English Pronunciatin symbols

leftcoastpdx   Fri Mar 24, 2006 8:17 pm GMT
Are there names for the various symbols used in guiding pronunciation in English? I am thinking specifically of the shallow "U" shaped symbol above a short vowel, such as the "a" in "slap", and the straight line above a long vowel, such as the "a" in "way".
leftcoastpdx   Fri Mar 24, 2006 8:19 pm GMT
Sorry for the typo...PRONUNCIATION, of course.
Mxsmanic   Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:54 am GMT
The U-shaped symbol is called a breve. The straight line is called a macron.

However, for serious pronunciation work, it is customary to use the International Phonetic Alphabet. The symbols above are often used with home-cooked, English-specific pronunciation keys and references, and are not consistent with international or phonetic use. For example, the "short a" and "long a" are distinguished by their vowel quality, not by their length, despite this common terminology.