Meertens Instituut


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Keyboard-IPA for entry of transcriptions

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Creative Commons License   KIPA: Meertens Instituut & Van Reenen;   rest: 2001-2004 Meertens Instituut (Boudewijn van den Berg)

The encoding used for our transcriptions was designed for

  • independence of software and fonts
  • quick data entry.
Click here for symbol charts of both K-IPA and of 'simplification' *).

*) K-IPA-transcriptions have been simplified on the basis of some of the Dutch spelling conventions for purposes of readability for lay users and for convenience at searches.

Continue here for a short history of the K-IPA-encoding.
Continue here for a list of descriptions per K-IPA-code.
Continue here for an explanation of the 'simplified' transcriptions.

Included on the CD-ROM are all data in HTML-unicode (MacOS & pc) and in SIL-Manuscript-IPA-regular font (mac & pc).

In the use in any form towards others of the KIPA-encoding or of the simplified pronunciation spelling, always mention: "Goeman, Van Reenen, Van den Berg (Meertens Instituut-KNAW)".



Fieldworkers were trained in the International Phonetic Alphabet (short: IPA) by dr. P.Th. van Reenen at the Free University at Amsterdam. As a student guide was used (with adaptations by Van Reenen) W.H. Chapman's "Introduction to Practical Phonetics" (van het A HREF="javascript:void(0)" onClick=nieuwvensterBreedLaagMet('')>Summer Institute of Linguistics).

The encoding of IPA for the purpose of computer-entry, "keyboard-IPA", was designed at the beginning of the eighties and thus became unknowingly a precursor of the A HREF="javascript:void(0)" onClick=nieuwvensterBreedLaagMet('')>internationally more well-known (X)SAMPA-encoding.

Keyboard-IPA turned out to be very practical. Eg. in contrast to (X)SAMPA) it uses only vowels for the encoding of vowels and only consonants for consonants; thus enhancing greatly its readability.

At the same time (in contrast to SAMPA) are accents and special characters only used for diacritics and not for sounds.

(Notice however that Groningen RND-SAMPA may considerably vary from the 'official' SAMPA.)

The first goal during development, viz. "independence of software and fonts", meant using only the lower ascii-values.

The second point of attention, "quick data entry", meant as few keyboard strokes as possible - plus designing somewhat 'iconic' in order not to have too great a difference between original and code, for ease of 'translating' and diminishing chances of typos.

Thus, for example, during entry the g was used for the voiced fricative (instead of the internationally association with a stop) because of its interpretation within the Dutch context and needing just one stroke (considering the frequency in Dutch).

A 'counter force' in desiging was the demand for readability.

Notice that in the mean time, data entry being finished, some of the encodings have been reworked towards international demands of readability: the afore mentioned g now indeed indicates again the voiced stop. Computer use demanded changing capital characters into low key characters (using additional numbering) and adapting some combinations like ae (near-open front unrounded vowel) (after checking for real a-e combinations).

Finally, at the outset of the project a choice was made not to indicate the transcriber's sense of syllable boundaries. Only at clear pauses a white space was used. Keep this in mind when formulating your queries.

We should like to call for further usage of KIPA in other projects. Don't hesitate to contact us. &rarr contact

(For the benefit of (mainly Dutch) users of the original encodings now follows a list of changes dated december 2002:




'Long' vowels are doubly spelled: aa oo oe ii (not ie) uu eu
'ei' comes in several variations, eg. E(ii)

'Short' vowels are spelled with a single character: a ('pad') i ('pit') u ('put') E ('pet'; mind the capital)

Lengthened vowels get h: ah, oh, Eh, aah, euh
( eu, ii en uu do not get h at slight lengthening, a, o, E, u yet again do; a 'real' h is spelled H )

Schwa is always spelled e (without any accent) (uue = uu plus schwa)

Sometimes vowels are separated by - (hyphen) to disambiguate: a-e (in case it is not ae)

Tongue tipped trilled r is doubly spelled: rr, 'single trill'-r is just spelled once: r

A 'thick' l is spelled doubly: ll

Lightly spoken sounds come between brackets: (l) (r)

A glottal stop (air flow stop already inside the throat) is indicated with ' (apostrophe)

A sound which is completely nasalized: (n)
(No n is spoken; yet spelling conflates with spelling for lightly spoken n)

A syllabified consonant receives a hyphen: n- -m

Of Limburgian tones only the relevant S and V are included in the simplification.

Diacritics have been left out except for nasality: (n) and palatalization: (j).

All variants coming after * as well as all remarks on the same line have been left out. Just * has remained.

g has voice, ch is voiceless, gg is the 'g' of (english) 'goal'

Stick to these 'rules' in all circumstances. Singly spelled means always 'short', even in open syllables (contrary to normal spelling). Keep in mind though the diphtongues oe [u] and eu [KIPA: o/].



!stemloos, gedeeltelijk stemloosvoiceless
#gedeeltelijk stemloos, -hebbendpartly voiceless, -d
:verlengd (lang)long
.verlengd (halflang)half-long
?/creaky, gelaryngaliseerdcreaky voice
{dentale uitspraakdental
´tong hoger (meer gesloten)raised
`tong lager (meer geopend)lowered
<tong naar vorenadvanced
>tong naar achterretracted
~nasaal, half nasaalnasalized
~/half nasaalnasalized
)rondingmore rounded
)2halve rondinga little more rounded
(ontrondingless rounded
(2halve ontrondinga little less rounded
h2breathy, extra frictiebreathy voiced
]unreleasedno audible release
?glottale plosiefglottal plosive
6midden half gesloten gespreidmid central vowel
amidden open gespreidopen front unrounded vowel
a2achter open gespreidopen back unrounded vowel
a3achter open gerondopen back rounded vowel
a4achter half open gespreidopen-mid back unrounded vowel
a5midden half open gespreidnear-open central vowel
a8voor open gespreidnear-open front unrounded vowel
bstemhebbende bilabiale plosiefvoiced bilabial plosive
cstemloze palatale plosiefvoiceless palatal plosive
dstemhebbende alveolaire plosiefvoiced dental or alveolar plosive
d3stemhebbende interdentale fricatiefvoiced dental fricative
evoor half gesloten gespreidclose-mid front unrounded vowel
e2voor half open gespreidopen-mid front unrounded vowel
fstemloze labiodentale fricatiefvoiceless labiodental fricative
f2stemloze bilabiale fricatiefvoiceless bilabial fricative
gstemhebbende velaire plosiefvoiced velar plosive
g2stemhebbende palatale plosiefvoiced palatal plosive
g3stemhebbende velaire fricatiefvoiced velar fricative
g7stemhebbende uvulaire fricatiefvoiced uvular plosive
g8stemhebbende uvulaire plosiefvoiced uvular plosive
hstemhebbende glottale fricatief
gebruikt (icm klinker) als
samenvattende notatie
voor hijgklinkers
voiced glottal fricative
used (icw vowels) as
comprehensive symbol
for breathy vowels
h}stemloze pharyngale fricatiefvoiceless pharyngeal fricative
h_lichte aspiratie, zware aspiratieapirated
h2breathy, extra frictiebreathy voiced
h8stemhebbende pharyngale fricatiefvoiced pharyngeal fricative or approximant
ivoor gesloten gespreidclose front unrounded vowel
i2voor-1 gesloten-1 gespreidnear-close near-front unrounded vowel
i5midden gesloten gespreidclose central unrounded vowel
jstemhebbende palatale half-vocaalvoiced palatal approximant
j2stemhebbende palatale fricatiefvoiced palatal fricative
kstemloze velaire plosiefvoiceless velar plosive
lalveolaire lateraalvoiced dental lateral or alveolar lateral
l2gevelarizeerde alveolaire lateraalvelarized voiced dental lateral or alveolar lateral
l3palatale lateraalvoiced palatal lateral approximant
l4gevocaliseerde alveolaire lateraal zonder occlusiealveolar lateral approximant
mbilabiale nasale consonantvoiced bilabial nasal
m,labiodentale nasale consonantvoiced labiodental nasal
nalveolaire nasale consonantvoiced dental or alveolar nasal
n,velaire nasale consonantvoiced velar nasal
n2palatale nasale consonantvoiced palatal nasal
n7uvulaire nasale consonantvoiced uvular nasal
oachter half gesloten rondclose-mid back rounded vowel
o/voor half gesloten gerondclose-mid front rounded vowel
o2achter half open gerondopen-mid back rounded vowel
o3achter half gesloten-1 gerondnear-close near-back rounded vowel
o4achter half gesloten-2 gerondnear-close near-back rounded vowel
o5midden half gesloten gerondclose-mid central rounded vowel
o7voor half open gerondopen-mid front rounded vowel
o8voor open gerondopen front rounded vowel
pstemloze bilabiale plosiefvoiceless bilabial plosive
qstemloze uvulaire plosiefvoiceless uvular plosive
q8stemloze faryngale plosiefvoiceless pharyngeal plosive
rstemhebbende alveolaire vibrant (rol-r)voiced dental or alveolar trill
r2stemhebbende alveolaire vibrant (flap-r)voiced dental or alveolar tap
r3stemhebbende alveolaire frictieloze continuantvoiced dental or alveolar approximant
r4r-coloured vowelrhoticity
r5´Tsjechische r, westnedl. -rs-alveolar closed trill, now voiced alveolar fricative
r7stemhebbende uvulaire vibrantvoiced uvular trill
r9stemhebbende uvulaire frictieloze continuantvoiced uvular approximant
sstemloze alveolaire fricatiefvoiceless alveolar fricative
s2stemloze palato-alveolaire fricatiefvoiceless postalveolar fricative
s3stemloze alveo-palatale fricatiefvoiceless alveolo-palatal fricative
tstemloze alveolaire plosiefvoiceless dental or alveolar plosive
t2stemloze alveo-palatale plosiefpalatalized voiceless alveolar stop
t3stemloze interdentale fricatiefvoiceless dental fricative
uachter gesloten gerondclose back rounded vowel
u<midden gesloten gerondclose central rounded vowel
u2achter gesloten gespreidclose back unrounded vowel
vstemhebbende labiodentale fricatiefvoiced labiodental fricative
v2stemhebbende bilabiale fricatiefvoiced bilabial fricative
wstemhebbende labiovelaire halfvocaalvoiced labial-velar approximant
w2stemhebbende labiodentale frictieloze continuantvoiced labiodental approximant
w3stemloze labiovelaire halfvocaalvoiceless labial-velar fricative
xstemloze velaire fricatiefvoiceless velar fricative
x2stemloze palatale fricatiefvoiceless palatal fricative
x7stemloze uvulaire fricatiefvoiceless uvular fricative
yvoor gesloten gerondclose front rounded vowel
y2voor-1 gesloten-1 gerondnear-close near-front rounded vowel
y3achter half gesloten gespreidclose-mid back unrounded vowel
y4stemhebbende labio-palatale halfvocaal (Fr. ´luiš)voiced labial-palatal approximant
zstemhebbende alveolaire fricatiefvoiced alveolar fricative
z2stemhebbende palato-alveolaire fricatiefvoiced postalveolar fricative
z3stemhebbende alveo-palatale fricatiefvoiced alveolo-palatal fricative