Forum:Pronunciation respelling

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Forums: Yew Grove > Pronunciation respelling
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This thread was archived on 5 February 2020 by Liquidhelium.

I'd really like to set a standard for pronunciation respelling transcriptions. In wikis, these are most often found immediately after the head words in an article's opening lead like so:

Seattle (/siˈætəl/ see-AT-əl) is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States.

Wikipedia (/ˌwɪkᵻˈpiːdiə/ wik-ih-PEE-dee-ə or /ˌwɪkiˈpiːdiə/ wik-ee-PEE-dee-ə) is a multilingual online encyclopedia created...

Ardougne (/ɑːrˈdɔɪn/ arr-DOYN) is a city in the realm of Kandarin which was under the rule of...

There have been one or two discussions on the matter some years ago. I'm not going rehash some of the responses and argue for the usefulness of pronunciation transcriptions—beyond offering up a few common mispronunciation examples (/ɑrˈdoʊgnə/ ar-DOHG-nuh, /ˈreɪnər/ RAY-nur). What I will do is suggest and, if encouraged, create a system detailing:

  • The precise pronunciation respelling systems to use
  • Where to source pronunciations
  • When and how to provide pronunciation transcriptions
  • What templates we can adapt from Wikipedia

(TL:DR; at the end).

Which pronunciation respelling systems can we use?

One look at this page will tell you that a ridiculous amount of respelling systems are available. Luckily, we can narrow them down to two complementary options.

The first Wikipedia calls IPA1, which is an IPA-based pronunciation respelling system providing compromises for pronunciation differences among broad varieties of spoken English. One of the major sticking points in the archived forum topics above is the fact that different dialects often have different phonetic pronunciations. Take, for example, two speakers—one from London and the other from California—each saying the word "car." You'd expect the Londoner, in his non-rhotic dialect, to pronounce it [kʰɑː] whereas our Californian would pronounce it as [kʰɑɹ] or even [kʰɑɻ]. The beautiful thing about IPA1 is that it "represents diaphonemes, abstractions of speech sounds that accommodate General American, Received Pronunciation (RP) and to a large extent also Australian, Canadian, Irish (including Ulster), New Zealand, Scottish, South African and Welsh pronunciations." As such, it's the standard IPA-based respelling system used in English Wikipedia.

The other is a more colloquial, in-house respelling system that often accompanies Wikipedia's IPA transcriptions. Like IPA1, it's designed to be "translatable" into general English dialects. Unlike IPA1, it's almost written entirely in the Latin alphabet, and so is understandable to those unfamiliar with IPA.

When used together, the end result looks something like what's between the parentheses:

Aikhana (/aɪˈkɑnə/, eye-KAH-nuh)

Where can we source "official pronunciations?"

Official videos and in-game voiceovers are the best bet.

"But wait," you may say, "Didn't Jagex provide a pronunciation guide on their official wiki?"

They did! Unfortunately, their transcriptions aren't very consistent internally and externally. Beyond that, they tend to use odd conventions missing from major respelling systems and often don't make much phonemic sense. As such, I suggest that we ignore Jagex' written pronunciation transcriptions. In the case that no spoken examples of the subject in question may be found, then turning to those guides may be used as a last resort.

If the word or phrase's pronunciation differs among multiple sources, then each variant may be provided similar to the "Greenwich Village" example here.

When and how should we provide pronunciation transcriptions?

Some amount of common sense is required here—for example, it would pretty much be a waste of time to provide a key for the maple shortbow. Proper nouns not found in standard English are where transcriptions really shine. Guthix, Zemouregal, and Ardougne are a few examples. I'm sure there are a few general categories that're escaping my mind right now.

Generally, transcriptions should not be provided if a source (see above) can't be found. Audio clips of the source(s) may be included in the transcription.

Regarding styling, we have the privilege of not really having to deal with any foreign, non-Anglicized words in Runescape lore. As such, we will generally be able to use the format provided above for most subjects. Outliers may be addressed in the style guide.

What templates can we provide?

For the most part, English Wikipedia relies on two templates for their pronunciation transcriptions: {{IPAc-en}} (a subset of {{IPA}}) and {{Respell}}. Some others, such as {{Needs IPA}} and {{Pronunciation needed}} are used as well.


  • We can use IPA1 and Wikipedia's colloquial respelling key in tandem
  • Sources would come from official audio (podcasts, videos, voiceovers)
  • Proper nouns (and more?), standard (/IPA/ Colloquial) format with minor exceptions, audio optional
  • Templates can be directly adapted from Wikipedia

Next steps

That was a lot, so props to you if you read all the way through this! I've already started listing out transcriptions to add/revamp, so, with your support, the next steps would be for me to:

  1. Adapt the aforementioned Wikipedia templates onto RSWiki
  2. Condense these guidelines in the style guide and template docs
  3. Begin adding in pronunciation transcriptions through the new templates

Helpful Links

Thanks all! Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 02:31, 13 January 2020 (UTC)


Support - Great thread. Seems like a good idea if you're willing to put in the effort, and this is the right approach for things where we definitely want pronunciation info. The only area that I think could use more discussion is about what sort of pages are not worth having pronunciation on, since there could be wildly different interpretations of what constitutes an obvious pronunciation. ʞooɔ 07:24, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Thanks for the support! I definitely agree that the distinction between pronunciation/no pronunciation could use work. For now, I'll tentatively suggest that any terms that are entirely comprised of words found in standard English dictionaries should not receive keys. On the flipside, words that exist solely within Runescape lore would be candidates. For example, Thigat or Utuku would be eligible for transcriptions whereas Spinebeam and Tangle gum wouldn't be. We can extend this to say that, in the case of articles like Imcando pickaxe, only the "Imcando" part of the title would receive a transcription like so:

The Imcando pickaxe ( /ɪmˈkɑːndoʊ/ im-KAHN-doh) is a gilded dragon pickaxe combined...

One potential exception that comes to mind are Miscellania and Etceteria--I don't think they're spelled that way in English, though, so pronunciation keys for the two might be fine! Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 18:42, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Support all - Although sources can also be from textual media (Twitter, forums, etc) that explain the pronunciation of certain words. I can't think of any pages that aren't proper nouns that would need pronunciation recommendations, but if there are I'd want to restrict it only to RuneScape-only words (eg, mjolnir wouldn't have a pronunciation guideline).

Off-topic: This is a really nice and well-proposed thread. It's great to see a new user join the community and contribute an amazing idea. Welcome! HaidroH rune.pngEagle feather 3.pngCandle (blood red).png 1XqyDNM.png Crystal triskelion fragment 3.pngHazelmere's signet ring.png 08:11, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Totally agree that Runescape-only words should receive transcriptions. The only qualm I have about textual sources is that Jagex' pronunciation guides sometimes aren't consistent and can be misunderstood--but then again, so can audio sources. I'll try to set a standard for analyzing sources in the style/pronunciation guide. And thank you so much, I'm glad to be here! Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 18:42, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Support - Per Cook and Haidro, the only thing I'm worried about is how consistent pronunciation is, I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of things with multiple pronunciations used, and that there may be a good amount of debate on whether something is a valid pronunciation or not Seers headband 2 chathead.png Elessar2 (talk) 08:37, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Neutral - per Elessar2, I really liekt he idea, however with the community so vast and game so old, it could pose some difficulty with finding what pronunciation is correct. Rhysy4056 (talk) 09:33, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Support - Elessar essentially echoes my sentiments exactly; Love the overall idea and you putting it on the Ardougne Article a week ago has been met with little backlash and no revert (so realistically you could have gone ahead with this for a lot of the commonly mispronounced words and I don't think you would have had any issues). One thing that would make this change go down a little nicer is some sort of priority/bias towards certain source types or by recency, for twofold reasons: one to instantly determine which is the "correct" pronunciation when multiple sources conflict with one another, i.e. we can either say something like In-game Voice Lines > Explicit Jagex Transcript Guide > JMod Tweet Pronunciation or just go by most recent example is the most correct. The second point is to ensure that articles reflect the current creative choices Jagex are making; names are powerful things and in terms of high-fantasy like Runescape, there are occasionally names that have explicit subtext or meaning which may be lost if pronounced incorrectly. Awowogei (A-woo-woo-gee) doesn't have quite the same impact and connotations if Jagex suddenly decide that the pronunciation is "Aw-owo-gay" bc he's a gay-furry as revealed in Monkey Madness 2: Welcome to the Jungle. Choose OptionTalk-to MitcheII Slayer of Imps (skill: 2,695). . . . . . . . . . real life easter egg, :wowee: don't tell anyone though! Talk-to MitcheII Slayer of Imps (skill: 2,695) 10:13, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Great point about the priority--I think that combining the two criteria would be best, in that (1) voiceovers take precedence over (2) Jagex transcripts, which in turn take precedence over (3) individual JMod pronunciation guides--after sorting by those sources, the most recent source in the "best category" would be chosen. I'm sure that there's more categories to throw in there, so I'll take a closer look at Jagex' website/social media when writing out the pronunciation source guide! Not to mention taking a closer look at the transcript for osrsw:Monkey_Madness_II... Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 18:42, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

Support - Very happy someone is finally proposing something to do with this jayden 00:50, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

Support, but... - Wikipedia's templates often use the actual IPA character in the source code of the page to call the template with. While this is not the biggest of deals, it does mean continually copypasting characters into the template call, which I don't think is ideal. Instead, I propose we use a system such as X-SAMPA, where every IPA character can be represented by one or more typeable (at least on standard English QWERTY keyboards) characters. User talk:ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of User talk:ThePsionic ThePsionic Special:Contributions/ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of Special:Contributions/ThePsionic 12:59, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

{{IPAc-en}} appears to already support a subset of SAMPA. Wikipedia's Template:x2i seems like it could be a good place to start borrowing from if we want to expand it further. Assuming you mean the template would convert X-SAMPA to IPA (rather than displaying X-SAMPA on the page to users), that is. -Hourglass (2011 Hallowe'en event) detail.png I Am Me Talk III The Spark.png- 09:43, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
Since all IPA-based pronunciations will be in the dialect-neutral English variant, I think {{IPAc-en}}'s plain ol' English SAMPA would fit our needs. That being said, I'll definitely keep X-SAMPA in mind, especially if we'll try to bring this over to the Portuguese wiki or expand the system like you said. Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 20:11, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
Yeah, that'll work. Didn't know that x2i existed. After seeing Aikhana's project page I'm completely sold and I can't wait to start work on this. User talk:ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of User talk:ThePsionic ThePsionic Special:Contributions/ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of Special:Contributions/ThePsionic 10:51, 19 January 2020 (UTC)

Support - I'm really glad for a well thought out pronouciation guide proposal. I do have concerns but they have already been voiced by others above, mostly re: consistent pronounciation,. I do have a slight worry about how to account for how different accents pronounce words but its probably not major enough to worry about. Superiosity the WikianQuick chat button.png : Sup 00:13, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

I was also worried about the dialect issue, but found out that although the number and quality of phonemes differ among English dialects, they can be generalized very naturally à la wikipedia:Help:IPA/English. Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 20:11, 18 January 2020 (UTC)

Support - We could definitely use some IPA around these parts, IPA1 seems like a decent enough compromise for english-y words. Having a well-defined respelling key would also be a better idea than just doing whatever we're currently doing, and I do kind of like the Wikipedia one, even though ɬɛ.ˈtə.a (I think that's right?) doesn't quite fit into it. -Hourglass (2011 Hallowe'en event) detail.png I Am Me Talk III The Spark.png- 09:43, 18 January 2020 (UTC)

Don't get me started about Lletya! Jagex' official pronunciation guide says

LLE-to-ah (the LL indicates a slight rolling of the sound at the base of the tongue, as if you were to attempt to clear your throat quietly and politely)

Shoutout to all the Welsh folks clearing their throats politely, I guess? Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 20:11, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
Honestly, that's a decent (if a bit silly) way to describe /χ/. There only problem is that while /χ/ is used in welsh, "lletya" begins with an entirely different sound. -Hourglass (2011 Hallowe'en event) detail.png I Am Me Talk III The Spark.png- 21:15, 18 January 2020 (UTC)

Update - Just wanted to let yall know that I've created a project page here! A lot of it is redundant with this page, but I'm filling it in with more details and concrete steps. Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 20:11, 18 January 2020 (UTC)

I checked the phonemes data in the module you copied over from Wikipedia, and while mostly applicable, there will definitely be some sounds (mostly when relating to Elven words) that we'll need to add to support them. I figure we just add those as we need them, though. User talk:ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of User talk:ThePsionic ThePsionic Special:Contributions/ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of Special:Contributions/ThePsionic 13:35, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Also also, since this wiki assumes UK English, we have to make sure that we use the proper pronounciation for British English (eg. /ɪmˈkɑːndoʊ/ instead of /ɪmˈkændoʊ/). User talk:ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of User talk:ThePsionic ThePsionic Special:Contributions/ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of Special:Contributions/ThePsionic 13:48, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
How rude of you to assume Americans say the latter. Badassiel 15:58, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Good point about the Elven words, although I'm a little conflicted on whether or not we'd provide pronunciations for Welsh/other real-world languages. When I really think about it, the spirit of the pronunciation transcriptions is to give provide a guide for pronouncing terms colloquially, the way they're pronounced by JMods & in quests. A good compromise might be to follow the format here, which would call for adapting {{IPA-all}} Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 20:59, 20 January 2020 (UTC)
Somewhat fair, but come on, have you ever met anyone who pronounced Prifddinas correctly and isn't Gaz? If the point is to add pronunciation to in-game names, Welsh words as proper nouns should be on the top of your list, not an afterthought. User talk:ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of User talk:ThePsionic ThePsionic Special:Contributions/ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of Special:Contributions/ThePsionic 07:48, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Haha, you've got me there. I'll add {{IPA-all}} to the template list. This is making me curious to see if there're any terms from other languages that we can spell phonetically. Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 22:40, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Fun fact: Help:IPA/English does not list the /ɹ/ sound, as in the first sound of RuneScape. User talk:ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of User talk:ThePsionic ThePsionic Special:Contributions/ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of Special:Contributions/ThePsionic 08:38, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
A strange thing about IPA1 is the use of <r> instead of <ɹ>--I guess it's to account for the wide range (and weird outliers) of English rhotics by providing a very general rhotic symbol Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 22:40, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

Support - Largely because I know a lot of my mispronunciations come from the fact that I keep misreading names (LLetya as LLeyta, etc). Badassiel 15:58, 20 January 2020 (UTC)

You're not alone, I still read "Run Escape" in my head Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 20:59, 20 January 2020 (UTC)

Comment - Thoughts an also adding audio of the pronunciations? Seers headband 2 chathead.png Elessar2 (talk) 08:57, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

There's several tools to automate IPA to audio (such as IPA Reader and Phoneme Synthesis) which can serve as a placeholder until an actual human being decides to record pronunciations. User talk:ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of User talk:ThePsionic ThePsionic Special:Contributions/ThePsionic.png: RS3 Inventory image of Special:Contributions/ThePsionic 09:00, 21 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes! That's going to be a big focus after copying all the templates over. A really convenient part of {{IPA-en}} is the ability to add inline audio clips (which will require adapting {{Audio}} as well). Also big up to TP for pointing out those tools, those will be super helpful Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 22:48, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

Update 1 - The project is now "recruiting!" If you'd like to help out, add your signature to the team list so that we can start delegating work. We're currently on the first step of the project timeline: adapting templates and modules. If you'd like to help out with a different aspect of the project, just sign up and let me know on Discord/on the talk page~ Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 00:50, 23 January 2020 (UTC)

Support - Thok (/fʌk/, fuck) Meeeeerds msg 22:15, 28 January 2020 (UTC)

Closed - We came to a consensus in favor of the intent of the project (found here) a few weeks ago with 10 Supports and 1 Neutral, so I think we can close shop on this thread. Some things to keep in mind as mentioned above:

  • Discuss when and when not to include pronunciations
  • Consider the "validity" of sources and differences among multiple official pronunciations
  • Allow for X-SAMPA conversion
  • Consider providing narrow transcriptions for terms derived from non-English languages (e.g. Welsh)
  • Discuss audio templates (and extensions)

Thanks for the input, all Guthix balance flask (4).pngAikhana TalkQuest.png 22:25, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

Closed - Per Forum:Non-sysops closing Yew Grove threads, a sysop has to officially close this. The closure statement above looks fine. --LiquidTalk 22:52, 5 February 2020 (UTC)