The Extended Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet (X-SAMPA) is a variant of
SAMPAdeveloped in 1995by John C. Wells, professor of phoneticsat the University of London. It was designed to unify the individual language SAMPA alphabets, and extend SAMPA to cover the entire range of characters in the International Phonetic Alphabet(IPA). The result is a SAMPA-inspired recasting of the IPA into 7-bit ASCII.
SAMPA was devised as a hack to work around the inability of
text encodings to represent IPA symbols. However, as Unicodesupport for IPA symbols becomes more widespread, the necessity for a separate, computer-readable system for representing the IPA in ASCII decreases. On the other hand, X-SAMPA is still useful as the basis for an input methodfor true IPA.
* The IPA symbols that are ordinary lower-case letters have the same value in X-SAMPA as they do in the IPA.
* X-SAMPA uses a following backslash as an escape character to create a new symbol. For example O is a distinct sound from O, to which it bears no relation.
* X-SAMPA diacritics follow the symbols they modify. Except for ~ for
nasalization, = for syllabicity, and ` for retroflexionand rhotacization, diacritics are joined to the character with the underscore character _.
* The underscore character is also used to encode the IPA tiebar.
* The numbers _1 to _6 are reserved diacritics as shorthand for language-specific tone numbers.