# Adding complex phonetic symbols to LaTeX

I am trying to add symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet to my thesis. For some of the characters, I have no idea how to add them to TeX.

The retroflex is giving me troubles.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{tipa}
\begin{document}
\begin{tabular}{llllllll}
~                   & Labial & Dental & Alveolar & Retroflex & Palatal & Velar & Glottal \\
Stop                & ~      & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
Voiceless           & ~      & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
Voiceless aspirated & ~      & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
Voiced              & ~      & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
Voiced aspirated    & \textipa{}     & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
Fricative           & \textipa{}    & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
Nasal               & t͡ʃʰ    & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
\end{tabular}
\end{document}


Can anyone tell me how to add retroflex symbols in LaTeX?

The description of the symbols can be found here.

UPDATE: I have added the symbols t͡ʃʰ and n̪. XeLaTeX is not printing them.

• According to the tipa manual retroflexes are obtained with \:. The retroflex approximant can e.g. be obtained by \textipa{\:R}. Is this what you are looking for? Apr 14, 2016 at 14:33
• I am talking about specific symbols for example voiced retro flex d
– karu
Apr 14, 2016 at 14:37
• The simplest way is to compile with XeLaTeX and enter your Unicode IPA symbols directly into your editor like you can here: ɖ ʈ etc. See Typesetting phonetic symbols: Unicode or tipa? for more info and more reasons to do this instead of using tipa. Apr 14, 2016 at 14:42
• @JasonZentz I am using Xelatex for the compilation. These symbols I find really complex.
– karu
Apr 14, 2016 at 14:44

As explained by this answer, you can either use tipa and compile using pdfLaTeX or load a Unicode IPA font using fontspec and compile using XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX. I strongly recommend using a Unicode IPA font rather than tipa for the reasons outlined in this answer.

Here is an example that uses the IPA versions of most of the symbols shown in the image you posted (I included both the palato-alveolar affricate and palatal stop symbols). I entered these symbols directly in my TeX editor using an IPA keyboard layout, but you could also use one of many online IPA pickers and copy and paste from there into your editor. I will leave the table formatting up to you.

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{fontspec}
\setmainfont{Charis SIL}

\begin{document}
\noindent p t̪ t ʈ t͡ʃ c k\\
pʰ t̪ʰ ʈʰ t͡ʃʰ cʰ kʰ \\
b d̪ ɖ d͡ʒ ɟ ɡ \\
bʱ d̪ʱ ɖʱ d͡ʒʱ ɟʱ ɡʱ \\
f s ʂ ʃ h \\
m n̪ n ɳ ɲ ŋ \\
r ɽ ͏ɻ\\
l ɭ \\
w v j
\end{document}


As shown below, the font you select does make a difference in whether your symbols will come out right. Some fonts simply don't have the glyphs for most IPA symbols (although the ones shown here do have all the glyphs in the example), and others do a poor job of stacking diacritics and placing things like the tie bar used in affricates. So choose your font wisely, also paying attention to how well it does with other formatting you need such as bold and small caps.

Charis SIL:

Brill:

Linux Libertine O:

Times New Roman:

• What about retroflex approximant symbol ?
– karu
Apr 14, 2016 at 15:32
• @karu, I left that out because the chart used [ʐ] but called it a retroflex approximant (that symbol is a retroflex fricative in the IPA). I wasn't sure what you would want to use -- that or the IPA retroflex approximant [ɻ]. Both of these symbols will come out fine though. I'm just trying to give you the general idea, not provide all the symbols you might possibly want. Apr 14, 2016 at 16:03
• Thanks. I understand now. Using Unicode is much better than tipa, at least for me, because I have to write characters in Malayalam.
– karu
Apr 14, 2016 at 16:11
• @kanu, I just edited the answer to add the [ɻ] symbol, just to show that it does work in all these fonts. Apr 14, 2016 at 18:58
• Just for the banter (and because I was curious), here are Gentium Plus, Heuristica, and Noto Serif, each of which perform pretty decently. The Combining Double Inverted Breve is a bit squiffy in Brill (which is a surprise) and Linux Libertine. Apr 15, 2016 at 21:12

As was told you in the comments, you can (and should if you're using xelatex) use a font that supports all IPA glyphs.

Since you're using a table, you can automatize this so that only the cells with IPA use that font, and the headers use the regular font. For the headers I'm using a particular font here just to show the difference, but you can use anything you like.

## Code

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[margin=2.5cm]{geometry}
\usepackage{fontspec}
\usepackage{booktabs}
\usepackage{array}
\setmainfont{Century Gothic}
\newfontfamily\ipafont{Charis SIL}
\newcommand\ipa[1]{{\ipafont #1}}

% To keep the header with normal font
\makeatletter
\newcommand*{\rowstyle}[1]{% sets the style of the next row
\gdef\@rowstyle{\leavevmode#1}%
\@rowstyle\ignorespaces}
\newcolumntype{=}{>{\gdef\@rowstyle{}}}
\newcolumntype{+}{>{\@rowstyle}}
\makeatother

% Column type with ipa font
\newcolumntype{A}{+>{\ipafont}l}

\begin{document}
\begin{tabular}{=l*{7}{A}}
\toprule
\rowstyle{\normalfont}
~                   & Labial & Dental & Alveolar & Retroflex & Palatal & Velar & Glottal\\ \midrule
Stop                & ~      & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
Voiceless           & ~      & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
Voiceless aspirated & ~      & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
Voiced              & ~      & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
Voiced aspirated    &      & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
Fricative           &    & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
Nasal               & t͡ʃʰ    & ~      & ~        & ~         & ~       & ~     & ~       \\
\bottomrule
\end{tabular}
\end{document}