The two main options I see are as follows:

  1. Just have people do it in Unicode. It would probably be useful in that case to link to or create a nice repository of common symbols in the FAQs to facilitate entry. It is what Writes_in_IPA, a user on Reddit, seems to be doing.
  2. Look for/develop a LaTeX/tipa-style library to allow for entries like \tipa{p\super hEt}. The Mathematics StackExchange site very successfully uses Mathjax.

2 Answers 2


Is it possible to augment the edit/formatting bar above the text input box to include a drop-down palette with click-to-insert for common IPA symbols? (Maybe this should be a separate question on Meta so it can get some attention from the Stack Exchange developers...?) If so, I think Unicode is definitely the way to go.

  • I think this solution would be the best for those with some IPA experience, but who aren't power users. Meanwhile, I would expect those who know tipa style (or a willing to learn) probably already have their own IPA entry methods, so providing a latex-like library would be more work than necessary.
    – tdhsmith
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 5:57
  • This! A drop-down palette would be perfect, if feasible.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 20:26
  • How extensive are you all thinking on this palette? The whole of IPA is pretty excessive, but even the basic consonant/vowel chart would take up about as much space as the default response box. Go big or go home? Or just the essentials, and leave expert stuffs for experts to find themselves?
    – tdhsmith
    Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 3:20
  • 1
    In the interim, I usually use ipa.typeit.org/full for picking out single IPA chars, and something similar could be integrated into the site. Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 11:55
  • As a programmer and general lover of mouse-free interfaces, I would have liked to see more community support for raw tipa-style input, but it seems like the community has clearly spoken, so I'll accept this one and hope that that can push the administrators to advise us on how to get this implemented.
    – Steven
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 1:28

Another possibility if the site becomes successful would be for Stack Exchange to include some type of automatic conversion between SAMPA and IPA.

I have long been cutting and pasting IPA into various websites but that's not a friendly general solution.

Keep in mind though that those with slightly higher rep can edit questions and answers and some helpful contributors might add IPA to entries where the original contributor had trouble doing so.

  • 3
    I don't think enough linguists actually use SAMPA for conversion to be useful. Some linguists working in (primarily English) phonetics use Arpabet, but I don't think that's a great solution either. Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 7:41
  • Well there's XSAMPA and several others... SAMPA itself is too limited I'd say.
    – kaleissin
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 20:51

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