Since your enquiry, found some Internet
sites that may be useful to you in your search. I applaud you in your interest.
There are extremely few people in the world who would like to make
communications easier. And will actually spend the necessary time to do that.
Such as your phonetics-based idea of creating a computer software program
to transliterate between selected languages. I had the desire to make that
process simpler, too. However, I discovered that no one in the world had ever
analysed, and listed out, the different ways people spelled the same, or
similar, speech sounds of various languages that used the 'same' alphabet. Say,
the so-called 'Roman alphabet'.
You remember the IPA (International
Phonetic Association) started more than a hundred years ago. A few people
in Europe wanted to provide one symbol for each speech sound (vowel, or else
consonant) for a few of the languages spoken in Europe. The IPA people ignored
the way the foreigners across the Atlantic Ocean spoke in the United States. To
this day, each publisher of a so-called "pronouncing dictionary" who relys on,
or modifies, the phonetic alphabet of the IPA ignores specific, common, actually
used, American phonemes. That is, each phoneme contrasts against another phoneme
to convey meaning in speech.
Examples of difficulties between a speaker of a
European language speaking American 'English' are these: Some Europeans assume
they can say the word written as 'ship' in English the same as
'sheep,' and can say the word written as 'lamp' the same as the spoken
word for a baby sheep-- lamb. A scribing system must accurately provide a
one-for-one correspondence between the letters of its alphabet, say, and the
phonemes of the spoken language the scribing system represents.
The contributors to the IPA never intended
that that phonetic alphabet be adopted for use in scribing any particular
spoken language. Thank God. Yet, dictionary publishers, and persons interested
in computerized analysis and transliteration of main languages, fall into the
trap of relying on that phonetic alphabet.
Or, there are other extremes. One
transcribing system I discovered today (urged by your request) comes out of
the Carnegie Mellon University. The expert(s) at 'Speech at CMU' came up with a
"Phoneme Set." We assume it's for the American form of spoken 'English.' The
list contains 39 phonemes, four of which contradict the definition. The
four are sets of joined vowels. The first vowel set is AW for the two
vowels in the word [cow] they spell as KAW. The next set is AY for the i...e in
the word [hide] they spell as HHAYD (sic). The third set is EY for the two
vowels a...e in the word [ate] they spell as EYT. The fourth set is OY for the
two vowels in the word [toy] they spell as TOY. That's nice. Except the vowel
spelled O, above, they also spell as AO in AOT for the single vowel
spelled as ough- in the word [ought]. Quite some confusion.
Thus, they use the letter 'Y' for two
separate vowel phonemes as well as to represent the typical American consonant.
The list contains 16 single letters from the 'Roman-French-English' alphabet
used in America for 16 phonemes. The list also contains 20 sets of two letters
for 20 single phonemes. As mentioned in the previous letter, there are 42
provable, actually used, necessary phonemes in the speech of Americans. So, this
CMU compilation is quite limited in accounting for American speech sounds. I
avoided downloading their free 125,000 word dictionary. We must remember the
caveat, GIGO-- garbage in = garbage out.
As stated, it is extremely unlikely that anyone
has compiled the knowledge you seek, Stefan, and has it in a form that is
commercially available. I spent the equilivant of fourteen years full time just
on the basic research for American English. I also spent over two full years
designing the layout of a 114-key computer keyboard necessary to accommodate the
keys needed for an extra 22 letters missing from the Roman-French-English
alphabet. This is after I invented symbols easily recognizable as belonging with
the familiar alphabet. Prior to that I scrutinized more than 10,000 different
letters of existing alphabets and scribing systems. I rejected the existing
symbols as inapplicable. And next I compiled the quantity of the top 2000 or so
most-often occurring words in running text, and transliterated them into this
first and only scribing system designed exclusively for American English. And
finally I arranged the complete, consistent, 43 letters (yes, including one for
a common American and British speech sound that is not a phoneme) into the most
ergonomic and efficient layout practicable.
The only thing now necessary is to come up with
$200,000 American to complete the basic patents and manufacture the prototype
keyboard to be able to enter my tens of thousands of pages of words in
manuscript into a computer. Then, we easily could come up with the answer to
your request, Stefan. As you might guess, this will also be the solution to the
greatest problem in the world. To have a simple, phonetic, consistent scribing
system for one of the world's main languages. For the first time in recorded
Is the above any help to you in your