The interest in the scientific description of sound has led to the invention of the International Phonetic Association (IPA) in 1888. IPA is an association to develop a phonetic alphabet to symbolise the sound of all languages. According to Fromkin, Rodman, Hyams. (2003), the use of Roman alphabet in the English writing system had inspired the IPA to utilise many Roman letters in the invention of phonetic symbols. Unlike ordinary letters that may or may not represent the same sounds in the same or different languages, these alphabetic characters have a consistent value (Fromkin et al., 2003).
According to the phonetic transcription which is governed by the principle, “One Sound, One Symbol”, there should be a list of 26 distinct sounds in English alphabet since there are only 26 letters in English alphabet which can be further divided into consonants and vowels. However, there are 42 different phonemes for the 26 letters in the English alphabet. There are 15 vowel sounds and 27 consonant sounds in English language. The 15 vowels are /i/, /ɪ/, /e/, /ɛ/, /æ/, /ʊ/, /uː/, /ʌ/, /o/,/ɔ/, /a/, /ə/, /aj/, /aw/,and /ɔj/ while the consonants are /p/, /b/, /f/, /v/, /m/, /w/, / /, /ð/, /t/, /d/, /s/, /z/, /n/, /l/, /r/, /tʃ/, /dʒ/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /j/,/k/, /g/, /ŋ/,/ h/, /?/ and /hw/ (Fromkin et al., 2003).
Hilton & Hyder (1992) stated that some English words are not spelt as they are pronounced; the pronunciation can also vary according to one’s regional accents as well as from one English-speaking country to another. Cases where English words are not spelt as pronounced can be seen in words like business, /bIznəs/ and what, /wɒt/. Rubba (2003) stated that it is important to remember that an IPA symbol always has the same sound... [continues]
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