Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Tchiq Form PART I

The first part, introducing you lot to my phonetic pronunciation system - called Tchiq Form. Enjoy, and there will be loads more coming soon (including a much better version called MTF, but I must show you this first so you can understand MTF).
Sometimes it is hard to know exactly how to pronounce a word. In most cases, the IPA is used. The IPA is the International Phonetic Alphabet, which contains symbols to show any sound the human mouth can make. However, the IPA needs to be learnt to be useful to the average person, so Tchiq Form is a handy alternative to the IPA, which is easy to understand.
Tchiq form is made up of two basic components which show what a letter in a word sounds like[1]. These are extremely easy to use, since they utilise a basic feature of phonetics that everyone is taught: letter-sounds and name-sounds.
Letter-sounds (tchiqs)
Most people first learn the alphabet in letter-sounds. For example, ‘a’ pronounced ‘ah’ and ‘b’ ‘buh’, ‘c’ ‘cuh’ etc. These are simple, short sounds that the letters make, as opposed to the actual letter names (‘a’ is ‘ay’, ‘b’ ‘bee’, etc). When a letter makes a sound that is its letter sound (so an ‘a’ sounds like ‘ah’), we put a symbol above it known as a tchiq. So let’s make this ‘a’ sound like ‘ah’, its letter-sound:
As you can see, the tchiq looks just like a tick, as its name suggests.
Name-sounds (slurs)
As mentioned before, letters can be pronounced as their letter names instead of their letter sounds. Name-sounds are generally longer sounds than letter-sounds. So, ‘a’ would become ‘ay’, ‘b’ would become ‘bee’, ‘c’ would become ‘see’, etc. To show that a letter is pronounced as a name-sound we put a symbol above it known as a slur. The slur looks like a curved tchiq[2], as you can see below. The slur is above an ‘a’, giving it an ‘ay’ sound.


[1] However, there are many symbols that further enhance how to pronounce a letter. These two are the basics.
[2] There may be mistakes in identifying a tchiq from a slur (or vice versa) if they are not drawn properly, which is why hand-drawn Tchiq form can be hard to read.

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