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The history of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and the International Phonetic Association(IPA) began in the late

19th century, with the formation of the association and its declaration of creating a phonetic system used for transcribing the sounds of spoken language.

The association was formed by French and British language teachers led by Paul Passy, and established in Paris in 1886. The first published alphabet appears in Passy (1888). The association based their alphabet upon the Romic alphabet of Henry Sweet (1880 or 18811971), which in turn was based on the Phonotypic Alphabet of Isaac Pitman and Alexander John Ellis (Kelly 1981).

The alphabet has undergone a number of revisions during its history, with the 1932 version used for over half a century, until the IPA Kiel Convention of 1989. Minor adjustments have been made since then, in 1993, 1996, and 2005.

Originally the symbols had different phonetic values from language to language.

However, over time it was decided to restrict each symbol to a single pronunciation.
In 1887, the first draft of this standardized alphabet was published.

Note: the early version of the IPA was presented as a list (with examples from European languages) instead of the now common articulatory chart used today.

By September 1888, a set of six policy statements had been formulated by the International Phonetic Association (IPA) which would govern all future development of the alphabet.
They were:

1.Each sign should have its own distinctive sound.

2. The same sign should be used for the same sound across all languages.

3. As many ordinary Roman letters should be used as possible, and the usage of new letters should be minimal. 4. International usage should decide the sound of each sign.

5. The look of the new letters should suggest the sound that they represent. 6. Diacritics should be avoided when possible, as they are difficult to write and hard to see.(A diacritic /dakrtk/) also
diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign is a mark added to a sound to change the sound value of the letter to which it is added)

During the 1890s, the alphabet was expanded to cover sounds of Arabic and other non-European languages which did not easily fit the Latin alphabet.

A second round of expansion occurred in 1932. This was a major revision, used with little change for over half a century. In 1976 several redundant symbols were withdrawn. Some of the new symbols were ordinary Roman letters.

International Phonetic Association. (1949).The principles of the International Phonetic Association, London: University College, Department of Phonetics. International Phonetic Association. (1989). Report on the 1989 Kiel convention. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 19 (2), 67-80. Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet.(1999). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.