American English

The variety of English on which the research programs that set up SAMPA focused was British English (principally RP and similar). Nevertheless, SAMPA can readily be applied to American English. The consonant system is identical with that of BrE, but the vowel system differs somewhat. The Kenyon & Knott system requires the addition of one further symbol, from X-SAMPA, namely the grave accent ` to denote retroflex (rhotacized) vowel coloring.


     Symbol          Word                    Transcription
        p               pin                     pIn
        b               bin                     bIn
        t               tin                     tIn
        d               din                     dIn
        k               kin                     kIn
        g               give                    gIv
        tS              chin                    tSIn
        dZ              gin                     dZIn
        f               fin                     fIn
        v               vim                     vIm
        T               thin                    TIn
        D               this                    DIs
        s               sin                     sIn
        z               zing                    zIN
        S               shin                    SIn
        Z               measure                 "mEZ@`
        h               hit                     hIt
        m               mock                    mAk
        n               knock                   nAk
        N               thing                   TIN
        r               wrong                   rON
        l               long                    lON
        w               wasp                    wAsp
        j               yacht                   jAt
        I               pit                     pIt
        E               pet                     pEt
        {               pat                     p{t
        A               pot                     pAt
        V               cut                     kVt
        U               put                     pUt
        i               ease                    iz
        e               raise                   rez
        u               lose                    luz
        o               nose                    noz
        O               cause                   kOz
        aI              rise                    raIz
        OI              noise                   nOIz
        aU              rouse                   raUz
        3`              furs                    f3`z
        @               allow                   @"laU
	@`		corner			"kOrn@`

  1. Notational variants.
    1. Many scholars prefer to show K-K's /e/ and /o/ ('raise', 'nose') explicitly as diphthongs, thus /eI/, /oU/.
    2. Both /3`/ ('furs') and /@`/ ('corner') can analyzed instead as /@r/, so simplifying the system and reducing the number of symbols needed: thus /f@rz/, /"kOrn@r/.
    3. A vowel notation based on that of Trager & Smith is also widely used; for this, 'pit' is transcribed /pit/, 'ease' /iyz/, 'rouse' /rawz/, 'corner' /kˇhrn@r/, etc.
  2. Additional symbols. For many purposes it is convenient to symbolize voiced-t (flapped t, tapped t) explicitly. If the symbol /d/ is not considered appropriate, then the SAMPA symbol /4/ (= voiced alveolar tap) is recommended, thus 'better' /"bE4@`/.
  3. Differences in the system.
    1. Many Americans (and most Canadians) make no distinction between the vowels represented above as /A/ and /O/: for them, 'lot' rhymes perfectly with 'thought'. For such speakers, it is suggested that /A/ be used in both sets of words, so that 'cause' is transcribed /kAz/. Before /r/, however, it will be best to retain /O/, so that 'corner' is still transcribed /"kOrn@`/.
    2. Some speakers distinguish two kinds of /{/, perhaps using a different vowel in 'jazz' from in 'has'. If desired, the first can be written /E@/ or /e@/.

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Maintained by J.C. Wells. Created 2000 01 18