Section 21 

21.1    Fundamentals
21.2    Pronunciation Basics
21.3    Simple Pronunciation
21.4    Diacritic Pronunciation
21.5    Instructional Content
21.6    Reference Sections with Syllabification and/or Pronunciations
21.7    Pronunciation and Summary Keys
21.8    Pronunciation Keys and the Special Symbols Page
21.9    Samples

21.1       Fundamentals

21.1.1     Various systems for representing the pronunciation of speech appear in textbooks. Publishers sometimes use unique systems, and it's not possible to include all of them in these guidelines. This section provides guidance for transcribing simple pronunciation and diacritics.

Simple Pronunciation: Uses font attributes and capitalization to indicate pronunciation and syllable stress.

Diacritics: A pronunciation system is considered to be diacritic when it contains letters of the Latin alphabet and any of the diacritic marks or special letters. Syllable stress usually is shown with stress marks.

See Section 22, Alphabetic References for additional information when pronunciation is used.

21.1.2     When transcribing phonetics, the exact sounds of a letter or letter combinations in a word, refer to IPA Braille (International Phonetic Alphabet, used in the study of linguistics) as the authorized BANA code for the representation of those sounds. The document can be found on the BANA website, at

21.1.3    Special Symbols and Transcriber's Notes

Special Symbols

Transcriber's Notes

21.2       Pronunciation Basics

21.2.1     These are the common guidelines for all pronunciation. Additional information unique to different types of pronunciation is discussed later in this section.

a.  Pronunciation cannot be preceded by contractions for to, into, and by.

b.  Pronunciation is not contracted.

c.  The letter indicator is not used with pronunciation.

d.  When pronunciation does not fit on a single line, it is divided only at a syllable break, and the - (36) hyphen is used.

21.2.2     Pronunciation Enclosure Symbols. Follow print for use of enclosure symbols. Ignore font attributes that may be applied to these symbols.

( )   7     (2356) Left and right parentheses

[     ,7   (6, 2356) Left square bracket

]     7'   (2356, 3) Right square bracket

/ \   (     Left slash and left backslash (used for either type of slash appearing before a letter, word, etc.)

/ \   )     Right slash and right backslash (used for either type of slash appearing after a letter, word, etc.)

| |   \     Left and right vertical bars

<    ;8   (56, 236) Left angle bracket

>    02   (356, 23) Right angle bracket

21.3       Simple Pronunciation

21.3.1     Syllable Division Symbols

a.  The regular hyphen - (36) is used for all syllable division symbols or spaces. This change is noted on the Transcriber's Notes page, or in a transcriber's note before the text. Sample:

A space indicating syllable division is replaced with a hyphen.

b.  The compound hyphen 33 (25, 25) is used to represent the hyphen between the component words of a hyphenated compound word. Include the compound hyphen on the Special Symbols page.

Example 21-1: Use of Hyphen and Compound Hyphen

21-01_example	Examples of pronunciation techniques: 1) enclosed in backslashes, with a bullet used as syllable break and hyphen between compound word; 2) no enclosure symbols, with a space used as syllable break


21.3.2     Syllable Stress. Syllable stress is indicated by all capitals, small capitals, font attributes such as italics, etc.

a.  The termination indicator ,' (6, 3) is inserted to indicate the end of double capitals or a font attribute within a pronunciation.

b.  A regular hyphen follows the termination indicator.

Example 21-2: Use of Termination Indicator & Regular Hyphen

21-02_example	Pronunciation stress indicated with all capitals; space used as syllable break


c.  The double capital indicator precedes the affected syllable when a text shows primary syllable stress with full capitalization.

Example 21-3: Primary Stress Indicated with Double Capitals

21-03_example	Pronunciation stress indicated with all capitals; hyphens used as syllable breaks; enclosed in parentheses


d.  The italic indicator precedes the affected syllable when a text shows primary syllable stress with a font attribute, e.g., italics, boldface, colored type, etc.

Example 21-4: Primary Stress Indicated with Italics

21-04_example	Pronunciation stress indicated with italics; spaces used as syllable breaks; enclosed in vertical bars


e.  Follow print when syllabification is not indicated. Keep in mind that all partial-word emphasis that is not in uppercase letters in print is in italics in braille.

Example 21-5: Stress without Syllabification

21-05_example	Pronunciation stress indicated with underlining; word is unspaced and no indication of syllable breaks; no enclosure symbols


21.3.3     Primary and Secondary Stress. Forms of capitalization and font attributes indicate primary and secondary syllable stress.

a.  Double capitals represent primary syllable stress.

b.  Italics represent secondary syllable stress.

c.  Explain how stress is indicated on the Transcriber's Notes page, or in a transcriber's note before the text. Sample:

Primary stress is indicated by double capitals and secondary stress is indicated by italics.

Example 21-6: Primary and Secondary Stress

21-06_example	Primary pronunciation stress indicated with all capitals, and secondary stress indicated with italics; hyphens used as syllable breaks; enclosed in angle brackets


21.4       Diacritic Pronunciation

21.4.1     Table of Diacritic Symbols

a.  Authors and publishers differ widely in the use of diacritic markings, not only using the same mark for different sounds, but also using different marks for the same sound. No attempt should be made to equate these print signs with certain sounds. Instead, it is important to match each print diacritic marking with the appropriate braille symbol or symbols.

b.  Use these basic concepts to devise a system for symbols not shown here.

c.  A diacritic symbol always is followed by the unspaced letter it affects; except the schwa, eng, and apostrophe, which represent the complete symbol.

Example 21-7: Table of Diacritic Symbols







Pronunciation enclosed in angle brackets: l, a, t, primary stress, apostrophe, n    ;8/lat3'n02

Acute accent

á é í ó ú

Pronunciation enclosed in slashes: i, bullet for syllable break, n, u with acute, f       (i3n>uf)

Bar, underbar, stroke

u with bar; k with underbar; th with underbar; b with stroke



Pronunciation without enclosure symbols: a, b, hyphen for syllable break, s, u with bar, r, d, primary stress    ab/s4urd


ă ĕ ĭ ŏ ŭ



Pronunciation without enclosure symbols: b, a with breve, t           b^at


â ê î ô û



Pronunciation enclosed in brackets: f, o with circumflex, r, s      ,7f6ors7'

Diaeresis, umlaut *

ä ö ü



Pronunciation enclosed in vertical bars: c, a with diaeresis, r          \c2ar\





Pronunciation without enclosure symbols: r, i, eng            ri$

Ligatures, tied bars

ae ligature; th ligature; sh with tied bar



Pronunciation without enclosure symbols: s, k, e, ch ligature        ske8ch


ā ē ī ō ū



Pronunciation without enclosure symbols: i, n, bullet for syllable break, k, l, i with macron, n, d, primary stress    in/kl_ind


a with overdot; u with open overdot



 Pronunciation enclosed in parentheses: a with overdot, hyphen for syllable break, d, y, o with diaeresis, primary stress     71a/dy2o7





Pronunciation without enclosure symbols: m, schwa, space for syllable break, s, h, e with macron, n, primary stress    m5/sh_en


empty cell



Pronunciation without enclosure symbols: f, i with macron, superscript schwa, r           f_i@5r


ã õ ñ



Pronunciation without enclosure symbols: i, z, hyphen for syllable break, l, e, primary stress, hyphen for syllable break, n with tilde, o    iz/le3"no

* Generally umlaut is a German, Dutch, Finnish, and Hungarian language term. The umlaut is used, like the tilde, in regular print. The diaeresis is used only in diacritic pronunciation guides.

d.  The following diacritics have been included historically in the code. As of this writing, it appears pronunciations use these symbols only rarely. They are provided here as a reference.

Example 21-8: Table of Rare Diacritic Symbols





Cedilla or ogonek

c with cedilla, a with ogonek



Grave accent

à è ì ò ù


u with underdot



21.4.2     Syllable Division Symbols

a.  Use the regular hyphen - (36) at a line break when pronunciations must be divided between lines.

b.  Use the diacritic hyphen 3 (25) for all other syllable breaks.

c.  Use the compound hyphen 33 (25, 25) at the line break when the hyphenated compound word splits between lines.

Example 21-9: Hyphenated Compound Word

21-09_example	Syllable break for hyphenated compound word is indicated with hyphen, and with a space between other syllables; two vowels have macrons; enclosed in parentheses

7in33l_ine sk_at3ing7

Example 21-10: Pronunciation Divided Between Lines

Pronunciation with diacritic symbols, and hyphens used as syllable breaks; no enclosure symbols

''' k2ard3_e3_o3p1ul3m5-

d.  Retain the space preceding partial pronunciation.

Example 21-11: Partial Pronunciation

Full word pronunciation with diacritic symbol, and space used as syllable break; full word pronunciation is followed by comma, space, and suffix preceded by a hyphen; suffix has diacritic symbol; full word and suffix enclosed in parentheses

72ak3tiv1 3t_av7

21.4.3     Syllable Stress.Different print signs may be used either before (high and low stress) or after syllables to indicate stress. No distinction is made in braille. Use the following symbols to represent syllable stress in diacritic pronunciation.

Primary syllable stress

Secondary syllable stress

(56) Tertiary syllable stress

a.  Stress marks always are placed unspaced before the syllable.

b.  Stress marks are included on the Special Symbols page if they are not included in a pronunciation key. Inform the reader that the stress marks are located before the stressed syllable.

c.  When a stress mark comes after a syllable in print, and the following syllable has no stress mark, insert a diacritic hyphen before that following syllable to distinguish it as a separate syllable.

d.  When all syllables of a word have stress marks, it is not necessary to insert diacritic hyphens anywhere in the word.

Example 21-12: Primary and Secondary Stress

Pronunciation with diacritic symbols, spaces for syllable breaks, and enclosed in parentheses; primary stress indicated after first syllable, and secondary stress after third syllable


Example 21-13: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Stress

Word with no diacritic symbols, hyphens for syllable breaks, enclosed in slashes; primary stress after first syllable, secondary stress after third syllable; tertiary stress after second syllable


Example 21-14: High (Primary) and Low (Secondary) Stress

Pronunciation with diacritic symbol, hyphens for syllable breaks, and enclosed in backslashes; high (primary) stress indicated before first syllable, and low (secondary) stress before third syllable


e.  Occasionally a mark appearing over a vowel in words of more than one syllable indicates stress. Note: In this case, the syllable division is shown only with the entry word, and the pronunciation provides the diacritics and stress. It is necessary to use information from the entry word and pronunciation to determine how to transcribe this notation correctly.

Example 21-15: Stress Over the First Vowel in the Syllable

Word shown with hyphen between syllables, no diacritic symbols, no stress marks; pronunciation enclosed in brackets has no syllable breaks, with schwa for pronunciation, and stress mark over first vowel in the second syllable

aback a-back ,75/bak7'

21.4.4     Font Attributes in Diacritic Notation. Ignore font attributes when syllables are marked with stress signs and emphasis.

Example 21-16: Ignore Emphasis when Stress Mark also Used

Pronunciation shown with diacritic symbols, small dot between syllables; second syllable is bold and followed by primary stress symbol; enclosed in angle brackets


21.4.5     Individual italic or capital letters may appear in diacritic notation.

a.  The braille italic or capital indicator must precede each affected letter or modified letter.

b.  The termination indicator is not used.

Example 21-17: Italics and Capitals with Diacritics

List of four words; 1) thumb: t and h are italicized; 2) thumb: t and h are italicized and ligatured; 3) THen: T and H are capital letters; 4) THen: T is capitalized with a crossbar and H is capitalized


21.4.6     Diacritic Marking of Two Letters. When a diacritic marking affects two separate letters as if they are a unit, the symbol representing this diacritic marking precedes the first letter only.

Example 21-18: Diacritic Marking of Two Letters

List of two words; 1) fool: macron over o o; 2) there: stroke through t h


21.4.7     Diacritic Marking of Ligatured Letters

a.  When only one of a pair of ligatured letters is marked, the diacritic symbol precedes the affected letter.

Example 21-19: Diacritic Ligatured Letters

virtue: macron over the u and a tiebar under t u


b.  When both ligatured letters are marked with a single diacritic, the diacritic symbol precedes the ligature symbol.

Example 21-20: Ligatured Letters with a Single Diacritic Mark

book: macron over ligatured o o


21.4.8     Diacritic Marking Above and Below a Single Letter

a.  If diacritic marks appear both above and below a letter, or both through and below a letter, the lowest mark is transcribed first. Both marks are transcribed before the letter.

Example 21-21: Diacritic Marks Above and Below Letter

c with cedilla below the c and acute accent above the c


b.  When two or more diacritic marks appear above a letter, the mark nearest the letter is transcribed first.

Example 21-22: Two Diacritic Marks Above Letter

fear: macron over the e, and circumflex over the macron


21.5       Instructional Content

21.5.1     Indication of freestanding diacritic symbols within text is handled differently than indication of such symbols when they appear within a pronunciation key.

a.  When an identified freestanding diacritic symbol, e.g., stress mark, or macron, appears within text, the symbol is preceded by dot 4.

Example 21-23: Freestanding Stress Marks within Text

Stress marks shown within an explanatory sentence

⠀⠀,! prim>y /ress m>k is @/ &! second>y
/ress m>k is @*4

b.  When an unidentified freestanding diacritic symbol appears within text, the symbol is preceded by @ (4) and an embedded transcriber's note is inserted after the symbol stating its name.

Example 21-24: Freestanding Macron in Text

Macron shown within an explanatory sentence

,! @_ ,'macron,' %[s ! l;g v[el s.d4

21.6       Reference Sections with Syllabification and/or Pronunciations

21.6.1     Entry words may or may not be syllabified and/or include pronunciation or stress.

A main entry word segment includes the word or phrase.

The definition segment includes the part of speech label, definition, descriptions, examples, etc.

a.  All entry words are contracted, even if print includes syllable divisions or stress.

b.  If any entry words show syllable divisions, stress, or pronunciation, then all entry words are transcribed contracted first, followed by a second uncontracted writing if the entry word has contractions.

c.  One blank cell separates the main entry word segment, including respelling and pronunciations, from the definition segment when the main entry word is followed by punctuation, capitalization, or enclosure symbols.

d.  Two blank cells separate the main entry word segment from the definition segment when it is not followed by punctuation, capitalization, or enclosure symbols.

e.  Two blank cells always separate a main entry phrase from the definition segment.

f.  The following table is linked to Examples 21-24 through 21-29 and illustrate various combinations found in print. These serve as a guide for other combinations not included here.




First Writing, Second Writing,
Third Writing

(1) Word




(2) Word



Contracted, Uncontracted

(3) Word



Contracted, Uncontracted and Syllabify with Stress

(4) Word



Contracted, Uncontracted and Syllabify, Pronunciation

(5) Word



Contracted, Uncontracted with Stress

(6) Phrase



Contracted, Uncontracted Phrase, Pronunciation

Example 21-25: (1) Not Syllabified, No Pronunciation

accused: bold; followed by part of speech and definition

a3us$⠀⠀adj4 blam$

Example 21-26: (2) Not Syllabified, Pronunciation

accused: bold; followed by pronunciation enclosed in parentheses and part of speech and definition

a3us$accused7uh-,,kuzd7adj4 blam$

Example 21-27: (3) Syllabified/Stress, No Pronunciation

accused: bold with hyphen between syllables and primary stress after second syllable; followed by part of speech and definition

a3us$ac/cused⠀⠀adj4 blam$

Example 21-28: (4) Syllabified, Pronunciation

accused: bold with hyphen between syllables; followed by pronunciation enclosed in parentheses, part of speech, and definition

a3us$ac-cused75/ky_uzd7adj4 blam$

Example 21-29: (5) Stressed/Syllabified, No Pronunciation

headpiece: HEAD is uppercase followed by hyphen and piece is lowercase; followed by definition starting with capital letter

h1dpiece,,head,'-piece,a helmet or cap
⠀⠀worn 6protect ! h1d4

Example 21-30: (6) Phrase not Syllabified, Pronunciation

Achilles heel: Achilles is capitalized, heel is lowercase; followed by pronunciation enclosed in parentheses and definition starting with capital letter

,a*illes heel,achilles heel
⠀⠀75/k^il3_ez h_el7,a p}son's w1k or
⠀⠀vuln}a# po9t4

21.7       Pronunciation and Summary Keys

21.7.1     Pronunciation keys appear in a variety of print layouts, and terms such as "pronunciation key" and "pronunciation table" are used interchangeably.

21.7.2     Summary keys are a reminder of the diacritics being used, and appear typically on each page or alternate pages in some alphabetic reference material.

See Sample 21-1: Pronunciation and Summary Keys on page 21-18.

See Sample 21-2: Pronunciation and Paragraph Summary on page 21-19.

See Sample 21-3: Pronunciation Key on Odd Pages on page 21-20.

21.7.3     Placement of Pronunciation Keys. Pronunciation keys are inserted before the alphabetic reference material. When an alphabetic reference is longer than a single volume:

a.  The pronunciation key is repeated in each volume of the continued alphabetic reference.

b.  The repeated pronunciation key is included in print page number order in the front matter pages.

c.  The print page number is included on this front matter page.

d.  The print page number of the transposed page with the repeated pronunciation key is included on the title page. For example:

Title page: Print pages 45-a86, 395

e.  The pronunciation key is inserted in the front matter pages of each volume when pronunciations appear throughout the text.

21.7.4     Format for Pronunciation Keys. The format for pronunciation keys varies, depending on how print sample words are shown.

a.  Follow print when categories are provided.

b.  Do not assign headings when none are shown in print.

c.  Entries in columned pronunciation keys are listed in 1-3, or 1-5, 3-5 for a nested list.

21.7.5     Example Words in Pronunciation Keys

a.  Do not use a letter indicator before a pronunciation symbol whether it is a single letter, a letter modified by a diacritic symbol, or a letter combination.

b.  Each pronunciation key entry begins in cell 1.

c.  Example words are uncontracted and are not repeated in contracted form.

Example 21-31: Example Words Without Emphasis

Pronunciation key in columns; each entry is followed by example words in regular type

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀,pronunci,n ,key
a back
ah father
ay day
ch nature
e less
i idea1 life

d.  Insert the word "in" between the identified letter and the example word when individual letters are emphasized within the example word.

e.  Omit font attributes for individual letters within example words.

f.  Indicate which letter is emphasized when a sample word has more than one of the identified letters.

Example 21-32: Transcribing Example Words With Emphasis

Part of pronunciation key with entry followed by example words with bold vowels; chart of braille format (pronunciation symbols: no letter indicator; identification: use letter indicator; example word)

a ;a 9 add
_a ;a 9 ace
6a ;a 9 care
_e f/ ;e 9 even
_o ;o 9 open

Example 21-33: Example Words with Emphasis and Stress

Pronunciation key in three columns; emphasis is on isolated letters in example words; primary and secondary stress marks are in the third column

a ;a 9 at1 bad
e f/ ;e 9 even
ng ng 9 long1 ;n 9 pink
oi oi 9 oil1 oy 9 toy
u ;u 9 up1 mud
zh si 9 vision1 ;z 9 seizure
/ 9dicates prim>y /ress
* 9dicates second>y /ress

g.  Dot numbers are provided in parentheses when a listed pronunciation symbol consists of only right-hand or only lower cell dots.

Example 21-34: Lower Cell Pronunciation Symbol

schwa followed by = (equals) and example

5 7#bf7 .k ;a 9 above

h.  Give the name of the print sign or a brief description of its shape when the diacritic symbol is standing alone and example words and identifications are not included.

Example 21-35: Diacritic Symbols without Identification

Three listed diacritic symbols (breve, diaeresis, macron)

^ 7#de7 breve
2 7#bc7 diaeresis
_ 7#def7 macron

See Sample 21-4: Pronunciation Key without Heading starting on page 21-22.

21.7.6     Summary Keys

a.  Omit the summary key when print includes a pronunciation key and a summary key.

b.  Include the summary key when it is the only type of key.

c.  Summary keys are inserted before the beginning of the dictionary or glossary and are not repeated.

d.  Follow print paragraph or list format.

Example 21-36: Summary Key with Diacritics

Summary key with bold isolated letters in example words; some bold letters also have diacritic symbols

a ;a 9 add1 _a ;a 9 ace1 6a ;a 9 care1
2a ;a 9 palm2 e ;e 9 end1 _e ;e 9 equal2
i ;i 9 it1 _i ;i 9 ice2 o ;o 9 odd1 _o
;o 9 open1 6o ;o 9 order2 u ;u 9 up1 6u
;u 9 burn2 5 7#bf7 .k ;a 9 above1 ;e
9 sicken1 ;i 9 possible1 ;o 9 melon1
;u 9 circus

21.8       Pronunciation Keys and the Special Symbols Page

21.8.1     Pronunciation key symbols are specialized and have specific requirements for their format.

a.  Diacritic symbols in a pronunciation key are not listed on the Special Symbols page.

b.  Additional symbols used and not included in the pronunciation key, e.g., enclosure symbols, stress marks, syllable division symbols, etc., are listed on the Special Symbols page.

21.8.2     When print doesn't include a pronunciation key create a Pronunciation Symbols cell-5 heading on the Special Symbols page. List the symbols in the following order: special enclosure symbols, syllable stress symbols, syllable division symbols, and pronunciation symbols (diacritic marks).

21.9       Samples

Sample 21-1: Pronunciation and Summary Keys, page 21-18

Sample 21-2: Pronunciation and Paragraph Summary, page

Sample 21-3: Pronunciation Key on Odd Pages, page 21-20

Sample 21-4: Pronunciation Key without Heading, page