Online IPA keyboards

Tomasz P. Szynalski, an English-Polish translator, has created TypeIt, a useful website for typing phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Text can be entered in a range of fonts and with special characters, marks and glyphs from other languages.

/’vɛri ‘hændi ɪn’diːd, ɘnd fʌn tɘ juːz/

I don’t know when it was developed – recently, I think. There are many websites with charts, explanations and audio files of IPA, but few that are designed for immediate online transcription. I like Richard Ishida’s, Weston Ruter’s, Paolo Mairano’s and this Phonemic Chart too, but it’s good to have options. Another: i2Speak.

Thanks to Lauren Hall-Lew, who brought TypeIt to my attention on Twitter.

[Note: I've edited this post slightly to add a couple of IPA tools that were mentioned in the comments.]

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21 Responses to Online IPA keyboards

  1. dw says:

    Don’t forget the Full IPA keyboard on the same site, which is far more useful.

  2. Excellent. The next stage will be a program that converts text into IPA symbols in a specified language as you type.

  3. Stan says:

    dw: Thank you. Since there are three links to the full English keyboard on the page I linked to, I decided it would be obvious enough. But I’m glad it has come up in the comments.

    Barrie: Yes, I’ve been waiting for that too. Something like Google’s nifty Translate tool would be wonderful.

  4. johnwcowan says:

    I’ll again mention Weston Ruter’s, which has the advantage of being a proper IPA chart with standard layout.

  5. Amy Stoller says:

    TypeIt has been around for several years. I prefer the SIL-IPA keyboard and the Macintosh Character Palette, and even PopChar, but I’ve no doubt it can come in handy, especially for anyone who only needs to access IPA characters every once in a while.

  6. dw says:


    That one’s nice, but does it have keyboard shortcuts? They are the feature I love about TypeIt: for example, CTRL + A gives ɑ, and typing CTRL again (while holding down A) gives æ.

  7. Stan says:

    John: Much obliged. I’ve added it to the post, for the benefit of visitors who don’t venture into the comments.

    Amy: Thanks for the tips. I imagine most people who regularly use IPA own a customised keyboard or have installed a preferred program. These online tools are handy for occasional users, as you say.

    dw: I’m fond of keyboard shortcuts, myself. Easier on the wrists!

  8. [...] dalla tabella sottostante), formare la sequenza voluta e quindi copiarla e incollarla altrove [via Online IPA keyboards, con vari link a risorse [...]

  9. Should your /ɪn’dɪːd/ be /ɪn’diːd/ ? (And I’m pretty sure the ! shouldn’t be inside the transcription unless there’s a new fad in Ireland for ending every sentence with an alveolar click.) :-)

    I’ve always been vaguely aware of the existence of online IPA keyboards but never really looked into them, relying instead on tools such as offline Unicode maps. There’s also an online tool I use to identify unfamiliar characters in website text. But I can see how TypeIt could be useful when writing comments on linguistic blogs and so forth.

    I wouldn’t bother with the English-only page, though, because it’s obviously based on only one or two standard dialects of English. For example, in Australia it’s better to use /ʉ/ rather than /u/. Do you run into any similar limitations when transcribing Irish English from the English IPA page on TypeIt?

  10. Postscript – one drawback of TypeIt is that annoying prompt asking if you’re sure you want to leave the page because the text might not be saved. Well, of course it isn’t!

  11. Stan says:

    Dragon: The prompt is a mixed blessing. On rare occasions it might be of use to people who didn’t intend leaving the page, but I think most of the time it’s more likely to interfere with their expectations. Gmail does something similar sometimes, but then it also saves as you go along.

    Thanks for the corrections; I’ve fixed them. The exclamation mark was an ill-advised afterthought! Regarding Irish English, one sound missing from the basic English keypad is /ʔ/, which sometimes occurs at the end of words like wha’ (i.e., what).

  12. marinka2011 says:

    Very interesting! Never heard about this website. Useful info. So soon all we have to do is say something and it will be written for us. Hopefully in perfect English. :)

  13. Stan says:

    Tara: Thank you – that’s an attractive one, too. The removable hints are a nice touch.

    Marinka: This would be extremely handy! Handier still: if we had only to think it.

  14. Neal Whitman says:

    Thanks for pointing these out. They’re all going on my Resources for Linguists page soon. The phonemic chart that Tara linked to as well. But hey, where’s the [k] in TypeIt?

  15. Stan says:

    You’re welcome, Neal. Where’s the [k]? That’s a good question.

  16. [...] blog post from Stan Carey, this one linking to no less (uh, fewer?) than four websites that allow you to easily type and display IPA characters. I’ve put all the stuff I got from Stan first to get it out of the way. Seriously, you should [...]

  17. Stan says:

    Neal: Tomasz told me by email that he designed the TypeIt toolbar to be as uncluttered as possible, so he omitted characters that appear on standard keyboards.

  18. [...] Carey wrote a blog post about online IPA keyboards and linked to several examples. I like this one best, despite the bug whereby it sometimes inserts [...]

  19. Tomasz says:

    I am the author of TypeIt. I’d just like to report that the annoying “Are you sure?” prompt is no longer displayed when you exit TypeIt. Instead, TypeIt will now attempt to save the stuff you typed in your browser so that it’s restored when you go back to TypeIt.

  20. Stan says:

    Nice work, Tomasz, and thanks for stopping by to let us know.

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