InTraSAL: words tier

In InTraSAL, the text of utterances is represented on two tiers: the words tier, which represents the text according to the phonological form of the pronunciation, and can be considered a phonemic transcription, and the English tier, which can be considered a semi-morphological gloss.

"Phonemic" means that person-, environment-, or situation-specific variation will not be reflected in the transcription, i.e. free variation and environmentally-conditioned allophony should be suppressed. So, whether a person pronounces the Bengali word পড়তে 'to read' as [poɽt̪e], [poɹt̪e], or [pot̪ːe], it should always be transcribed poṛte (=poRte).

Furthermore, "transcription" rather than "transliteration" means that the silent letters and other idiosyncrasies of spelling will not be represented here. Rather, the pronunciation alone should guide transcription. So, the Bengali word স্বপ্ন 'dream' should be transcribed or šôpno (=SOpno) as it is pronounced [ʃɔpno], not swapna or sbôpnô.

Transcription of consonants

The transcription of consonants is fairly straightforward, with only a few peculiarities:

  • Lower-case tthd, and dh are used for dental sounds (দন্ত্য বর্ণ) /t̪ t̪ʰ d̪ d̪ʱ/, whereas upper-case TThD, and Dh are used for "cerebral" sounds (মূর্ধন্য বর্ণ). Cerebral sounds can be pronounced as alveolar /t tʰ d dʱ/ or retroflex /ʈ ʈʰ ɖ ɖʱ/ depending on the speaker, the register, and the phonological environment. Note that Bengali has no "cerebral" nasal or fricative in its phoneme inventory, even though the letters ণ and ষ continue to be called মূর্ধন্য ণ and মূর্ধন্য ষ.
  • Lower-case is used for /s/ as in আস্তে /ast̪e/ aste 'softly' whereas upper-case S is used for /ʃ/ as in আসতে /aʃt̪e/ aSte 'to come'. Some speakers (especially those in West and North Bengal) do not consistently distinguish these sounds.
  • Lower-case is used for /ɹ/ as in করা /kɔɹa/ kOra 'doing' whereas upper-case R is used for /ɽ/ as in কড়া /kɔɽa/ kORa 'intense'. Some speakers (especially those in East Bengal) do not consistently distinguish these sounds.
  • Lower-case is used for ন, ণ, and ঞ /n/ as in আন্টি /anti~anʈi/ anTi 'auntie' whereas upper-case is used for ঙ and ং /ŋ/, as in আংটি /aŋti~aŋʈi/ aGTi 'ring'. Note that the combination /ŋɡ/ as in বঙ্গ /bɔŋɡo/ bOGgo has both the and the g.
  • Lower-case is used to represent aspiration of a stop or affricate, while upper-case is used for the consonant হ [h] on its own. This can help distinguish single aspirated consonant ঝ /dʑʱ/ jh in মাঝে /madʑʱe/ majhe from the sequence of two consonants জহ /dʑh/ jH in রাজহাঁস /ɹadʑhãʃ/ rajHaMS 'swan'.
  • Not all speakers distinguish /pʰ/ ph from /f/ f, or /bʱ/ bh from /v/ v, but the contrast can arise especially in unscripted speech, where borrowings are frequent. It is up to the discretion of the transcriber whether to show these distinctions.
in IPA 
(Khan 2010)
k k কাশ kaS
'wild sugarcane'
kʰ, x kh খাস khaS
'you eat'
ɡ g গাস gaS
'you sing'
ɡʱ gh ঘাস ghaS
ঙ, ং ŋ G (ṅ) বাংলা baGla
চাল cal
'rice grains'
ছাল chal
জ, য dʑ~ɟʑ~dʒ~dz~ɟ
জাল jal
ঝাল jhal
t~ʈ T (ṭ) টাক Tak
'bald spot'
tʰ~ʈʰ Th (ṭh) ঠাকুর Thakur
d~ɖ D (ḍ) ডাক Dak
dʰ~ɖʱ Dh (ḍh) ঢাক Dhak
t তাক tak
t̪ʰ th থাক thak
'let it be'
d দাগ dag
d̪ʱ dh ধাক্কা dhakka
ন, ণ, ঞ n n নাক nak
p~ɸ p পাটি paTi
'grass mat'

ফাটি phaTi, faTi
'I burst'
b b বাটি baTi

ভাটি bhaTi
m m মাটি maTi
ɹ~ɾ r হ্রাস raS
l l লাশ laS
'dead body'
শ, স, ষ ʃ S (š) শ্বাস SaS
শ, স, ষ, চ, ছ s s সাফ saf
হ, ঃ h~V̤ H হাঁস HaMS
ড়, ঢ় ɽ~ɹ~ɾ R (ṛ) বড় bORo

Transcription of vowels, diphthongs, and nasalization

The transcription of vowels, diphthongs, and nasalization can differ depending on the availability of special diacritics.

  • Lower mid vowels অ্যা /ɛ~æ/ ê (=E) and অ /ɔ/ ô (=O) use upper-case letters.
  • Nasalization ঁ /Ṽ/, is represented by upper-case M following the nasalized vowel if ṃ is unavailable.
  • Note that nasalization can be transcribed even when nasalization is not perceived in the recording. This is up to the discretion of the transcriber, if he/she wants to convey that the vowel is underlyingly nasalized in the speaker's phonology.
  • Letters y w ŷ (=Y) ŵ (=W) represent off-glides of i u e o respectively within diphthongs.
Pronunciation(s) in IPA
(following Khan 2010)
ɔ ô (=O) দশ dOS
a a দাস daS
ই, ঈ i i দিস diS
উ, ঊ u u

দু'শ duSo
'two hundred'

e e দেশ deS
অ্যা, এ ɛ~æ ê (E) দেখ্‌ dEkh
ও, অ o o দোষ doS
'blame', 'guilt'
অয় ɔe̯ ôŷ (=OY) হয় HOY
অও ɔo̯ ôŵ (=OW)

হও HOW

আই aj ay পাই pay
আয় ae̯ aŷ (=aY)

পায় paY

আউ aw aw পাউরুটি pawruTi
'(Western) bread'
আও ao̯ aW (aŵ) পাও paW
ইউ iw iw পিউ piw
'Piu' (name)
উই uj uy পুঁইশাক puyMSak
'Malabar spinach'
এই ej ey নেই ney
এউ ew ew ঢেউ Dhew
ওই, ঐ, অই oj oy বই boy
ওয় oe̯ oY (oŷ) শোয় SoY
ওউ, ঔ, অউ ow ow বউ bow
অ্যায়, এয় ɛe̯~æe̯ êŷ (=EY) দেয় dEY
অ্যা, এও ɛo̯~æo̯ êŵ (=EW) নেও nEW
  ̃ ṃ (=M) হাঁস HaMS

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