Phoneme Cards

I came up with these to give some elementary school students I was tutoring a hands-on craft project related to language. The top of the cards display IPA characters, and in the lower-right hand corners are the equivalent symbols commonly used in dictionary pronunciation keys. To design these, I went to the downtown San Francisco public library, read through some of the larger dictionaries, and came up with a list of words and related IPA spellings.

At some point it would be fun to play games with these, maybe deal each player a hand of phonemes, see who can make words, form teams, arrange words into sentences and stories…

fonim kardz
Cards displaying each of the phonemes that comprise spoken English.
Note – the above phonetic representation should read more like “fəʊniːm kɑːdz”.

These were printed with a laser-printer on 80lb cover stock, 8.5 × 11 sheets cut into 8 pieces each. For the IPA characters, I used the Gentium font. If you’d like to make some of these yourself, download this pdf file. Do note this is a beta version which contains some errors. I’d like to correct these and re-master the cards, but haven’t been able to make time for it. If you have any suggestions, feel free send me an email.

I did the layout a while ago using proprietary software on an old iMac. I’d like to revisit this using something like the ConTeXt open source typesetting system to provide a format that could be more easily edited, emailed, shared in Git repositories, etc. This would make it easier to modify, improve, correct, change example words, illustrate using a language other than English, or re-purpose the card set entirely.

Here’s a text file that’s a step towards a document from which the cards could be typeset: phonemecards_0.4.2.txt

The language and design of these cards is released under the CC-by license.