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Benjamin Franklin's phonetic alphabet was Benjamin Franklin's proposal for a spelling reform of the English language. It used many of the same letters, but changed some of them and what sounds they represented. It was one of the earliest proposed spelling reforms to the English language.



Long vowels were represented by double letters e.g. aa = [aː] and ii = [iː]. Only one accented letter appears in the alphabet: ê, which represents the a in mane and lane.

Franklin also created an [oa] ligature, to represent the sound of [ɔ] in IPA, also known as an open-mid back rounded vowel.


Consonant combinations are used to represent such sounds as the ch in chew and the j in jaw.

The most influential of Franklin's six new characters appears to have been the letter for "ng". This shape was incorporated into IPA as ŋ. This was borrowed from Alexander Gill the elder[1].


  1. ^ The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, David Crystal

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