Hello all. Just a new little linguist helping clean things up around here.
FUQs (Frequently Unasked Questions, because no one has talked to me yet!)
How do you choose which pronunciations to add to a page?
Typically, I add pronunciations meeting one or more of the following criteria:
- The pronunciation is given officially by Jagex in text form.
- The pronunciation is commonly used in the community, especially among prominent members like mods, content creators with large followings, and among large populations of everyday players.
- The pronunciation is heavily implied by the game (for example, it's implied that Nieve, Steve, Lieve, Clieve, Eve, Pieve and Hieve all rhyme).
I see multiple pronunciations for one subject. Why? Shouldn't there be just one "official" pronunciation?
Pronunciation is never uniform in language with speech communities as large as English, and it can be impossible to nail down one "right" pronunciation for any words. Throw into the mix OSRS's international appeal, the use of made-up words and the frequent disagreement even between game "experts" like Jagex staff and mods and... well you've got a recipe for disaster! What is more useful than to prescribe one "official" pronunciation for the terms on the wiki is to document the most prolific among them, so that users might understand the different ways players pronounce the words organically in their various settings. It's just my two cents, but it keeps the wiki away from becoming an authority on these subjects that people will look to as all-holy (or rebel against!), and more in the line of encyclopedias like those this wiki is based on.
That being said, if there is an official, Jagex-sourced pronunciation I list this first in the article. I also do not exhaustively list every pronunciation out there (the list for Ardougne alone would be horrifying), just the ones that are widely attested.
How can you be so sure you're transcribing these words correctly?
I can't. Really no one can. Pronunciation is a highly subjective part of human language, and often when we try to map the sounds we're making flapping around our wet wiggly bits into words, things get a little hazy. English spelling conventions don't help the matter at all (by the way, how is "gif" pronounced again?). So the answer is that I use my knowledge of pronunciation and my training as a linguist (MA) to do my very best. I try to source my pronunciations in reputable ways, check my facts, and operating according to a few key tenants about documenting pronunciation:
- Pronunciation varies greatly over geographic area (and OSRS's is worldwide)
- Written pronunciations always carry some ambiguity, but the documentation should try to reduce this as much as possible
- As a text-and-image-based work of fiction, Runescape is prone to a lot of ambiguity and stylistic variation (and that's fantastic!)
- I'm here to show how people do talk about OSRS; not how they should
- Mistakes will be made
Why are there two transcription styles?
I'm using two styles to help reduce ambiguity. The first is the International Phonetic Alphabet, which is used by linguists, language learners and other pronunciation enthusiasts to get at the nitty-gritty of pronunciations, and I provide it as the least ambiguous way of transcribing English that I am competent in. However, it can be a little complicated if you're not familiar with it, and OSRS Wiki doen't have all the neat pronunciation tools like Wikipedia/Wiktionary, so I'm also including a modified version of the transcription system I was already seeing using in some places across the site. I use this after IPA in "quotes". It has standardized some vowels and made a few other changes for clarity.
- Syllables written in all caps <SYL> are stressed. Syllables in lowercase <syl> are unstressed
- <GH> represents the sound /g/ as in girl, guild, Gielinor and gold. <J> represents the sound /dʒ/ as in jump, Jad, GP, gemstone and joint.
- VOWELS: Most short vowel sounds are represented by one vowel letter. All long vowels are represented by two letters.
- <A> represents /æ/ as in castle
- <E> represents /ɛ/ as in elf
- <I> represents /ɪ/ as in wizard
- <O> represents /ɔ/ and /ɑ/ as in shop
- <AH> represents these same sounds ^ syllable-finally, to avoid ambiguity
- <UH> represents /ə/ and /ʌ/ as in luck
- <AI> represents /aɪ/ as in pine
- <AU> represents /aʊ/ as in tower
- <AY> represents /eɪ/ as in prayer
- <EE> represents /i/ as in tree
- <OH> represents /oʊ/ as in boat
- <OO> represents /u/ as in loot
- <OY> represents /ɔɪ/ as in toy horsey