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Karen's Linguistics Issues, May 2001 | This Month's Articles | Previous Months

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Producing Phonetic Transcriptions on your


by Karen Bond
It is quite complicated to install the IPA software onto your computer, as
the instructions on the download site are not very clear. This page seeks to
redress that. Dont give up, because it is well worth the effort!
It is recommended that you print this page out, to help you with the
download process.

Downloading the Fonts

The font software is provided for free by SIL International
(http://www.sil.org/). The SIL IPA Fonts contain every base character,
diacritic, and suprasegmental mark currently prescribed by the
International Phonetic Association. There are three font families:

SIL Doulos
(similar to Times New Roman)
SIL Sophia
(similar to Helvetica)
SIL Manuscript
(monospace, similar to Prestige)




The new fonts should instantly be added to your fonts in Word. If they do
not appear, you will need to install them manually, once the downloading
process is over. The easiest way I have found to do this is:
My Computer/C:/Windows/Font
Then, one at a time, click on the SIL icons. Go to File and Install. This will
install your new fonts, which you will be able to find now in Microsoft Word.

Downloading the Keyboard Manager

That may have seemed easy, but its not over yet! Now you need to download
a special keyboard manager.
Download here (http://www.sil.org/computing/fonts/keyman.html).
Scroll down to 'Keyman' and click on it.
Save this program to disk, to the Program Files. Then click on Open, Unzip
and OK. This file has now been unzipped in C:WINDOWS\TEMP.
Go to this folder, by clicking on My Computer, C:, Windows, Temp.
Scroll down and find 'Setup`, and click on it. Follow the instructions.
You will then get a menu of keyboards, and select `SIL IPA 93 Keyboard`.
You will then be shown a Keyman 3.2 icon, which you may drag onto your
This software, Tavultesoft Keyboard Manager, should now be in your
program files. Find it by going to Start/Programs/Tavultesoft Keyboard
You can activate it by clicking on Keyman 3.2 and this will bring up an icon in
the top right hand corner of your screen. To use the software, just click on
the icon.

Using the Software

Now you need to know where on your keyboard you can find each phonetic
symbol. This is a bit confusing at first, but after some practice, youll soon
get the hang of it.
Below is a table of basic sequences, but many more can be found by clicking
on Start/Programs/SIL IPA Fonts/Ipa93key Help. I suggest that you print
these out for quick reference.


Followed by



tiny space


#= =

To get the symbol //, for example, you will first need to change the font to
SILDoulos IPA93. Then, making sure that the icon in the top right hand
corner is depressed, type the letter `a`, followed by `<`.
If you find any of the above information to be inaccurate or misleading,
please let me know!

Please feel free to email me at teacherkarenb@hotmail.com with any comments or queries about this site,
or leave a message in the guestbook.
Karens Linguistics Issues 2002. All rights reserved.