Phthong Setup Instructions


Phthong is a tutorial for the phonemic transcription of English or other written languages that use the roman alphabet (French, Italian, Spanish, etc.). There are three types of exercises that Phthong presents to the user. The first two types presents a phonemically transcribed word and asks the user to enter the ordinary written language spelling in the box provided (one type allows the user to include accented characters in their answer, the other type is for English only). The third kind of exercise presents an written language word and asks the user to enter the phonemic equivalent by clicking on the phonemic symbols along the top of the screen. The JAVA applet Phthong and its associated html documents may be accessed from a server, or copied to a local hard drive and accessed locally. For this reason, the required files are provided in zipped form extractable by Windows, Macintosh and UNIX. Phthong was designed to allow flexibility in the choice of phonetic alphabet. The designers, recognizing the varied needs of instructors, provide the ability to structure the exercises to fit the needs of the students. This means that the instructor has to tailor both the exercises and the alphabet to fit the students' needs. What follows are instructions on how to set everything up.

Downloading Phthong

Click here to download zipped archive of files now.

Unzip the archived files. Open phthong.html with your browser to run Phthong. To alter the exercises or the phonetic alphabet follow the instructions below.

The Phthong IPA font

The design of this font is based on a font, called PALPhon, designed by Henry Rogers. The instructor can edit the exercises using the approriate key substitutions where necessary. See the chart below for the character mappings. Characters a-z require no conversion, and are left off the chart. The phonetic characters are mapped to upper case letters and the various non-alphabet symbols displayed on the standard keyboard.

Specifying the phonetic symbol set you wish to use

After deciding which symbols you wish to use, you must edit the file "phthongapplet.html". Notice that there are two lines in the document similar to:

    <param name=top_line_alphabet    value="uUoO\V CJwjpbtdkGfv">
    <param name=bottom_line_alphabet value="iIeE`a TDszh#$mnNlr">
These list the symbols that are to be displayed in the exercises in which the student is given a written language word and asked to enter the phonemic transcription. These two lines must include every phonetic symbol you wish to use. Notice that this list is in its translated ascii form. When actually displayed within Phthong, the symbols will appear using the proper phonetic font.

If Phthong is being setup for a language that includes accented characters you should include lines similiar to the following:

    <param name=top_line_accents        value="">
    <param name=bottom_line_accents     value="">
All accented characters that the language uses should be included, in both upper and lower case.

Required format of the exercise files

Below is a portion of an exercise file to give you an idea:
i	[N]	is the symbol for the velar nasal in SING.  It also occurs in words such as: WING, HANG, and WRINGER.
f	fang	f`N
f	think	TINk
f	length	lENkT
f	tongs	taNz
f	wrong	raN
a	scurit	sEk\rIte
t	sVN	sung
t	rINz	wrings
t	pl`Nk	plank
t	sINk	sink
t	lAN	long
t	flVN	flung
There are four types of cards or screenfuls of information, denoted by "i" (information), "f" (from phonemic), "a" (from phonemic, with the answer possibly including accented characters), and "t" (to phonemic). Each line represents a card. There are three fields on each line separated by tabs: card type (i, f, a, or t), answer, and cue. For information cards the second field is displayed on the screen using the phonetic font and is only big enough to display a bracketed symbol. The third field contains text which will be presented in a nicely formatted fashion below the symbol field. The symbol field can be left blank, but must then contain at least one space.

Note: Be absolutely sure that you use tabs to separate the fields, and that you save the exercise files in text only, or ascii form. Both tabs and line breaks are essential to delimit the cards. Notice in the example above that the information card, has all the text to be displayed within one line with no line breaks. It is only formatted when actually displayed.

Specify the list of exercises

You must edit phthongapplet.html to reflect the list of exercises you have chosen/created. Exercise filenames cannot contain spaces. Listed below is a sample:

<param name="exercise_1" value="Lesson_1">
<param name="exercise_2" value="Review_1">
<param name="exercise_3" value="Lesson_2">
<param name="exercise_4" value="Review_2">
<param name="exercise_5" value="Lesson_3">
<param name="exercise_6" value="Review_3">
Each variable name "exercise_x" must have a distinct sequential number assigned to it, as above. The exercise filename follows "value=" and is what is displayed on the screen.

Specify path to exercises

You may specify a subdirectory path where you have saved the exercises. As a default they should be in a subdirectory called "exercises". This would allow multiple courses to use the same program, with different sets of exercises. Listed below is the the format of this option:

<param name="exercisepath" value="exercises/">

Specifying different text for instructions, messages or buttons

You may optionally supply your own text for the various messages, or other text that is displayed by Phthong. You may supply any of the following lines, revising the value text where necessary. If you do not supply any one of the parameters below, an English default value is assigned.

<param name="toinstructions" value="Transcribe the following word phonemically.">
<param name="accentsinstructions" value="Write out the following word using ordinary French spelling. Select accented characters by clicking on them.">
<param name="frominstructions" value="Write out the following word using ordinary English spelling.">
<param name="exerciselisttitle" value="Exercise List">
<param name="toolongtext" value="Your answer is too long">
<param name="tooshorttext" value="Your answer is too short">
<param name="answererrstext" value="Your answer errs at char ">
<param name="correcttext" value="Correct!">
<param name="listenbuttontext" value="Listen to word">
<param name="answerbuttontext" value="Click to reveal the correct answer">
<param name="testbuttontext" value="Click to test your current answer">
<param name="nextbuttontext" value="Advance to the next exercise">
<param name="prevbuttontext" value="Return to the previous exercise">

Michael Stairs (Systems/Applications Programmer)
Computing in the Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Toronto
Henry Rogers
Department of Linguistics
University of Toronto