Materials using the phonetic alphabet

An unusual item from the Indiana State Library’s original print newspaper collection is Di Anglo Sacsun (ISLN Newspaper Room), a newspaper published in Boston from 1846-1848. Our holdings include a scattering of newspaper issues from the publication period of this phonetically-spelled newspaper. The paper states its mission as being “Devoted to the diffusion of knowledge and news, through the medium of phonotypy, or the true system of spelling words: that is, just as they are pronounced.” It was thought that material printed in phonetic spelling would be easier for non-native English speakers, or those who learned the English language by rote, to master.

This newspaper is written using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) which utilizes syllables that stand for different phonetic sounds that are common to all spoken languages.

On the left and right sides of the newspaper’s masthead are printed keys to pronunciation.

The International Phonetic Association (International Phonetic Association) is devoted to representing and promoting the International Phonetic Alphabet and championing its use by linguists, speech-language pathologists, classically trained singers, actors, and others.

Another item in the state library’s collection that utilizes the IPA is the Primer of Phonetics by Henry Sweet (ISLM 414 S974P).

This book, published in 1906, serves as an in-depth phonetics pronunciation key.

Pages from the Primer of Phonetics showing English sounds.

We also have a phonetic translation of the Book of Psalms from the Bible, De Buc ov Samz From de Oturizd Verzun:  Printed Foneticali in Paraleliz’mz (ISLM BS 1422 1849).

Although the phonetic alphabet did not become a popular spelling format for newspapers, it is used in dictionaries with pronunciation keys and serves as a standardized approach to language learning.

This blog post was written by Leigh Anne Johnson, Indiana Division librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

Searching for Death Notices or Obituaries in Indiana Newspapers

Searching newspapers for death notices or obituaries in Indiana newspapers can sometimes be challenging. In many cases, Indiana newspapers did not contain death information on the average citizen until well after the turn of the 20th Century.  Conversely, other titles contained birth, death and marriage announcements in the 1850’s or before. For example, the Indianapolis Locomotive, a humor and local gossip-based newspaper published death notices such as this one found in the August 25, 1849 edition:

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Libraries, Scholarly Journals and Star Wars: A One-on-One with Justin Davis

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A One-On-One Conversation with ISL Librarian Justin Davis
By: Ryan Brown

After an extensive tour of the Indiana State Library, Indiana Division Librarian Justin Davis was gracious enough to sit down with me for a brief interview. My mind was blown by the amount of historical items located at the ISL. There were numerous books, newspapers, maps, directories, and photographs positioned throughout the multi-level building. Everywhere I turned, Justin was showing me another item from the collection. I highly recommend that all Hoosiers come and visit the ISL — you will NOT be disappointed. Continue reading

Conservation & Digitization of the Indiana Gazette

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This gallery contains 3 photos.

As a conservator, I have had many people ask me why conservation and preservation programs are funded “since we have digitization”. While it is a common misconception that digitization is “forever”, many people also do not realize that there are … Continue reading