The initials "IPA" are used for both the International Phonetic Alphabet and for the International Phonetic Association which created it. It should usually be clear from context which one is being referred to.

The International Phonetic Association

The International Phonetic Association was founded in France in 1886. Most of its original members were language teachers interested in better ways of teaching pronunciation. (In fact, until 1897, its name was the Phonetic Teachers' Assocation.)

The association published the first version of its alphabet in 1888.

The International Phonetic Alphabet

The guiding principles for the association as it chose the symbols for its alphabet and decided how they should be used were:

The International Phonetic Alphabet has been revised a number of times since 1888, most recently at the association's 1993 convention in Kiel, with a few minor changes approved in 1996.

The IPA has become widely used:


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