I've been trying to typeset a document that has a lot of phonetic transcriptions, and I'm trying to do it using Tex Gyre Bonum for the body and Charis SIL for the phonetic transcriptions. I'm trying to load these with fontspec, but tipa is famous for not playing along when fontspec is involved.

My initial attempt (based on egreg's answer to this question) was to redefine the textipa command to use a custom font:

\newfontfamily{\ipafont}{Charis SIL}
  \renewcommand\textipa[1]{{\ipafont\tipaencoding #1}}

but that didn't work (see image below to see how it didn't work). What is odd is that it did work if I used the same instructions in an entirely new command and using the default textipa command. But that, of course, meant that the source was no longer compilable using regular tipa...

So, how can I redefine textipa to work with a font of my choosing without having to input some of the characters myself?

Here's an MWE to show all the different types of fail:

% \expandafter\def\csname ver@xunicode.sty\endcsname{}

\setmainfont{TeX Gyre Bonum}
\newfontfamily{\ipafont}{Charis SIL}

\newcommand{\mytipa}[1]{{\ipafont \textipa{#1}}}



\item This works only without \texttt{fontspec}:

\item With \texttt{fontspec} and custom \texttt{ipafont}
  this fails:
  {\ipafont \textipa{\t{\=*{t}S}}}
  ; but this works: 
  {\ipafont \textipa{\t{ṯS}}}

\item Likewise, with a custom command,
  this fails:
  ; but this works:

\renewcommand\textipa[1]{{\ipafont \tipaencoding #1}}

\item But with a redefined \texttt{textipa} command
  this fails:
  ; and this \textit{also} fails:



And the output:

enter image description here

ALSO: In a follow-up question Joseph Wright recently provided a solution to similar issues to those raised when compiling the MWE (and that's the commented line at the beginning). However, as you can see by uncommenting it, even though it makes all the lines work (except those with in the source), it makes them work using the default tipa font, which is not what I want.


An indirect answer to your question may be not to use TIPA at all. You can use the IPA keyboard provided by SIL instead to easily enter IPA characters.

You can find it at IPA Unicode Keyboards.

  • Yes, I'm aware of this sort of methods. But - like I said in my question linked to above - "since all my transcriptions are already typed out using tipa, I'm reluctant to give it up and start doing the charmap spelunking that would be necessary". And even in cases that allow for less obscure methods, I prefer the tipa interface, that allow for more and more specific control of the phonetic features and their position. To me, the opposite is similar to typesetting equations without LaTeX. – jja Oct 13 '13 at 17:13
  • I perfectly understand your point. In this case, you could consider using other input methods as a last resort. I never had problems using direct input methods, like from keyboard. And Charis SIL does its magic. Perfect diacritic stacking and rendering, so no need for other specific controls. But this is personal preference. – Stefano Oct 15 '13 at 11:30

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