X-SAMPA

The Extended Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet (X-SAMPA) is a variant of SAMPA developed in 1995 by John C. Wells, professor of phonetics at University College London.[1] It is designed to unify the individual language SAMPA alphabets, and extend SAMPA to cover the entire range of characters in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The result is a SAMPA-inspired remapping of the IPA into 7-bit ASCII.

SAMPA was devised as a hack to work around the inability of text encodings to represent IPA symbols. Later, as Unicode support for IPA symbols became more widespread, the necessity for a separate, computer-readable system for representing the IPA in ASCII decreased. However, X-SAMPA is still useful as the basis for an input method for true IPA.

Summary

Notes

  • The IPA symbols that are ordinary lower case letters have the same value in X-SAMPA as they do in the IPA.
  • X-SAMPA uses backslashes as modifying suffixes to create new symbols. For example, O is a distinct sound from O\, to which it bears no relation. Such use of the backslash character can be a problem, since many programs interpret it as an escape character for the character following it. For example, such X-SAMPA symbols do not work in EMU, so backslashes must be replaced with some other symbol (e.g., an asterisk: '*') when adding phonemic transcription to an EMU speech database.
  • X-SAMPA diacritics follow the symbols they modify. Except for ~ for nasalization, = for syllabicity, and ` for retroflexion and rhotacization, diacritics are joined to the character with the underscore character _.
  • The underscore character is also used to encode the IPA tiebar.
  • The numbers _1 to _6 are reserved diacritics as shorthand for language-specific tone numbers.

Lower case symbols

X-SAMPAIPAIPA imageDescriptionExamples
aaopen front unrounded vowelFrench dame [dam]
bbvoiced bilabial plosiveEnglish bed [bEd], French bon [bO~]
b_<ɓvoiced bilabial implosiveSindhi ɓarʊ [b_<arU]
ccvoiceless palatal plosiveHungarian latyak ["lQcQk]
ddvoiced alveolar plosiveEnglish dig [dIg], French doigt [dwa]
d`ɖvoiced retroflex plosiveSwedish hord [hu:d`]
d_<ɗvoiced alveolar implosiveSindhi ɗarʊ [d_<arU]
eeclose-mid front unrounded vowelFrench ses [se]
ffvoiceless labiodental fricativeEnglish five [faIv], French femme [fam]
gɡvoiced velar plosiveEnglish game [geIm], French longue [lO~g]
g_<ɠvoiced velar implosiveSindhi ɠəro [g_<@ro]
hhvoiceless glottal fricativeEnglish house [haUs]
h\ɦvoiced glottal fricativeCzech hrad [h\rat]
iiclose front unrounded vowelEnglish be [bi:], French oui [wi], Spanish si [si]
jjpalatal approximantEnglish yes [jEs], French yeux [j2]
j\ʝvoiced palatal fricativeGreek γειά [j\a]
kkvoiceless velar plosiveEnglish scat [sk{t], Spanish carro ["karo]
llalveolar lateral approximantEnglish lay [leI], French mal [mal]
l`ɭretroflex lateral approximantSvealand Swedish sorl [so:l`]
l\ɺalveolar lateral flapWayuu püülükü [pM:l\MkM]
mmbilabial nasalEnglish mouse [maUs], French homme [Om]
nnalveolar nasalEnglish nap [n{p], French non [nO~]
n`ɳretroflex nasalSwedish hörn [h2:n`]
ooclose-mid back rounded vowelFrench gros [gRo]
ppvoiceless bilabial plosiveEnglish speak [spik], French pose [poz], Spanish perro ["pero]
p\ɸvoiceless bilabial fricativeJapanese fuku [p\M_0kM]
qqvoiceless uvular plosiveArabic qasbah ["qQs_Gba]
rralveolar trillSpanish perro ["pero]
r`ɽretroflex flapBengali gari [gar`i:]
r\ɹalveolar approximantEnglish red [r\Ed]
r\`ɻretroflex approximantMalayalam വഴി ["v@r\`i]
ssvoiceless alveolar fricativeEnglish seem [si:m], French session [se"sjO~]
s`ʂvoiceless retroflex fricativeSwedish mars [mas`]
s\ɕvoiceless alveolo-palatal fricativePolish świerszcz [s\v'erStS]
ttvoiceless alveolar plosiveEnglish stew [stju:], French raté [Ra"te]
t`ʈvoiceless retroflex plosiveSwedish mört [m2t`]
uuclose back rounded vowelEnglish boom [bu:m], Spanish su [su]
vvvoiced labiodental fricativeEnglish vest [vEst], French voix [vwa]
v\ (or P)ʋlabiodental approximantDutch west [v\Est]/[PEst]
wwlabial-velar approximantEnglish west [wEst], French oui [wi]
xxvoiceless velar fricativeScots loch [lOx] or [5Ox]; German Buch, Dach; Spanish caja, gestión
x\ɧvoiceless palatal-velar fricativeSwedish sjal [x\A:l]
yyclose front rounded vowelFrench tu [ty] German über ["y:b6]
zzvoiced alveolar fricativeEnglish zoo [zu:], French azote [a"zOt]
z`ʐvoiced retroflex fricativeMandarin Chinese rang [z`aN]
z\ʑvoiced alveolo-palatal fricativePolish źrebak ["z\rEbak]

Capital symbols

X-SAMPAIPAIPA imageDescriptionExample
Aɑopen back unrounded vowelEnglish father ["fA:D@(r\)] (RP and Gen.Am.)
Bβvoiced bilabial fricativeSpanish lavar [la"Ba4]
B\ʙbilabial trillReminiscent of shivering ("brrr")
Cçvoiceless palatal fricativeGerman ich [IC], English human ["Cjum@n] (broad transcription uses [hj-])
Dðvoiced dental fricativeEnglish then [DEn]
Eɛopen-mid front unrounded vowelFrench même [mEm], English met [mEt] (RP and Gen.Am.)
Fɱlabiodental nasalEnglish emphasis ["EFf@sIs] (spoken quickly, otherwise uses [Emf-])
Gɣvoiced velar fricativeGreek γωνία [Go"nia]
G\ɢvoiced uvular plosiveInuktitut nirivvik [niG\ivvik]
G\_<ʛvoiced uvular implosiveMam ʛa [G\_<a]
Hɥlabial-palatal approximantFrench huit [Hit]
H\ʜvoiceless epiglottal fricative 
Iɪnear-close front unrounded vowelEnglish kit [kIt]
I\ near-close central unrounded vowel (non-IPA)Polish ryba [rI\bA] 
Jɲpalatal nasalSpanish año ["aJo], English canyon ["k{J@n] (broad transcription uses [-nj-])
J\ɟvoiced palatal plosiveHungarian egy [EJ\]
J\_<ʄvoiced palatal implosiveSindhi ʄaro [J\_<aro]
Kɬvoiceless alveolar lateral fricativeWelsh llaw [KaU]
K\ɮvoiced alveolar lateral fricativeMongolian долоо [tOK\O:]
Lʎpalatal lateral approximantItalian famiglia [fa"miLLa], Castilian llamar [La"mar]
L\ʟvelar lateral approximant
Mɯclose back unrounded vowelKorean [M:ms\_hik_}]
M\ɰvelar approximantSpanish fuego ["fweM\o]
Nŋvelar nasalEnglish thing [TIN]
N\ɴuvular nasalJapanese san [saN\]
Oɔopen-mid back rounded vowelAmerican English off [O:f]
O\ʘbilabial click 
P (or v\)ʋlabiodental approximantDutch west [PEst]/[v\Est], allophone of English phoneme /r\/
Qɒopen back rounded vowelRP lot [lQt]
Rʁvoiced uvular fricativeGerman rein [RaIn]
R\ʀuvular trillFrench roi [R\wa]
Sʃvoiceless postalveolar fricativeEnglish ship [SIp]
Tθvoiceless dental fricativeEnglish thin [TIn]
Uʊnear-close back rounded vowelEnglish foot [fUt]
U\ᵿnear-close central rounded vowel (non-IPA)English euphoria [jU\"fO@r\i@]
Vʌopen-mid back unrounded vowelScottish English strut [str\Vt]
Wʍvoiceless labial-velar fricativeScots when [WEn]
Xχvoiceless uvular fricativeKlallam sχaʔqʷaʔ [sXa?q_wa?]
X\ħvoiceless pharyngeal fricativeArabic <ح>ha’ [X\A:]
Yʏnear-close front rounded vowelGerman hübsch [hYpS]
Zʒvoiced postalveolar fricativeEnglish vision ["vIZ@n]

Other symbols

X-SAMPAIPAIPA imageDescriptionExample
..syllable break 
"ˈprimary stress 
%ˌsecondary stress 
' (or _j)ʲpalatalized 
:ːlong 
:\ˑhalf longEstonian differentiates three vowel lengths
- separatorPolish trzy [t-S1] vs. czy [tS1] (affricate)
@əschwaEnglish arena [@"r\i:n@]
@\ɘclose-mid central unrounded vowelPaicĩ kɘ̄ɾɘ [k@\_M4@\_M]
@`ɚr-coloured schwaAmerican English color ["kVl@`]
{ænear-open front unrounded vowelEnglish trap [tr\{p]
}ʉclose central rounded vowelSwedish sju [x\}:]; AuE/NZE boot [b}:t]
1ɨclose central unrounded vowelWelsh tu [t1], American English rose's ["r\oUz1z]
2øclose-mid front rounded vowelDanish købe ["k2:b@], French deux [d2]
3ɜopen-mid central unrounded vowelEnglish nurse [n3:s] (RP) or [n3`s] (Gen.Am.)
3\ɞopen-mid central rounded vowelIrish tomhail [t3\:l']
4ɾalveolar flapSpanish pero ["pe4o], American English better ["bE4@`]
5ɫvelarized alveolar lateral approximant; also see _eEnglish milk [mI5k], Portuguese livro ["5iv4u]
6ɐnear-open central vowelGerman besser ["bEs6], Australian English mud [m6d]
7ɤclose-mid back unrounded vowelEstonian kõik [k7ik], Vietnamese mơ [m7_M]
8ɵclose-mid central rounded vowelSwedish buss [b8s]
9œopen-mid front rounded vowelFrench neuf [n9f], Danish drømme [dR9m@]
&ɶopen front rounded vowelSwedish skörd [x\&d`]
?ʔglottal stopCockney English bottle ["bQ?o]
?\ʕvoiced pharyngeal fricativeArabic ع (`ayn) [?\Ajn]
* undefined escape character, SAMPA's "conjunctor" 
/ indeterminacy in French vowels 
< begin nonsegmental notation (e.g., SAMPROSA) 
<\ʢvoiced epiglottal fricative 
> end nonsegmental notation 
>\ʡepiglottal plosive 
^upstep 
!downstep 
!\ǃpostalveolar click 
||minor (foot) group 
|\ǀdental click 
||major (intonation) group 
|\|\ǁalveolar lateral click 
=\ǂpalatal click 
-\linking mark 

Diacritics

X-SAMPAIPAIPA imageDescription
_"  ̈centralized
_+  ̟advanced
_-  ̠retracted
_/ ̌rising tone
_0  ̥voiceless
_< implosive (IPA uses separate symbols for implosives)
= (or _=)  ̩syllabic
_>ʼejective
_?\ˤpharyngealized
_\ ̂ falling tone
_^  ̯non-syllabic
_}  ̚no audible release
`˞rhotacization in vowels, retroflexion in consonants (IPA uses separate symbols for consonants, see t` for an example)
~ (or _~)  ̃nasalization
_A  ̘advanced tongue root
_a  ̺apical
_B  ̏extra low tone
_B_L low rising tone
_c  ̜less rounded
_d  ̪dental
_e  ̴velarized or pharyngealized; also see 5
<F>global fall
_F  ̂falling tone
_Gˠvelarized
_H  ́high tone
_H_T high rising tone
_hʰaspirated
_j (or ')ʲpalatalized
_k  ̰creaky voice
_L  ̀low tone
_lˡlateral release
_M  ̄mid tone
_m  ̻laminal
_N  ̼linguolabial
_nnasal release
_O  ̹more rounded
_o  ̞lowered
_q  ̙retracted tongue root
<R>global rise
_R  ̌rising tone
_R_F rising falling tone
_r  ̝raised
_T  ̋extra high tone
_t  ̤breathy voice
_v  ̬voiced
_wʷlabialized
_X  ̆extra-short
_x  ̽mid-centralized

Charts

Consonants

Consonants (pulmonic)
Place of articulation Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
Manner of articulation Bilabial Labio‐
dental
Dental Alveolar Post‐
alveolar
Retro‐
flex
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyn‐
geal
Epi‐
glottal
Glottal
Nasal    m    F    n    n`    J    N    N\
Plosive p b p_d b_d t d t` d` c J\ k g q G\ >\ ?
Fricative p\ B f v T D s z S Z s` z` C j\ x G X R X\ ?\ H\ <\ h h\
Approximant    B_o    v\    r\    r\`    j    M\
Trill    B\    r    *    R\    *
Tap or Flap    *    *    4    r`    *
Lateral Fricative K K\ *    *    *   
Lateral Approximant    l    l`    L    L\
Lateral Flap    l\    *    *    *
  • Asterisks (*) mark sounds that do not have X-SAMPA symbols. Daggers (†) mark IPA symbols that have recently been added to Unicode. Since April 2008, the latter is the case of the labiodental flap, symbolized by a right-hook v in the IPA: . A dedicated symbol for the labiodental flap does not yet exist in X-SAMPA.
Coarticulated
W Voiceless labialized velar approximant
w Voiced labialized velar approximant
H Voiced labialized palatal approximant
s\ Voiceless palatalized postalveolar (alveolo-palatal) fricative
z\ Voiced palatalized postalveolar (alveolo-palatal) fricative
x\ Voiceless "palatal-velar" fricative
Affricates and double articulation
ts voiceless alveolar affricate
dz voiced alveolar affricate
tS voiceless postalveolar affricate
dZ voiced postalveolar affricate
ts\ voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate
dz\ voiced alveolo-palatal affricate
tK voiceless alveolar lateral affricate
kp voiceless labial-velar plosive
gb voiced labial-velar plosive
Nm labial-velar nasal stop
Consonants (non-pulmonic)
Clicks Implosives Ejectives
O\ Bilabial b_< Bilabial _> For example:
|\ Laminal alveolar ("dental") d_< Alveolar p_> Bilabial
ǃ\ Apical (post-) alveolar ("retroflex") J\_< Palatal t_> Alveolar
=\ Laminal postalveolar ("palatal") g_< Velar k_> Velar
|\|\ Lateral coronal ("lateral") G\_< Uvular s_> Alveolar fricative

Vowels

Front Central Back
Close
i  y
1  }
M  u
I  Y
I\  U\
 U
e  2
@\  8
7  o
e_o  2_o
@
 o_o
E  9
3  3\
V  O
{ 
6
a  &
A  Q
Near‑close
Close‑mid
Mid
Open‑mid
Near‑open
Open

See also

References

  1. Wells, J.C. "Computer-coding the IPA: a proposed extension of SAMPA" (PDF). UCL Phonetics and Linguistics. University College London. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
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