Dear phoNet members,

It's difficult to discuss any phonetics issues without having recourse to an accurate transcription system. Although there are a number of informal substitutes as well as specially devised notations for online communication employing combinations of ordinary characters to symbolise various sounds, the "Phonetic Alphabet" recommended by the International Phonetic Association (IPA) is quite indispensable for anyone interested in phonetics. It is a standard phonetic script known to linguists worldwide and used in nearly all serious linguistic publications. It is also increasingly popular as an international language-independent way of indicating the pronunciation of words in dictionaries and handbooks for learning foreign languages, so familiarity with it may be of considerable practical advantage to any would-be polyglot.

Unfortunately, very few popular fonts include phonetic characters. One that is freely available is Lucida Sans Unicode, with a relatively large set of IPA symbols encoded as UTF-8 characters – in addition to plain and fancy Latin, Cyrillic, Greek and a variety of other character subsets. Despite some minor problems (no software is perfect), mail browsers can generally be configured to cope with it. I recommend that all list members download and install Lucida Sans Unicode, and that the font be regarded as an acceptable medium of transcription on this list. If we find it advisable, other phonetic fonts may be recommended in the future.
I'd also like to encourage you to visit the IPA website
just to have a look and also to contemplate (and perhaps download) the charts of standard phonetic symbols. They may come in handy especially if you own no comprehensive handbook of phonetics. (The IPA have just publish their own excellent, if rather expensive, phonetic guide.)
At the moment the membership of the list is open and you are free to invite anybody who might possibly be interested; and as long as there are no Netiquette problems I'm not going to step in as the whip-cracking moderator.
Piotr Gąsiorowski
(If you install Lucida Sans Unicode, you'll see my IPA signature below.)

[ˈpʲɔtr ˌgɔ̃ɕɔˈrɔfsci]