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I wish to write a paper about linguistics, so I thought about trying LaTeX. Sadly I couldn't figure out how to write the unique characters I need for my work, for example epsilon with a little tilde above it, i with two dots above it, velar nasal and so on.

I know I can write stuff like ó with \'{o}, but I couldn't figure out how to put the epsilon in there, or how to write more unique characters.

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Try the tipa package at ctan. –  Yiannis Lazarides Nov 29 '11 at 16:54
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The tag wiki for the linguistics tag summarizes some of the popular packages for use in linguistics. –  Alan Munn Nov 29 '11 at 17:17
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there's also a mailing list devoted to linguistics use of (la)tex. archives here, subscribe by sending a message to sympa@ifi.uio.no with the subject "subscribe ling-tex". –  barbara beeton Nov 29 '11 at 18:37
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2 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

There are two ways to write IPA symbols in LaTeX. One uses regular pdfLaTeX and the tipa package; the other uses XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX and you can enter the symbols directly into your source, assuming you have the correct fonts.

The SIL Doulos font is an excellent Unicode IPA font that is widely used in Linguistics. You can download it here.

I'll outline both techniques here:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{tipa}
\begin{document}
\textipa{[TIsIzs@maIpieI]}

\textipa{[Its\*rilijizitutaIp]}
\end{document}

Using XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{fontspec}
\setmainfont{Doulos SIL}
\begin{document}
[θɪsɪzsəmaɪpeɪ]

[ɪtsɹilijizitutaɪp]
\end{document}

Output:

output of codeoutput of code

There are advantages and disadvantages to each method. The main advantage of the XeLaTeX/LuaLaTeX route is that your source code becomes much more readable. The downside of this, however, is that you need to develop techniques for entering all the characters, which isn't necessarily fast. However, if you are already used to the TIPA input method (or have existing documents) the xunicode package (which is loaded by fontspec) allows you to use most (but not all) TIPA input methods as well, so for many kinds of input you can have either.

The TIPA method allows for a faster input method at the expense of less readable source.

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Looks like that's the thing for me, thanks! –  John Nov 29 '11 at 17:21
    
For entering the characters, I recommend emacs and set-input-method - there's ipa, ipa-praat, ipa-x-sampa, ipa-kirshenbaum. Choose your poison. –  Reactormonk Oct 16 '12 at 22:21
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If you need to type characters from the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), you can use the package TIPA, whose manual is also available. I found its sources within my installation of TexLive 2011, but haven't tested them yet.

There's also a paper from tug about it.

To research about special tildes and characters, you can read:

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I'll have a look, thank you! –  John Nov 29 '11 at 17:22
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