying about another kids name and said his name was Miguel Huarez Juan and some other funky names then the person was like, ‘ How do you spell that?’ and he was like, ‘ Phonetically.’ So now I know what it means! Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Shahulhameed -  April 24, 2016 - 4:48 pm

    I need to know some words from English without vowels please

    Reply
    • pragnasri -  June 7, 2016 - 10:22 pm

      pry,cry,try,by,shy,fry,etc.,

      Reply
    • Jean -  June 8, 2016 - 8:24 pm

      There are none.

      Reply
      • Jean -  June 8, 2016 - 8:27 pm

        Also I’m sorry but ‘y’ (like in the brilliant examples above) and ‘w’ will sometimes act/count as a vowel even though most of the time they are consonants.

        Reply
  3. Joshua Kurian -  March 17, 2016 - 3:21 pm

    The international phonetic alphabet is a set of Latin based characters(Think the normal English alphabet, but with more flipped and distorted characters), it’s not typically used for normal communication but for communication between linguists for precisely what series of sounds they’re talking about.

    For example, take the word schedule.
    This is how it’s spelled, which is arbitrary and universal
    [ˈskɛʤʊl] This is broad transcription. It best captures how people say it across a large population. This gere is the American pronounciation, which is no more standard than any other variety
    /ˈʃɛʤjuːl/ This is narrow transcription, which carries more information about how an individual might say a word

    The NATO phonetic alphabet is used however to clearly speak letters when spelling something. It has nothing to do with the field of phonetics, it’s simply a very clear and cool way of spelling things out, this is important in millitary situations where clarity is important

    Reply
    • Trich W -  March 21, 2016 - 10:20 pm

      Thank you, your information provided an additional layer of depth to the topic. It expanded my knowledge and understanding of how certain pronunciation differences are navigated.

      Reply
      • pragnasri -  June 7, 2016 - 10:23 pm

        its,okay.

        Reply

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