Frequently Asked Questions

Below is our list of frequently asked questions and their answers.

IPANow! was conceived and developed by Dr. Kelly J. Turner of Pfafftown, NC. Dr. Turner has taught vocal and choral music, lyric diction, and music theory at both the secondary and collegiate levels. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Many undergraduate vocal music curricula devote too little time to the study of lyric diction. Some institutions only offer a semester-long overview of all four languages; others do not offer diction at all. Even those that dedicate a semester to each language end up spending a great deal of time teaching students how to transcribe texts into phonetics, when the most important skill for vocalists is learning to physically negotiate the subtleties of prononciation within each language and coordinate those subtleties with the singing voice. It is our hope that IPANow! will allow students to dedicate more time to this essential aspect of lyric diction.

IPANow! was created to be a lyric diction resource for choral conductors, teachers of voice, professional vocalists, church musicians and music educators and students. Linguists and speech pathologists may also find IPANow! helpful with the understanding that certain, subtle differences exist between spoken and lyric diction.

IPANow! is based on material from standard lyric diction texts such as A Handbook of Diction for Singers by David Adams, the Lyric Diction Workbook series by Cheri Montgomery, A Singer's Manual of German and French Diction by Richard Cox, Singers' Italian by Evelina Colorni, and Diction by John Moriarty.

This is probably the number one question we have been asked over the years, and the answer is "absolutely!" One of the wonderful things about a web-based application is that you can access it from just about anywhere on just about any device.

IPANow! Online utilizes Unicode fonts for easy portability of the IPA transcription to other media. The user interface offers three Unicode font face options for the IPA transcription output, with Times as the default. Unicode fonts make copying and pasting into word processors, slide presentations, websites, or even emails a cinch!

There are a number of reasons why the transcription might be different:
  • First of all, there is often disagreement among vocalists as to the "correct" pronunciation of certain foreign words. Thus, in some cases there is no one correct answer.
  • Second, there are some words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently. For example, consider the English noun "wind" and the English verb "wind." These "heteronyms" occur in other languages, too, and IPANow! is unable to distinguish them.
  • Third, there are some instances in which a particular musical setting may alter the way a text is sung. In one composer's text setting, the rhythmic values applied to each text syllable may differ from another composer's setting, resulting in subtle differences in pronunciation. The sound [i] might become [j], or the sound [u] might become [w] in a particular setting. In these instances, you may need to edit the default output of IPANow! Online.
  • Finally, the task of transcribing foreign languages into phonetic symbols is no simple task, even for a computer. We admit that IPANow! is not an absolutely perfect program. . .but we think we're pretty close. If you find a word that you know it's transcribing incorrectly, please contact us so we can correct it.

Some words that have been pre-programmed into our database will be transcribed correctly, but generally speaking, the application will attempt to transcribe the foreign word using rules for the regular language. You can, however, manually edit any incorrectly-transcribed words directly within the user interface of IPANow! Online.

Since users have varying preferences for open and closed vowels in Italian, our program offers three options. It can transcribe all "e"s and "o"s open, transcribe them all closed, or it can be set to make an educated guess based on common prefixes and suffixes that always utilize a certain vowel quality.

Since final schwas in French are only sung if the composer gives the schwa a note value, IPANow! gives users the option of adding parentheses around final schwas.

Yes, it automatically adds these into the transcription.

Yes, it includes an option to add phrasal doubling into the transcription. In instances where phrasal doubling should not occur because of a rest in the music, simply enter any of the following punctuation marks between the two words, preventing the program from creating a liaison or elision: comma, period, colon, semicolon.

The user interface includes several easily-accessible buttons for inserting these symbols into the text so you can type in words that contain these characters quickly. Similar buttons are also available for editing the IPA symbols in the output after you have generated a transcription. It won't be necessary to memorize complex keyboard combinations to produce the special characters you need.

You must type the word correctly (including appropriate diacritical marks) or the resulting transcription may be skewed.

The current version supports both the Italianate and Germanic pronunciations of Latin, since vocalists primarily use these two. Classical Latin pronunciation is not supported at this time.

No. We'll send a couple of reminders before your subscription is set to expire, but we will not automatically renew your subscription (or charge you money for doing so.)

We define "lifetime" as the span of time between now and the end of PhoneticSoft operations or the end of the internet; whichever comes first. We've been in business over 11 years, though, so we don't expect either of those to happen anytime soon.