Phonetic Spelling Tips

Vlad Soare

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
134
56
Bucharest, Romania
Hello,

The iPhone allows you to attach a phonetic label to the first and/or last name of a contact, to help Siri pronounce it correctly (as well as to identify it correctly when you pronounce it).
But how do you write that? Is there an official list of letters and symbols that you can use for this purpose? I couldn't find any.

For instance, I have a contact whose name is Karol. Siri pronounces the a like in "cat", whereas the correct pronounciation would be like in "father". I tried to spell it Kahrol, but it didn't work - the pronounciation didn't change.
Another contact is called Dragoș. By default Siri pronounces it "Drago", with the a like in "cat" and the final o like in "low". The s with a cedilla is ignored.
The correct pronounciation is Dragosh, with the a like in "father" and the o like in "pot".
The sh seems to do the trick - Siri can now pronounce the s with the cedilla correctly. But I don't know how to define the vowels.

Where can I find the rules for defining these phonetic names?

Thank you.
 

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,252
7,784
Here(-ish)
Hello,

The iPhone allows you to attach a phonetic label to the first and/or last name of a contact, to help Siri pronounce it correctly (as well as to identify it correctly when you pronounce it).
But how do you write that? Is there an official list of letters and symbols that you can use for this purpose? I couldn't find any.

For instance, I have a contact whose name is Karol. Siri pronounces the a like in "cat", whereas the correct pronounciation would be like in "father". I tried to spell it Kahrol, but it didn't work - the pronounciation didn't change.
Another contact is called Dragoș. By default Siri pronounces it "Drago", with the a like in "cat" and the final o like in "low". The s with a cedilla is ignored.
The correct pronounciation is Dragosh, with the a like in "father" and the o like in "pot".
The sh seems to do the trick - Siri can now pronounce the s with the cedilla correctly. But I don't know how to define the vowels.

Where can I find the rules for defining these phonetic names?

Thank you.
After Siri says the name, tell it that it pronounced the name incorrectly. It’ll then give you a prompt with several choices of pronunciations, and after listening, choose the one that is most accurate.

F9E7B8F1-251A-4654-8611-A2F039D1102A.png
 

Vlad Soare

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
134
56
Bucharest, Romania
I've tried that a few times. The options it suggests are always like this:
- one that's the same as the default one
- two or three which are completely silly
Granted, English isn't my native language, so Siri may not necessarily be to blame for it.
That's why I'd like to enter the phonetic spelling manually. If only I knew how... :D
 

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,252
7,784
Here(-ish)
I've tried that a few times. The options it suggests are always like this:
- one that's the same as the default one
- two or three which are completely silly
Granted, English isn't my native language, so Siri may not necessarily be to blame for it.
That's why I'd like to enter the phonetic spelling manually. If only I knew how... :D
Inteleg.

Does this help?
https://www.iphonelife.com/content/how-to-add-phonetic-spelling-to-iphone-contacts

By the way, for English not being your first language, yours is quite excellent!
 
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Vlad Soare

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
134
56
Bucharest, Romania
Thank you. :)
Those instructions cover the procedure for adding a phonetic name, but they do not tell me how that phonetic name should be spelled. There's this step: "You can now enter the phonetic pronunciation, then tap Done in the upper right corner". OK, I can enter it. But what should I enter? Which combination of letters signifies an A pronounced like in "father" as opposed to one pronounced like in "cat"? :oops:
 

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,252
7,784
Here(-ish)
Thank you. :)
Those instructions cover the procedure for adding a phonetic name, but they do not tell me how that phonetic name should be spelled. There's this step: "You can now enter the phonetic pronunciation, then tap Done in the upper right corner". OK, I can enter it. But what should I enter? Which combination of letters signifies an A pronounced like in "father" as opposed to one pronounced like in "cat"? :oops:
759C6766-E13D-4C5A-AD00-498B8821B95E.png
 

matrix07

macrumors 603
Jun 24, 2010
5,014
1,512
Thank you. :)
Those instructions cover the procedure for adding a phonetic name, but they do not tell me how that phonetic name should be spelled. There's this step: "You can now enter the phonetic pronunciation, then tap Done in the upper right corner". OK, I can enter it. But what should I enter? Which combination of letters signifies an A pronounced like in "father" as opposed to one pronounced like in "cat"? :oops:
Instead of typing, cant you just dictate it instead?
 

Vlad Soare

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
134
56
Bucharest, Romania
Tried that. It spells the dictated word in Romanian, the way the contact name itself is already spelled (which should come as no surprise, considering that the dictation in Romanian works very well). So Siri continues to pronounce it as if I had entered no phonetic label at all. :)
There's one thing I haven't tried yet - to install a keyboard with IPA symbols (I understand there are a few such keyboards in the AppStore), and to use it for entering the phonetic label.

On the other hand, I noticed something while doing all these tests, namely that even though Siri pronounces the names incorrectly, it still seems to identify the contacts correctly when I pronounce their names in Romanian. So I may not need any phonetic labels after all. All I want is to be able to make hands-free phone calls while driving. If it identifies the contacts correctly despite my Romanian pronounciation, that's all I really need.
My car's native voice recognition system is quite rudimentary and gets the names wrong most of the times, but Siri does an unexpectedly good job. Too bad it can't dial some numbers, but that's a different story.
 
Last edited:

ZEEN0j

macrumors 68000
Sep 29, 2014
1,511
677
I’ve had the same issue with some names. Trial and error for me. Played with the spelling until I got it just right.