Tabouli the animate salad (tabouli) wrote in linguaphiles,
Tabouli the animate salad
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Pronunciation guides

I'm writing phonetic versions of lists of names for people to read out again. With a bit of crafty Googling, I can usually identify the origin of a name, but once I've done that I usually have to scour the internet for websites which tell me how letters are pronounced in specific languages. For some languages there are great ones available (lists of consonants, consonant clusters, vowels and dipthongs used in the language with clear indications of their pronunciation using the IPA, an English-based explanation or an audio sample); for others I'm struggling to find anything clear, helpful and (hopefully) accurate. Things get especially tricky when I'm trying to figure out the pronunciation of a romanised name from a language written in non-roman script, or a romanised name which has had the diacritics removed, which means I need to figure out if and what they are to write my guide.

Can anyone recommend good sources of this sort of information? The guides in the front of my travellers' phrasebook for Turkish (Rough Guide) and my mini Czech-English dictionary (Český Klub) have proved invaluable, for example. Should I rush out and buy a whole swag of these? Any thoughts on which publishers do good ones (preferably suited to a speaker of RP English rather than Standard American English, as I speak Australian English)? Little Lonely Planet phrasebooks are widely available here, for example, but if there's something better out there I'd be happy to order them online if necessary, as I now have two universities sending me giant lists of names to do four or five times a year.

The languages I'd be looking at include (for languages listed below with non-roman scripts, I'd need a guide to the pronunciation of typical romanised spellings):

- Dutch
- Norwegian
- Swedish
- Lithuanian
- Hungarian
- Lebanese Arabic
- Somali
- Hebrew
- Romanian
- Serbian
- Croatian
- Russian
- Polish
- Tagalog
- Malayalam
- Urdu
- Mongolian

...which should give you an idea of (a) how multicultural the students are at Australian universities are these days, and (b) how complicated the task is!
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