CLTS: Cross-Linguistic Transcription Systems

Contrary to what non-practitioners might expect, the systems of phonetic notation used by linguists are highly idiosyncratic. Not only do various linguistic subfields disagree on the specific symbols they use to denote the speech sounds of languages, but also in large databases of sound inventories considerable variation can be found. Inspired by recent efforts to link cross-linguistic data using reference catalogs - such as Glottolog or Concepticon - across different resources, we present initial efforts to link different phonetic notation systems to a catalog of speech sounds. Our cross-linguistic database of phonetic transcription systems (CLTS) currently registers 5 transcription systems and links to 15 different transcription datasets, in addition to mapping the sounds to 7 different sound class systems. You can find the most recent version of the database at https://clts.clld.org. The code, which allows you to use CLTS in your Python applications can be found at https://github.com/cldf-clts/pyclts.