Well, I've been thinking about it, but I can't use XSAMPA. It's too ugly.
I simply won't write /J/ for Spanish <ñ> or /K/ for Welsh <ll>, or write
vowels as numbers.

I'll just stick my own transcription then. Of course, in order for anyone
to understand me, I'll have to apply my own transcription scheme a bit more
rigorously than I've doing for the past decade. The first step is to
(re-)define what my scheme is, so here it goes:

I don't think it's necessary to limit oneself to ASCII anymore. I think
everyone can read and write Latin-1, so until we all can use Unicode,
that's what I'm going to use.

The principle is: if an IPA character has an equivalent in Latin-1, use
that [exceptions later]. For the other symbols, the general principle is:
- what Latin-1 letter is it a modification of?
- use the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th variant of that letter, depending on
the relative frequency of the phone(me) in question.

The 6 variants are (e.g. for the letter <a>):
1. a IPA lower case a
2. A IPA script a
3. a" IPA turned a
4. A" IPA turned script a
5. a* (not needed)
6. A* (not needed)

To somewhat remedy the relatively arbitrariness of the preceding process,
for some articulations / classes of sounds, I use a specialized notation:

- linguolabials t< d< n<
- retroflexes t. d. n.
- palatals k^ g^ n^
- clicks p! t! l!
- implosives/
ejectives b` p` d` t`
(b. p. d. t. etc. may also be used if there can be no confusion with

The resulting IPA chart is:

Pulmonic consonants:

Bilab. Lab-dent. Dent-Alv./Postalv. Retroflex
Plos. p b t d t. d.
Nasal m m" n n.
Trill B" r
Flap r* r.
Fric P B f v T D s z S Z s. z.
fric. L l"
Approx. v" r" r".
approx. l l.

For post-alveolar fricatives, I also use s^ z^. s* and z* (as well as s'
and z' in an emergency) are also available for special needs (for the
"alveolo-palatals s" and z" see below).
For the retroflex rhotic approximant the simpler symbol /R./ is also
available. For the (inter)dental fricatives, we also have Latin-1 /þ/ and

Palatal Velar Uvular Phar. Glottal
Plos. k^ g^ k g q G" ?
Nasal n^ N N"
Trill R"
Fric. x^ G^ x G X R H ¿ h h"
Approx. j w"
Approx. l^ L"

For x^, ç is also available. t^ and d^ are acceptable variants of k^ and
g^, but c is an affricate (see below)!

Non-pulmonic consonants:

Clicks Implosives Ejectives

bilabial p! bilabial b` p` (p.)
dental t#! dent/alv. d` t` (t.)
(post)alv. t! palatal g^`
palatoalv. k^! velar g` k` (k.)
lateral l! uvular G"`
alv.fric. s` (s.)

Instead of /k^!/, /g^`/ and /G"`/, I might use the simpler /c!/, /j`/ and

front central back
close i y i" u" u* u
I Y [I"][U"] [U*] U
e ø &" &* o* o
mid &
E Ø E" E* V O
æ [æ"] a" [a*]
open a Æ A A"

I'd rather use @ for schwa, but what can you do against stupid software?

Other symbols:

voiceless labiovelar W "alveolo-palatals" s" z"
voiced labiovelar w lateral flap l*
voiced labiopalatal y" Swedish sj h*
voiceless epiglottal H"
voiced epiglottal ¿"
epiglottal stop ?"

The biggest flaw in IPA (apart from the use of curly-c for Polish <s'>,
Mandarin <x>) is the lack of special symbols for affricates, so here I
deviate from IPA intentionally:

dental/alveolar c (=IPA /ts/) 3 (= IPA /dz/)
post-alevolar c^ (+IPA /tS/) 3^ (= IPA /dZ/)
other possibilities: /c"/, /c*/, /c'/, /c./
lateral £ (= IPA /tL/) £" (= IPA /dl"/)

I'll try not to use /3/ for `ayn (now /¿/) or the non-rhotic "bird" vowel
(/E"/) anymore.


Primary stress ' Extra high 5 Rising 15 (')
Secondary stress ` High 4 Falling 51 (`)
Long : Mid 3 High rising 45
Half-long ; Low 2 Low rising 12
Extra short [ Extra low 1 Rising-falling 454 (^)
Syllable break (·) Downstep \/ Global rise /
Minor group | Upstep /\ Global fall \
Major group ||
Linking _

If possible, I use an accented vowel for primary stress (á, é, etc.).
Obviously not possible in the case of stressed schwa, etc. (/&'/).
Secondary stress is à, è, etc. (Example from IPA chart: fòUn&tÍS&n)
Syllable breaks can be denoted by a space, or by a middle dot · (r"i·ækt).


Voiceless n° d° Breathy bH" aH" Dental t# d#
Voiced s÷ t÷ Creaky b~ a~ Apical t{ d{
Aspirated tH dH Linguolabial t< d< Laminal t= d=
More rounded O) Labialized tW dW Nasalized e~/eN
Less rounded O( Palatalized t' d' Nasal rel. dN
Advanced u+ Velarized/ l~ Lateral rel. dL
Retracted i- Pharyngealized Unreleased d¬
(Mid-)centralized e× Raised e/ r"/
Syllabic r". Lowered e\ B\
Non-syllabic e_ ATR e>
Rhoticity &R RTR e<

Some (most) of these symbols are ambiguous (but my transcrition is not
meant to be machine-readable anyway). H is the pharyngeal fricative, R a
uvular rhotic, W the voiceless labiovelar, ~ is overused, etc., but I don't
think that's such a problem in practice. The text accompanying the
transcription will no doubt make clear what's intended.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal