Q:

Does using a phonetic alphabet table help when learning a new language?

A:

Quick Answer

Using a phonetic alphabet table can be very helpful for learning a new language, particularly for languages that do not use the Roman alphabet. Because many languages do not accurately and consistently represent sounds with written letters, phonetic alphabet tables help decode the correct pronunciation of any language.

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Full Answer

The most common phonetic alphabet is the International Phonetic Alphabet, which is offered for free online through InternationalPhoneticAlphabet.org. The IPA chart uses internationally-recognized symbols to represent certain sounds, meaning that any language can be transcribed accurately using only the IPA symbols.

To understand and make use of the table in language learning, students must first learn the IPA symbols. InternationalPhoneticAlphabet.org offers free audio examples of each IPA symbol, as well as a visual representation of where in the mouth that sound is made.

Learning the IPA symbols lets students correctly pronounce even the most foreign sounds at an early stage of language learning. Using the IPA table also lets students develop pronunciation and speaking competency independent of any reading or writing skills.

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