phonetics“My name is Steve Kleinedler, supervising editor for the American Heritage Dictionary, where I have worked since 1997. One of my many responsibilities is pronunciation. The tattoo is a stylized version of a phonetic vowel chart — it shows the relative position of the tongue in the mouth when those vowel sounds are articulated. I had a smaller, simpler version done on my upper back in 1993, and I’ve been wanting to get the full version for quite some time.

“The design is by Kyle Nelson of Stoltze Design and the tattoo artist was Mike Helz of Stingray Body Art.”

Click here to go to the full Science Tattoo Emporium.

0 thoughts on “/tæˈtu/

  1. For the life of me I cannot figure out what the red circles are for…

    They’re the cardinal vowels; the ones with the double circles are at the ends of the front/back and open/close spectra.

  2. The red circles are part of what make the chart “stylized”. The designer took the basic chart and added some artistic elements. I mentioned I liked subway maps, and he ran with that.

  3. As a linguistics student, I got extremely excited when I saw this vowel quadrangle. In January, a friend and I both had wugs done. 😀

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