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Vowels (Microsoft.Speech)

This is a listing and cross reference of the vowel phones that are used by the three phonetic alphabets that Microsoft.Speech supports. See Phonetic Alphabet Reference (Microsoft.Speech).

The UPS labeling conventions for vowels were designed to make the phones more intuitive and maintain phonetic similarity across each class. The labels follow these conventions:

  • Cardinal or main vowels use single character labels

  • Non-cardinal vowels and common diphthongs use two characters

  • Maximum label length is three characters

  • Centralized vowel labels use X, as in AX, IX, UX

  • Checked vowel (usually must be followed by a consonant in a stressed syllable) labels use H, as in IH, UH

  • U or O signifies lip rounding, as in AU, AO, EU

The vowel chart below is based on the 1993 IPA vowel chart and displays each IPA vowel followed by its UPS equivalent. The cardinal vowels are marked in red, the checked vowels in blue, and the centralized vowels down the middle in green.

Vowel Chart

Figure 1. Correspondence Between IPA and UPS Vowels

There are four tables, each listing a different category of vowel phones:

The table columns contain the following information:

  • UPS. The phone label specified in Microsoft’s Universal Phone Set (UPS).

  • IPA. The phone label specified in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) phone set.

  • Unicode. The Unicode value from the IPA phone set.

  • SAPI ID. The Speech API (SAPI) phone ID, which in most cases is the Unicode value.

  • IPA Description. This column describes the features of the phone, such as place of articulation, manner of articulation, phonation type, and airstream mechanism. See the Glossary of Phonetic Terms (Microsoft.Speech) for more information about the features of phones.

  • ipaASCII. The equivalent phone in ipaASCII phone set for reference.

  • X-SAMPA. The equivalent phone in X-SAMPA for reference.

  • Example. A word that uses the phone and illustrates its sound.

  • Language. The language of the example word.

Monophthong Vowel Phones

Monophthong (literally “one sound” or “one tone”) vowels are those whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not glide up or down towards a new position of articulation.

UPS

IPA

Unicode

SAPI ID

IPA Description

IpaASCII

X-SAMPA

Example

Language

I

i

U+0069

0069

{hgh,fnt,unr,vwl}

I

i

feel

English

Y

y

U+0079

0079

{hgh,fnt,rnd,vwl}

Y

y

du

French

IX

ɨ

U+0268

0268

{hgh,cnt,unr,vwl}

i"

1

YX

ʉ

U+0289

0289

{hgh,cnt,rnd,vwl}

U"

}

UU

ɯ

U+026F

026F

{hgh,bck,unr,vwl}

u-

M

U

u

U+0075

0075

{hgh,bck,rnd,vwl}

u

u

too

English

IH

ɪ

U+026A

026A

{smh,fnt,unr,vwl}

I

I

fill

English

YH

ʏ

U+028F

028F

{smh,fnt,rnd,vwl}

I.

Y

hübsch

German

UH

ʊ

U+028ª

028ª

{smh,bck,rnd,vwl}

U

U

book

English

E

e

U+0065

0065

{umd,fnt,urd,vwl}

e

e

ses

French

EU

ø

U+00F8

00F8

{umd,fnt,rnd,vwl}

Y

2

blöd

German

EX

ɘ

U+0258

0258

{umd,cnt,urd,vwl}

@<umd>

@\

OX

ɵ

U+0275

0275

{umd,cnt,rnd,vwl}

8

OU

ɤ

U+0264

0264

{umd,bck,urd,vwl}

o-

7

O

o

U+006F

006F

{umd,bck,rnd,vwl}

o

o

go

English

AX

ə

U+0259

0259

{mid,cnt,unr,vwl}

@

@

ago

English

AX rho

ɚ

U+025ª

0259 02DE

{mid,cnt,rho,vwl}

R

forensic

English

EH

ɛ

U+025B

025B

{lmd,fnt,unr,vwl}

E

E

pet

English

OE

œ

U+0153

0153

{lmd,fnt,rnd,vwl}

W

9

plötzlich

German

ER

ɜ

U+025C

025C

{lmd,cnt,unr,vwl}

V"

3

bird

UK English

ER rho

ɝ

U+025D

025C 02DE

{lmd,cnt,unr,rho,vwl}

@.

bird

US English

UR

ɞ

U+025E

025E

{lmd,cnt,rnd,vwl}

O"

3\

AH

ʌ

U+028C

028C

{lmd,bck,unr,vwl}

V

V

cut

English

AO

ɔ

U+0254

0254

{lmd,bck,rnd,vwl}

O

O

dog

English

AE

æ

U+00E6

00E6

{sml,fnt,unr,vwl}

&

{

cat

English

AEX

ɐ

U+0250

0250

{sml,cnt,unr,vwl}

6

Besser

German

A

a

U+0061

0061

{low,fnt,unr,vwl}

a

a

valle

Spanish

AOE

ɶ

U+0276

0276

{low,fnt,rnd,vwl}

&.

&

AA

ɑ

U+0251

0251

{low,bck,unr,vwl}

A

A

father

English

Q

ɒ

U+0252

0252

{low,bck,rnd,vwl}

A.

Q

hot

English

Diphthong Vowel Phones

In addition to monophthongs, many languages contain diphthongs or even triphthongs. Diphthong (literally "two sounds" or "two tones") vowels are those that change quality during their pronunciation, or "glide", with a smooth movement of the tongue from one articulation to another, as in the English words eye, boy, and cow.

Diphthongs and triphthongs can be represented in UPS as vowel compounds, using the + symbol. However to make lexicons more readable, UPS also contains phones for common diphthongs. The table below shows both the compounding of two phones using the + symbol and the resultant UPS phone.

UPS Compound

UPS

IPA

SAPI ID

X-SAMPA

Example

Language

Example

Language

E + I

EI

e.ɪ

006503610069

eI

late

English

late

English

A + UH

AU

ɑ.ʊ

00610361028A

aU

foul

English

Haus

German

AO + I

OI

ɔ.ɪ

025403610069

OI

toy

English

Kreuz

German

A + I

AI

ɑ.ɪ

006103610069

ai

bite

English

Eis

German

I + AX

IYX

i.ə

006903610259

i:6

Tier

German

fear

English

Y + AX

UYX

y.ə

007903610259

y:6

Tür

German

EH + AX

EHX

ɛ.ə

025B03610259

E6

Berg

German

stairs

English

U + AX

UWX

u.ə

007503610259

u:6

Kur

German

lure

English

O + AX

OWX

o.ə

006F03610259

o:6

Ohr

German

boa

English

AO + AX

AOX

ɔ.ə

025403610259

O6

dort

German

four

English

German Diphthong Vowels

The German language has several more centering diphthongs that must be represented as phone compounds and do not have explicit UPS phones assigned to them. The ‘lng’ diacritic is included for phonetic completeness.

UPS Compound

IPA

X-SAMPA

Example

Language

IH + AX

ɪ.ə

I6

Wirt

German

YH + AX

ʏ.ə

Y6

Türke

German

EY lng + AX

e.ə

e:6

schwer

German

EH lng + AX

ɛ:.ə

E:6

Bär

German

EU lng + AX

ø.ə

2:6

Föhr

German

OE + AX

œ.ə

96

Wörter

German

A lng + AX

a.ə

a:6

Haar

German

A + AX

a.ə

a6

hart

German

UH + AX

ʊ.ə

U6

kurz

German

Nasal Vowel Phones

UPS contains phones for four nasal vowels. These are shown in the following table with French examples. The SAPI phone ID for these phones is formed from the phone IDs of the primary vowel and the nasality diacritic. The UPS phone is therefore equivalent to the compound shown in the first column.

Compound

UPS

SAPI ID

X-SAMPA

Example

Language

E nas

EN

00650303

e~

vin

French

A nas

AN

00610303

a~

vent

French

O nas

ON

006F0303

o~

bon

French

OE nas

OEN

01530303

9~

brun

French

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