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The Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet (SAMPA) is a computer-readable phonetic script using 7-bit printable ASCII characters, based on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

It was originally developed in the late 1980s for six European languages by the EEC ESPRIT information technology research and development program. As many symbols as possible have been taken over from the IPA; where this is not possible, other signs that are available are used, e.g. [@] for schwa, [2] for the vowel sound found in French deux and [9] for the vowel sound found in French neuf.

Today, officially, SAMPA has been developed for all the sounds of the following languages:

The characters ["s{mp@] represent the pronunciation of the name SAMPA in English. Like IPA, SAMPA is usually enclosed in square brackets or slashes, which are not part of the alphabet proper and merely signify that it is phonetic as opposed to regular text.

Table of contents
1 Problems with SAMPA
2 See also
3 External links

Problems with SAMPA

SAMPA tables are valid only in the language they were created for. The tables of languages are not harmonised so there are conflicts between languages. The result of this problem is that SAMPA cannot be used as an ASCII representation of the general IPA alphabet. To solve this problem X-SAMPA was created, which provides one single table without language specific differences.

SAMPA was devised as a hack to work around the inability of text encodings to represent IPA symbols. However, with the advent of Unicode support for IPA symbols, the necessity for a separate, computer-readable system for representing IPA in ASCII becomes more and more unnecessary as Unicode support becomes more widespread.

See also

External links