Midwest Phonetic Alphabet for Modern American English

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Midwest Script is a constructed phonetic alphabet for American English.

Edit: Thanks to Simon Ager of Omniglot.com for including Midwest in his directory of constructed scripts!

Midwest Phonetic Alphabet IPA-ish chart

This page is under re-construction! Full alphabet, examples, and more information coming soon! Thanks!

If I had any skill or experience in creating fonts, I would do so and spare you this imperfect handwriting, but as it is, please forgive the handwritten glyphs and samples crudely embedded as images.

Script Facts

Number of glyphs: 39
Sources / inspiration:
Latin, Old English Runes, Asiatic Abugidas, extended Latin used for linguistic transcription.
Mission: 
To encode the author’s dialect of English as phonetically as possible, using an alphabet that looks more natural than synthetic or academic.
Use: I use the script to study phonetics in literary composition. Also to write arcane personal notes that ideally make friends and family suspect I am quietly channeling the weird communiqué of occult demons.

From James Joyce's "The Dead"
A few of the best sentences written in the English language, from the climax of James Joyce’s “The Dead.” Hover over for transliteration.

Midwest Alphabet

Letter Name Use
01-eilif eilif Medial sound in uh-oh; perhaps replaces terminal t in ancient, faint, and similar words. For this reason, the glottal stop may not be as alien to American English as textbooks suspect.
02-car car /k/
03-god god /g/
04-tool tool /t/ — A strict t. Not the mere tap in the middle of water, but the end consonant of watt.
05-door door /d/ — A strict d. Like the tool glyph, this is not used for the alveolar tap.
06-pine pine /p/
07-birch birch /b/
08-ghost ghost Silent. Represents an ancestral /k/,/g/,or/gh/. Most frequently occurs in words ending in -ly (from an Old English -lig) or -y. Also used in thought and similar words for the silent -gh-.
09-thrush thrush Alveolar tap. Medial consonant in water. The reason why latter and ladder sound alike in casual pronunciation.
10-shoal shoal /š/ — Consonant in she.
11-genre genre /ž/ — Medial consonant in measure. Approximately the consonant in French je.
12-sol sol /s/ — Straightforward sibilant s of standard speech.
13-zorillo zorillo /z/
14-thunder thorn Initial consonant of thunder\ but not of the, an unvoiced dental fricative.
15-thalet thalet Initial consonant of the. Voiced dental fricative.
16-fee fee /f/
17-vow vow /v/
18-eng Eng Final consonant of any gerund form –ing when pronounced precisely.
19-engvoc Eng vocalic Initial phoneme of English when pronounced casually.
20-need need /n/
21-needvoc need vocalic Final phoneme of any gerund form –ing when pronounced casually, or of button. May be initial sound in understand or interest when pronounced quickly.
22-mount mount /m/
23-mountvoc mount vocalic Final vowel of bottom, initial vowel of immortal when pronounced casually.
24-human human Breath noise when preceding /j/, as in human. Unvoiced palatial aspirant.
25-universe universe Palatial approximant consonant as in you, universe, human, etc.
26-eel eel Vowel in eat, wheel, and second sound in the diphthong of alive.
27-ride ride Consonant beginning road.
28-earth earth Initial vowel of earth (there is no ea-), and final vowel of water (there is no –e-).

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