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Converting from older technologies

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 3 months ago

Converting from older technologies


Legacy SIL fonts and what to do about them


This section is for you if:
  • You're the author of a document using SIL IPA93 2.0 (also known as SIL IPA Encore) or IPA 1.2 fonts, and you have received complaints that it can't be read; or

  • You're the recipient of a document containing IPA using one of the above fonts, and although you've done everything we've recommended on this site, the IPA looks like Wingdings or another set of indecipherable symbols.


If you need to decode somebody else's document containing legacy SIL fonts:

You'll need to install an older, symbol-encoded, non-Unicode font to get the IPA to display correctly. 


Go to scripts.sil.org/IPAhome

Scroll down to Legacy Fonts, and select the older IPA font version you think you need.

For instructions on installing fonts, go to How to install fonts.


For extra credit: If you have reason to believe the author is still using legacy fonts to create new documents, you should refer him or her to the next section for re-education.  (If you have to edit or borrow legacy IPA from someone else's document, also read on.)


If you're the author:

Congratulations on taking this difficult first step toward recovery.  Now that you've admitted you have a problem, let us help your healing journey begin:


If you're not sure whether you really need to do this, or if you have geekier questions about conversion of legacy IPA to Unicode, we encourage you to visit scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&cat_id=Conversion for more information than you probably ever wanted to know.




The Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet (SAMPA) was devised in 1987 (latest version X-SAMPA) and has been used by linguists on the web. SAMPA and X-SAMPA use ordinary ASCII characters to render IPA characters. The user is expected to understand what the characters correspond to. Here is an example of SAMPA with the gloss in real IPA and the regular English spelling underneath:


so if ju si sVmTIN D{t lUks lAIk DIs In @ wEb pedZ, DeIr juzIN D@ "SAMPA" sIst@m

[so ɪf ju si sʌmθɪŋ ðæt lʊks lɑɪk ðɪs ɪn ǝ wɛb pedʒ, ðeɪɹ juzɪŋ ðǝ "SAMPA" sɪstǝm]

So if you see something that looks like this in a web page, they're using the "SAMPA" system


If you have read our magnificent pages on using IPA in your browser then you already know that SAMPA and X-SAMPA are hopelessly last century. There is no longer any need for it since we can now configure our browsers to use regular IPA. Besides, it looks stupid. So if you see SAMPA or X-SAMPA on a website, send the webmaster a stern e-mail and tell them to come here and find out how to do it right.

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