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.
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.
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.