Monthly Advice﹕Is the International Phonetic Alphabet still worth learning?

【明報專訊】Does learning the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) help with pronunciation improvement? There was a time when every teacher and student in Hong Kong would respond with a definite yes. Mastery of the IPA enabled us to look up the pronunciation of any new word in a dictionary. Later, some dictionaries came with a CD-ROM version, which made it possible for users to listen to the pronunciation of every headword. But such CD-ROMs were not convenient to use. With the advent of online dictionaries, which give us the pronunciation of a new word at the click of the "audio" button, learning the IPA has fallen into disfavour.