ELI5. What do you call those weird letters that show up when you google a word?

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For example, I googled the word conspicuous. And under the header there was this: /kənˈspɪkjʊəs/. What are these called and how do you read them?

In: 7

Those symbols are known as the [International Phonetic Alphabet.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet) They are used to describe how a word is pronounced.

[This site](https://www.internationalphoneticalphabet.org/ipa-sounds/ipa-chart-with-sounds/) can help you with the sounds of those symbols.

Google has a feature that automatically displays a word’s definition if it is searched for and the algorithm thinks you might just want a definition. Part of defining a word is defining how it sounds when spoken. Because the English language is very inconsistent in relating letters to sounds, a different alphabet with many more letters is used ([IPA](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet); the earlier answer mentions this), and each letter corresponds to one sound each.

If you search for a definition of a word with multiple ways to pronounce it ([data](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/data), as an example), there will be multiple IPA versions as part of the definition.

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0

For example, I googled the word conspicuous. And under the header there was this: /kənˈspɪkjʊəs/. What are these called and how do you read them?

In: 7

Those symbols are known as the [International Phonetic Alphabet.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet) They are used to describe how a word is pronounced.

[This site](https://www.internationalphoneticalphabet.org/ipa-sounds/ipa-chart-with-sounds/) can help you with the sounds of those symbols.

Google has a feature that automatically displays a word’s definition if it is searched for and the algorithm thinks you might just want a definition. Part of defining a word is defining how it sounds when spoken. Because the English language is very inconsistent in relating letters to sounds, a different alphabet with many more letters is used ([IPA](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet); the earlier answer mentions this), and each letter corresponds to one sound each.

If you search for a definition of a word with multiple ways to pronounce it ([data](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/data), as an example), there will be multiple IPA versions as part of the definition.