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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{[email protected]] 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.


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, as Unicode support for IPA symbols becomes more widespread, the necessity for a separate, computer-readable system for representing the IPA in ASCII decreases.

Wikipedia usage

In Wikipedia the usage of IPA instead of SAMPA is recommended.

See also

External links

Look up SAMPA in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
  • SAMPA computer readable phonetic alphabet
  • Phonemic notation of English in SAMPA
  • SAMPA for Scots

Last updated: 02-03-2005 01:01:47
Last updated: 05-01-2005 23:37:46