The Uralic Phonetic Alphabet (UPA) or Finno-Ugric transcription system is a phonetic transcription or notational system used predominantly for the transcription and reconstruction of Uralic languages. It was first published in 1901 by Eemil Nestor Setälä, a Finnish linguist.
Unlike the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) notational standard which concentrates on accurately and uniquely transcribing the phonemes of a language, the UPA is also used to denote the functional categories of a language, as well as their phonetic quality. For this reason, it is not possible to automatically convert a UPA transcription into an IPA one.
Unlike the IPA, which is usually transcribed with upright characters, the UPA is usually transcribed with italic characters. Although many of its characters are also used in standard Latin, Greek, Cyrillic orthographies or the IPA, and are found in the corresponding Unicode blocks, many are not. These have been encoded in the Phonetic Extensions and Phonetic Extensions Supplement blocks. Font support for these extended characters is very rare; Code2000 and Fixedsys Excelsior are two fonts that do support them. A professional font containing them is Andron Mega; it supports UPA characters in Regular and Italics.
Other vowels are denoted using diacritics.
The UPA also uses three characters to denote a vowel of uncertain quality:
If a distinction between close-mid vowels and open-mid vowels is needed, the IPA symbols for the open-mid basic front illabial and back labial vowels, ⟨ɛ⟩ and ⟨ɔ⟩, can be used. However, in keeping with the principles of the UPA, the open-mid front labial and back illabial vowels are still transcribed with the addition of diacritics, as ⟨ɔ̈⟩ and ⟨ɛ̮⟩.
The following table describes the consonants of the UPA. Note that the UPA does not distinguish voiced fricatives from approximants, and does not contain many characters of the IPA such as [ɹ].
|Prepalatal (palatalised or anterior)||ḱ||ɢ́||ǵ||χ́||j||ᴎ́||ŋ́|
When there are two or more consonants in a column, the rightmost one is voiced; when there are three, the centre one is partially devoiced.
ˀ denotes a voiced velar spirant.
ᴤ denotes a voiced laryngeal spirant.
|ä||U+0308||-||umlaut above||Palatal (fully front) vowel|
|ạ||U+0323||dot below||Palatal (fronted) variant of vowel|
|a̮||U+032E||breve below||Velar (fully back or backed) vowel or variant of vowel|
|ā||U+0304||macron||Long form of a vowel; also by duplication|
|a͔||U+0354||left arrowhead below||Retracted form of a vowel or consonant|
|a͕||U+0355||right arrowhead below||Advanced form of a vowel or consonant|
|a̭||U+032D||circumflex below||Raised variant of a vowel|
|a̬||U+032C||caron below||Lowered variant of a vowel|
|ă||U+0306||breve||Shorter or reduced vowel|
|a̯||U+032F||inverted breve below||Non-syllabic, glide or semi-vowel|
|ʀ||U+0280||small capital||Unvoiced or partially voiced version of voiced sound|
|ⁱ||superscripted character||Very short sound|
|ₔ||subscripted character||Coarticulation due to surrounding sounds|
|ᴞ||U+1D1E||Rotated (180°) or sideways (−90°)||Reduced form of sound|
A major difference is that IPA notation distinguishes between phonetic and phonemic transcription by enclosing the transcription between either brackets [aɪ pʰiː eɪ] or slashes /ai pi e/. UPA instead used italics for the former and half bold font for the latter.
For phonetic transcription, numerous small differences from IPA come into relevance:
|Close-mid back rounded vowel||o̭||[o]|
|Mid back rounded vowel||o||[o̞] or [ɔ̝]|
|Open-mid back rounded vowel||o̬ or å̭||[ɔ]|
|Voiced dental fricative||δ||[ð]|
|Voiceless alveolar lateral approximant||ʟ||[l̥]|
|Velar lateral approximant||л||[ʟ]|
|Voiceless alveolar nasal||ɴ||[n̥]|
This section contains some sample words from both Uralic languages and English (using Australian English) along with comparisons to the IPA transcription.
Combining Diacritical Marks Supplement is a Unicode block containing combining characters for the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet, Medievalist notations, and German dialectology (Teuthonista). It is an extension of the diacritic characters found in the Combining Diacritical Marks block.K
K (named kay ) is the eleventh letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. In English, the letter K usually represents the voiceless velar plosive.L
L (named el ) is the twelfth letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet, used in words such as lagoon, lantern, and less.Latin Extended-C
Latin Extended-C is a Unicode block containing Latin characters for Uighur New Script, the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet, Shona, and Claudian Latin.Latin epsilon
Latin epsilon or open e (majuscule: Ɛ, minuscule: ɛ) is a letter of the extended Latin alphabet, based on the lowercase of the Greek letter epsilon (ε). It occurs in the orthographies of many Niger–Congo languages, such as Ewe, Akan, and Lingala, and is included in the African reference alphabet.
In the Berber Latin alphabet currently used in Algerian Berber school books, and before that proposed by the French institute INALCO, it represents a voiced pharyngeal fricative [ʕ]. Some authors use ƹayin ⟨ƹ⟩ instead; both letters are similar in shape with the Arabic ʿayn ⟨ع⟩.
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) uses various forms of the Latin epsilon:
U+025B ɛ LATIN SMALL LETTER OPEN E represents the open-mid front unrounded vowel
U+025D ɝ LATIN SMALL LETTER REVERSED OPEN E WITH HOOK represents the rhotacized open-mid central vowel
U+025E ɞ LATIN SMALL LETTER CLOSED REVERSED OPEN E represents the open-mid central rounded vowel (shown as U+029A ʚ LATIN SMALL LETTER CLOSED OPEN E on the 1993 IPA chart)The Uralic Phonetic Alphabet uses various forms of the Latin epsilon:
U+1D08 ᴈ LATIN SMALL LETTER TURNED OPEN E
U+1D4B ᵋ MODIFIER LETTER SMALL OPEN E
U+1D4C ᵌ MODIFIER LETTER SMALL TURNED OPEN EM
M (named em ) is the thirteenth letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.N
N (named en ) is the fourteenth letter in the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.Ou (ligature)
Ou (Majuscule: Ȣ, Minuscule: ȣ) is a ligature of the Greek letters ο and υ which was frequently used in Byzantine manuscripts. This ligature is still seen today on icon artwork in Greek Orthodox churches, and sometimes in graffiti or other forms of informal or decorative writing.
The ligature is now mostly used in the context of the Latin alphabet, interpreted as a ligature of Latin o and u: for example, in the orthography of the Wyandot language and of Algonquian languages of Western Abenaki to represent /ɔ̃/, and in Algonquin to represent /w/, /o/ or /oː/. Today, in Western Abenaki, "ô" is preferred, and in Algonquin, "w" is preferred.
An ou ligature much different in form (with the two letters side-by-side as in most ligatures, as opposed to one on top of the other) was used in the Initial Teaching Alphabet.
The ligature, in both majuscule and minuscule forms, is occasionally used to represent minuscule of "У" in the Romanian Transitional Alphabet, as the glyph for monograph Uk (ꙋ) is rarely available in font sets.
The same ligature was also used in the context of Cyrillic; see Uk (Cyrillic).
The Uralic Phonetic Alphabet uses U+1D15 ᴕ LATIN LETTER SMALL CAPITAL OU and U+1D3D ᴽ MODIFIER LETTER CAPITAL OUto indicate a back vowel of unknown quality.P
P (named pee ) is the 16th letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.Phonetic Extensions
Phonetic Extensions is a Unicode block containing phonetic characters used in the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet, Old Irish phonetic notation, the Oxford English dictionary and American dictionaries, and Americanist and Russianist phonetic notations. Its character set is continued in the following Unicode block, Phonetic Extensions Supplement.T
T (named tee ) is the 20th letter in the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. It is derived from the Semitic letter taw via the Greek letter tau. In English, it is most commonly used to represent the voiceless alveolar plosive, a sound it also denotes in the International Phonetic Alphabet. It is the most commonly used consonant and the second most common letter in English-language texts.T-diaeresis
ẗ is a modified letter of the Latin alphabet, derived from the letter T with a diaeresis on it. It is used in the ISO 233 transliteration of Arabic to represent tāʼ marbūṭa (ﺓ, ﺔ), and also in the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet to represent a tenuis interdental stop [t̪͆].
Only the minuscule form exists in Unicode as a distinct character. The majuscule must be formed with a combination of T and a combining diacritic (T̈), and because of this may not display correctly when using some fonts or systems.Tie (typography)
The tie is a symbol in the shape of an arc similar to a large breve, used in Greek, phonetic alphabets, and Z notation. It can be used between two characters with spacing as punctuation, or non-spacing as a diacritic. It can be above or below, and reversed. Its forms are called tie, double breve, enotikon or papyrological hyphen, ligature tie, and undertie.Turned A
Turned A (capital: Ɐ, lowercase: ɐ, math symbol ∀) is a symbol based upon the letter A.
Lowercase ɐ (in two story form) is used in the International Phonetic Alphabet to identify the near-open central vowel. This is not to be confused with the turned alpha or turned script a, ɒ, which is used in the IPA for the open back rounded vowel.
It was used in the 18th century by Edward Lhuyd and William Pryce as phonetic character for the Cornish language. In their books, both Ɐ and ɐ have been used. It was used in the 19th century by Charles Sanders Peirce as a logical symbol for 'un-American' ("unamerican").The symbol ∀ has the same shape as a capital turned A, sans-serif. It is used to represent universal quantification in predicate logic. When it appears in a formula together with a predicate variable, they are referred to as a universal quantifier. In traffic engineering it is used to represent flow, the number of units (vehicles) passing a point in a unit of time.
U+1D44 ᵄ MODIFIER LETTER SMALL TURNED A is used in the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet.Uralic
Uralic is an adjective which refers to a group of peoples and their culture. It relates to the Ural region of Russia.
Proto-Uralic homeland hypotheses
Uralic Phonetic Alphabet
Uralic–Yukaghir languagesUvular lateral approximant
The uvular lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʟ̠⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is L\_-. ⟨ʟ̠⟩ may also represent the pharyngeal or epiglottal lateral approximant, a physically possible sound that is not attested in any language. The letter for a back-velar in the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet, ⟨ᴫ⟩, may also be used.Æ
Æ (minuscule: æ) is a grapheme named æsc or ash, formed from the letters a and e, originally a ligature representing the Latin diphthong ae. It has been promoted to the full status of a letter in the alphabets of some languages, including Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese. As a letter of the Old English Latin alphabet, it was called æsc ("ash tree") after the Anglo-Saxon futhorc rune ᚫ ( ) which it transliterated; its traditional name in English is still ash . It was also used in Old Swedish before being changed to ä. In recent times, it is also used to represent a short "a" sound (as in "cat"). Variants include Ǣ ǣ Ǽ ǽ æ̀.Š
The grapheme Š, š (S with caron) is used in various contexts representing the sh sound usually denoting the voiceless postalveolar fricative or similar voiceless retroflex fricative /ʂ/. In the International Phonetic Alphabet this sound is denoted with ʃ or ʂ, but the lowercase š is used in the Americanist phonetic notation, as well as in the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet. It represents the same sound as the Turkic letter Ş and the Romanian letter Ș (S-comma).
For use in computer systems, Š and š are at Unicode codepoints U+0160 and U+0161 (Alt 0138 and Alt 0154 for input), respectively. In HTML code, the entities Š and š can also be used to represent the characters.Ǯ
Ǯ (minuscule: ǯ) is a modified letter of the Latin alphabet, formed from ezh (ʒ) with the addition of a caron.
In the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet, it represents the sound [d͡ʒ].
Following its UPA usage, it was adopted in the Skolt Sami alphabet for the same value. It typically appears doubled, where it represents a geminate /dd͡ʒ/. e.g. viǯǯâd "to fetch". The letter is also used in Laz, where it represents [t͡sʼ]. Until 2007 it was also used by Olonets Karelian language.