I was using the Dictionary application, and I have noticed it was showing the pronunciation using strange characters.

Dictionary screenshot

I checked the preferences, and they were set to use the American IPA characters.

Dictionary preferences

Out of curiosity, I changed the option to "US English (Diacritical)"; I then re-typed the same word, and I have got this:

Dictionary screenshot

It seems that it uses diacritical characters when it should use IPA, and vice versa. Something changed in the last twenty-four hours, as it was working fine, the last time I used it.

I think the problem is one of the preference files used by the Dictionary application. Which file should I restore, to get back the Dictionary application working as it is supposed to do?
Could it be another problem? Which one could be causing this?

  • 2
    It looks like the "diacritical" setting is working as it should, but the IPA setting is having trouble displaying the non-ASCII IPA characters. The vowel sounds displayed as [ and @ in the IPA transcription should be æ and ɪ, respectively. Do the corrected letters in the last sentence display correctly for you? (The first one should look like an a and e smashed together, and the second one should look like a short uppercase I). Jul 26, 2011 at 19:25
  • I see both æ and ɪ correctly, in your comment; so far, I have not have any problems with Unicode characters, except with Dictionary, it seems.
    – apaderno
    Jul 26, 2011 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


I also see |"br{k@t| when viewing bracket with US English IPA on a local Snow Leopard installation.

But, it is not a problem displaying the IPA characters themselves. Other words that shared those mis-transcribed vowel sounds are displayed correctly:

  • bracket |"br{k@t|
  • brackish |ˈbrækɪʃ|
  • bran |bræn|
  • kit |kɪt|

My guess it that there is just an error in the US English IPA transcription for bracket.

  • Woah! Yes, you're right; I can confirm br{k@t on a third Snow Leopard install (our secondary computer, which I haven't gotten around to upgrading yet). For what it's worth, brækɪt shows up correctly in Lion. Add one to the feature list, I guess :) Jul 27, 2011 at 4:54
  • I see those word pronunciations exactly as you do.
    – apaderno
    Jul 27, 2011 at 5:44

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