Obsolete and nonstandard symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet

ƻƾƍƪƺʯnonstandard symbolsnonstandard variations of the IPAobsolete IPA charactersɷ
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) possesses a variety of obsolete and nonstandard symbols.wikipedia
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Americanist phonetic notation

AmericanistNAPAAmericanist transcription
This is especially common with affricates such as, and many Americanist symbols.
Certain symbols in NAPA have been used as obsolete and nonstandard symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet in certain transcriptions.

International Phonetic Alphabet

IPAPronunciationInternational Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) possesses a variety of obsolete and nonstandard symbols.
Although IPA is popular for transcription by linguists, American linguists often alternate use of the IPA with Americanist phonetic notation or use the IPA together with some nonstandard symbols, for reasons including reducing the error rate on reading handwritten transcriptions or avoiding perceived awkwardness of IPA in some situations.

Case variants of IPA letters

(See Case variants of IPA letters.)
Some of the IPA letters that were adopted into language orthographies have since become obsolete in the IPA itself.

IPA Extensions

IPA Extensions Unicode blockIPA Extensions IPA Extensions (Unicode block)
Within the Unicode blocks there are also a few former IPA characters no longer in international use by linguists.

Palatalization (phonetics)

Prior to 1989, several palatalized consonants were represented by curly-tailed variants in the IPA, e.g., for and for : see palatal hook.

Near-close front unrounded vowel

near-close near-front unrounded vowelɪ/ɪ/
Prior to 1989, there was an alternate symbol for this sound:, the use of which is no longer sanctioned by the IPA.


ΓGreek letter GammaΓ γ
In certain nonstandard variations of the IPA, the uppercase form is used.

Postalveolar consonant

PostalveolarPost- alveolarPost-alveolar
Catford transcribes them as (that is not IPA notation; the obsolete IPA letters have occasionally been resurrected for these sounds).


ƷƷ ʒ
Related obsolete IPA characters include and.

Aspirated consonant

An old symbol for light aspiration was, but this is now obsolete.

Retroflex consonant

Retroflexretroflexionretroflex consonants
Some linguists restrict these symbols for consonants with subapical palatal articulation, in which the tongue is curled back and contacts the hard palate, and use the alveolar symbols with the obsolete IPA underdot symbol for an apical post-alveolar articulation:.

History of the International Phonetic Alphabet

Kiel ConventionHistory of the IPA1928 revision
Throughout the history of the IPA, characters representing phonetic values have been modified or completely replaced.

Chinese vowel diagram

Chinese vowel diagramsChinese vowels
Notice that those two IPA symbols are now considered Obsolete and nonstandard symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Syllabic consonant

syllabicsyllabic nasalsyllabic fricative
The nonstandard symbols are commonly used to transcribe these vowels in place of or, respectively.


Hanyu PinyinpPīnyīn
Those studying modern Chinese phonology have used to represent the sound of -i in Pinyin hanzi which has been variously described as,, or.

Standard Chinese phonology

tonefour tonesMandarin phonology
(See the sections Vowels and Syllabic consonants of the article Standard Chinese phonology.)

Small caps

small capitalssmall capital
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.

Kabiye language

An example is Kabiyé of northern Togo, which has Ɔ Ɛ Ŋ Ɣ.


TogoleseRepublic of TogoTogolese Republic
An example is Kabiyé of northern Togo, which has Ɔ Ɛ Ŋ Ɣ.

Cover symbols used in linguistics

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