Obsolete and nonstandard symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet

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The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) possesses a variety of obsolete and nonstandard symbols. Throughout the history of the IPA, characters representing phonetic values have been modified or completely replaced. An example is ɷ for standard [ʊ]. Several symbols indicating secondary articulation have been dropped altogether, with the idea that they should be indicated with diacritics: ʮ for z̩ʷ is one. In addition, the rare voiceless implosive series ƥ ƭ ƈ ƙ ʠ has been dropped.

Other characters have been added in for specific phonemes which do not possess a specific symbol in the IPA. Those studying modern Chinese phonology have used ɿ to represent the sound of -i in Pinyin hanzi which has been variously described as [ɨ], [ɹ̩], [z̩] or [ɯ]. (See the sections Vowels and Syllabic consonants of the article Standard Chinese phonology.)

There are also unsupported symbols from local traditions that find their way into publications that otherwise use the standard IPA. This is especially common with affricates such as ƛ, and many Americanist symbols.

While the IPA does not itself have a set of capital letters (the ones that look like capitals are actually small capitals), many languages have adopted symbols from the IPA as part of their orthographies, and in such cases they have invented capital variants of these. This is especially common in Africa. An example is Kabiyé of northern Togo, which has Ɔ Ɛ Ŋ Ɣ. Other pseudo-IPA capitals supported by Unicode are Ɓ/Ƃ Ƈ Ɗ/Ƌ Ə/Ǝ Ɠ Ħ Ɯ Ɲ Ɵ Ʃ (capital ʃ) Ʈ Ʊ Ʋ Ʒ. (See Case variants of IPA letters.)

Capital letters are also used as cover symbols in phonotactic descriptions: C=Consonant, V=Vowel, etc.

This list does not include commonplace extensions of the IPA, such as doubling a symbol for a greater degree of a feature ([aːː] extra-long [a], [ˈˈa] extra stress, [kʰʰ] strongly aspirated [k], and [a˞˞] extra-rhotic [a][1]), nor superscripting for a lesser degree of a feature ([ᵑɡ] slightly prenasalized [ɡ], [ᵗs] slightly affricated [s], and [ᵊ] epenthetic schwa). The asterisk, as in [k*] for the fortis stop of Korean, is the convention the IPA uses when it has no symbol for a phone or feature.

For symbols and values which were discarded by 1932, see History of the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Obsolete and/or nonstandard symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet
Symbol or
Name Meaning Standard IPA
? question mark glottal stop ʔ typewriter substitution
7 digit seven glottal stop ʔ typewriter substitution
' apostrophe glottal stop ʔ typewriter substitution
φ Greek phi Voiceless bilabial fricative ɸ typewriter substitution or similarity of shape
ß sharp s Voiced bilabial fricative β typewriter substitution or similarity of shape
integral Voiceless postalveolar fricative ʃ typewriter substitution or similarity of shape
3 digit three Voiced postalveolar fricative ʒ typewriter substitution or similarity of shape
ƍ upside-down lowercase delta Voiced labialized alveolar or dental fricative ðʷ, zʷ, intended for the voiced whistled sibilant, ɀ, of Shona and related languages[2]
σ lowercase sigma Voiceless labialized alveolar or dental fricative θʷ, sʷ, intended for the voiceless whistled sibilant, ȿ, of Shona and related languages[2]
ƺ Ezh with tail labialized voiced postalveolar fricative ʒᶣ, ʑʷ intended for w before front vowels in Twi;[2] may also be used for the lightly rounded English /ʒ/.
ƪ backwards esh with top loop labialized voiceless postalveolar fricative ʃᶣ, ɕʷ intended for hw before front vowels in Twi;[2] may also be used for the lightly rounded English /ʃ/.
ƻ barred digit two voiced alveolar affricate d͡z withdrawn 1976
ƾ upside-down epiglottal plosive voiceless alveolar affricate t͡s withdrawn 1976
ƞ lowercase eta moraic nasal m, n, ŋ Intended for the moraic nasal /N/ of Japanese.[2] Withdrawn 1976
𝼓 𝼔 𝼕 𝼖 ƫ 𝼘 Letters with palatal hook palatalization ɡ̟ ɬʲ ŋ̟ ɹʲ ɾʲ ɕ ʑ Typically used in the transcription of Slavic languages such as Russian. Superseded 1989
𝼚 𝼛 Vowels with retroflex hook r-colored vowels ɜ˞, ə˞ etc. or ɝ, ɚ Superseded 1989; MODIFIER LETTER RHOTIC HOOK (U+02DE) is now preferred
LATIN_SMALL_LETTER_SCHWA_WITH_FISHHOOK.svg Unstressed central rhotic vowel r-colored vowel in American English ɜ˞, ə˞ or ɝ, ɚ MODIFIER LETTER RHOTIC HOOK (U+02DE) is now preferred
ʃ ʒ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ ɕ, ʑ, t͡ɕ, and d͡ʑ; respectively broad transcription; especially Japanologists and Koreanists
a a any open vowel Often a substitute for ɑ in printing when the distinction between a and ɑ is not needed.
ɑ lowercase alpha any open vowel Often a substitute for ɑ in printing when the distinction between a and ɑ is not needed.
a backwards a near-open front unrounded vowel æ Proposed in 1989, rejected[3]
c t͡ʃ, t͡ɕ, or sometimes t͡s. broad transcription
nv Ligature Close front rounded vowel y proposed in 1989, rejected[3]
ᵿ˞ barred horseshoe u with hook back sulcal vowel proposed in 1989, rejected[3]
W_with_left_hook.svg w with left hook voiced labial-velar fricative ɣʷ proposed in 1989, rejected[3]
letters with left-swinging top hook dentals proposed in 1989, rejected[3]
long-leg g Voiced velar lateral approximant ʟ proposed in 1989, rejected[3]
hooktop ezh Voiced velar fricative ɣ proposed in 1989, rejected[3]
Looptail_g.svg double-loop g Voiced velar fricative ɣ from 1895 to 1900, [q] represented that consonant before 1895, [ǥ] after 1900
Looptail_g.svg double-loop g Voiced velar plosive ɡ standard Unicode Basic Latin/ASCII lower-case g (U+0067) may have a double-loop g glyph. the preferred IPA single-loop g (U+0261) is in the IPA Extensions Unicode block. for a time it was proposed that the double-loop g might be used for [ɡ] and the single-loop g for [ᶃ] (ɡ̟),[2] but the distinction never caught on.
Looptail_g.svg double-loop g Voiced postalveolar affricate d͡ʒ used in Arabic transcriptions
Opentail_g_with_stroke_through_tail.svg single-loop g with stroke Voiced velar fricative ɣ replaced double-loop g in 1900, then replaced by gamma [ɣ] around 1928-1930. the character ǥ may not have the single-loop shape in some fonts.
j d͡ʒ or d͡ʑ
ɟ d͡ʒ or d͡ʑ
etc. subscript w Labialization etc. mark may appear above letters with descenders like [ɡ] or [ŋ]. removed 1989
ʆ curly-tail esh Voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative ɕ variant, also for Russian щ (now ɕ). removed 1989
ʓ curly-tail ezh Voiced alveolo-palatal(ized) fricative ʑ variant, removed 1989
ȵ, ȡ, ȶ, ȴ curly-tail n, d, t, l Alveolo-palatal consonants n̠ʲ, d̠ʲ, t̠ʲ, l̠ʲ or ɲ̟, ɟ˖, c̟, ʎ̟ used by some Sinologists.
ř R with caron Voiced strident apico-alveolar trill Intended for ř in Czech and related languages. ř from 1909, replaced by ɼ in 1949, Withdrawn 1989
ɼ long-leg r Voiced strident apico-alveolar trill Intended for ř in Czech and related languages. ř from 1909, replaced by ɼ in 1949, Withdrawn 1989
ɼ long-leg r syllabic alveolar trill a mistake substitute
λ (Latin_small_letter_Lambda.svg) lowercase lambda Voiced palatal lateral approximant ʎ a mistake substitute
λ (Latin_small_letter_Lambda.svg) lowercase lambda Voiced alveolar lateral affricate d͡ɮ used by Americanists
ƛ barred lowercase lambda Voiceless alveolar lateral affricate t͡ɬ used by Americanists
ł lowercase L with stroke voiceless alveolar lateral fricative ɬ used by Americanists, also a typographic substitute
ł lowercase L with stroke voiced alveolar lateral approximant ɫ used by Baltic transcriptions
lowercase Cyrillic El voiced uvular lateral approximant ʟ̠
š č ž s c z with caron postalveolars ʃ t͡ʃ ʒ; ʂ ʐ used by Americanists, Uralicists, Semiticists, Slavicists
ǰ, ǧ, ǯ j, g, ezh with caron voiced postalveolar affricate d͡ʒ used by Americanists, Slavicists
x with dot voiceless uvular fricative χ used by Americanists
Latin_letter_small_capital_Gamma.svg baby gamma close-mid back unrounded vowel ɤ proposed in 1989, rejected; LATIN SMALL LETTER RAMS HORN (U+0264) now represents both glyphs
ρ rho Bilabial trill ʙ common before an official letter was adopted
ɉ j with stroke voiced post-palatal approximant ȷ̈
/ ᵿ barred small capital I / upsilon near-close central unrounded / rounded vowel ɨ̞ / ʉ̞, ɪ̈ / ʊ̈ used by the some English phoneticians, including the Oxford English Dictionary
ʚ closed epsilon open-mid front rounded vowel œ alternate symbol from 1904-1920s[4]
ʚ closed epsilon open-mid central rounded vowel ɞ removed 1996
ɷ closed omega near-close near-back rounded vowel ʊ longstanding alternate symbol until 1989
ω lowercase omega near-close near-back unrounded vowel ʊ̜ or ɯ̽ made from obsolete ɷ symbol. Also Bloch & Trager (1942) for [ɒ̝].
ɩ small iota near-close near-front unrounded vowel ɪ longstanding alternate symbol until 1989
ı dotless small i near-close near-front unrounded vowel ɪ mistake or typographic substitute; or used by Americanists.
ȸ ȹ lowercase DB and QP ligatures voiced and voiceless labiodential plosives Used by Africanists.
or Ø slashed 0 or uppercase slashed O null initial usually used in phonology to mean a spelling with no sound value. however, in Chinese and some Korean linguistics, some scholars use it for a weak glottal stop; the sound value of the first consonant of syllables started by a vowel.
ƥ ƭ ƈ ƙ ʠ hooktop P, T, C, K, Q voiceless implosives ɓ̥ ɗ̥ ʄ̊ ɠ̊ ʛ̊ brief additions to the IPA; removed 1993
ʇ upside-down T dental click ǀ removed 1989; see click letters
ʗ stretched C alveolar click ǃ removed 1989; see click letters
ʖ upside-down glottal stop alveolar lateral click ǁ removed 1989; see click letters
ʞ upside-down K velar click proposed symbol but articulation was judged impossible.[5] later reanalyzed and found paralinguistically. For several years used for a voiceless velodorsal stop in the extIPA.[6]
𝼋 (⨎) esh with two bars fricated palatal click ǃ͡s uncommon letter in Ekoka !Kung transcription
triple vertical bar retroflex lateral click ǁ˞
ȣ OU close-mid back unrounded vowel or voiced velar fricative ɤ or ɣ a common mistake
r any rhotic sound (including r-colored vowels) broad transcription
ʀ or R Small capital R or capital R long vowel or prolonged moraic N ː used by Japanologists. This symbol represents phonemic long vowel (such as //) or /aR/) or rarely prolonged moraic N (hatsuon).
я Reversed small capital R or Cyrillic ya voiced epiglottal trill[citation needed] ʀ̠ or ʢ rare
ɿ reversed fishhook R syllabic denti-alveolar approximant ɹ̩[7][8] used by Sinologists, and by Japanologists specifically for the Miyako language
ʅ ɿ with retroflex tail syllabic retroflex approximant ɻ̩[8] used by Sinologists. See Chinese vowels
ʮ turned h with fishhook labialized syllabic denti-alveolar approximant ɹ̩ʷ used by Sinologists
ʯ turned h with fishhook and tail labialized syllabic retroflex approximant ɻ̩ʷ used by Sinologists
small capital A open central vowel ä, a̠, ɑ̈, ɑ̟, ɐ̞ used by Sinologists
alpha with stroke open central vowel ä, a̠, ɑ̈, ɑ̟, ɐ̞ used by Teuthonista
small capital E mid front unrounded vowel e̞, ɛ̝ Bloch & Trager (1942). Used by Sinologists and some Koreanists
small capital turned E close-mid near-back unrounded vowel ɤ̞ used by some Koreanists who study Gyeongsang dialect, where there is no phonemic differentiation between /ʌ/ (RR eo; Hangul ㅓ) and /ɯ/ (RR eu; Hangul ㅡ).[citation needed]
ω, Ω or omega mid back rounded vowel o̞, ɔ̝ Bloch & Trager (1942). Used by Sinologists and some Koreanists
small capital U near-close near-back rounded vowel ʊ, ʊ̹ Americanist notation
B G Ɠ H I L N Œ R Y uppercase letters ʙ ɢ ʛ ʜ ɪ ʟ ɴ ɶ ʀ ʏ uppercase alternatives to symbols shaped like small capitals
Small capital Q pharyngeal stop ʡ proposed for the pharyngeal stop of Formosan languages.
small capital Q sokuon used by Japanologists.
Q capital Q used by Japanologists.
l all coronal liquid consonants. broad transcription, mainly Koreanologists.
𝼆 𝼄 belted letters voiceless lateral fricatives (retroflex, palatal and velar) ɭ̥˔ ʎ̥˔ ʟ̥˔ now in the extIPA[6]
ʎ upside-down y alveolo-palatal lateral approximant [ʎ̟] or [l̠ʲ] broad transcription, mainly Koreanologists and Sinologists
ɲ alveolo-palatal nasal [ɲ̟] or [n̠ʲ] broad transcription, mainly Koreanologists, Sinologists, and Japanologists
w with hook bilabial flap ⱱ̟
𝼈 retroflex lateral flap ɭ̆
ɏ barred Y close central compressed vowel ÿ
ʏ (ұ) barred small capital Y near-close central compressed vowel ʏ̈
ұ barred straight y (Cyrillic straight u) near-close near-back unrounded vowel [ʊ̜] or [ɯ̽] used in Mande studies[9]
ɑ̣ etc. underdot retroflex or r-colored vowels ɑ˞ etc.
k', etc. no audible release , etc. removed
K P T etc. uppercase letters (not small capitals) fortis , etc. used by some Koreanologists
ɔ̗ / ɔ̖ etc. lower-pitched rising / falling tone contour for languages that distinguish multiple rising or falling tones
k‘ t‘, left quote or reversed comma weak (sometimes normal) aspiration k t (sometimes ) First symbol may be left single quotation mark (U+2018) or modifier letter apostrophe (U+02BC); second symbol may be single high-reversed-9 quotation mark (U+201B) or modifier letter reversed comma (U+02BD)
ʦ ʣ ʧ ʤ ʨ ʥ ligatures affricates t͡s d͡z t͡ʃ d͡ʒ ʈ͡ʂ ɖ͡ʐ t͡ɕ d͡ʑ formerly acceptable variants[10]
p′ etc. prime palatalization etc. traditional Irish phonology transcription
p’ etc. or p' etc. right single quotation mark or apostrophe palatalization etc. traditional Russian phonology transcription
* asterisk syntactic gemination (none) used in some Italian dictionaries
˹ open corner release/burst (none) IPA number 490
c or ȼ c or stroked c voiceless alveolar affricate t͡s Americanist notation
ʒ ezh voiced alveolar affricate d͡z Americanist notation
y y voiced palatal approximant j Americanist notation
ä a with umlaut open-mid front unrounded vowel or near-open front unrounded vowel ɛ or æ Uralicist notation
ö o with umlaut close-mid front rounded vowel ø Americanist and Uralicist notation
ü u with umlaut close front rounded vowel y Americanist and Uralicist notation
k’ etc. right single quotation mark Korean fortis ◌͈ used by some Koreanists for fortis sounds; equivalent to ⟨k*⟩, etc. above.
◌⸋ box unreleased ◌̚ used where IPA ◌̚ would get confused with the corners used to indicate change of pitch in the Japanese pitch accent system
◌ʱ breathy/ voiced aspiration ◌̤
◌ˀ creaky voice/ glottalization ◌̰
ˉ◌, ˗◌, ˍ◌ high, mid and low-level tone or intonation removed
˭◌, ₌◌ extra-high and extra-low level tone or intonation removed
ˋ◌, ˴◌, ˎ◌ falling or high falling, mid falling and low-falling tone or intonation removed
ˊ◌, [NA], ˏ◌ (high) rising and low rising tone or intonation removed
ˇ◌, ˬ◌ (high) dipping and low dipping (falling-rising) tone or intonation removed
ˆ◌, ꞈ◌ peaking (rising-falling) tone or intonation removed
˜◌, ̰◌ "wavy" tone or intonation removed
˙◌, ·◌, .◌ atonic syllable with high, mid, and low pitch; respectively removed
◌́, ◌̂, ◌̀, ◌̆ Acute accent, circumflex, grave accent, breve stress symbols:

primary stress, weakened primary stress, secondary stress, and no stress; respectively

ˈˈ◌, ˈ◌, ˌ◌, ◌ some English phoneticians and phonologists use acute and grave accents as primary and secondary stress symbols. Some linguists[11] use the circumflex as weakened primary stress in compound words and the breve as no stress. these symbols are also written on the English spellings not just other IPA symbols.
◌̩, ◌̍ Vertical line below or above moraic used by Japanologists. In the standard IPA, these symbols represents syllabic sounds, but Japanologists use them for phonetic variants (except for nasal vowels) of the moraic N ([n̩, ɴ̩, ŋ̍ (or ŋ̩), ]).
◌̄, ◌́, ◌̌, ◌̀ Macron, acute accent, caron, grave accent Chinese tones ◌́, ◌̌, ◌̀, ◌̂ or similar, depending on dialect and analysis, or Chao tone letters used by Sinologists with the values the symbols have in Hanyu Pinyin. the standard IPA values of these diacritics are: mid, high, rising, and low tone.