What's the difference between KK and Phonics?
In Taiwan, many people learn KK. But i don't get the difference?
What is KK? and what is Phonics?
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I've never heard of KK, but Phonics is a method for teaching children to read by calling their attention to the sounds represented by certain letters and letter groups.

KK (Kenyon & Knott) is a phonetic system popular in Taiwan (and, I think, nowhere else) for representing the sounds of American English. It's very close to the IPA, anyway.

Phonics is a theory & practice for teaching children correct pronunciation, not a phonetic alphabet.
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Same question from my student today, never mind it, with K.K., people hardly sounds right anyway, plus, it can't even help on memorizing vocabularies, since most words are pronounce wrong and resulting in bad spellings, also, no one else on planet earth is using it anyway, i had learned K.K. ever since 10, and abandoned it when I was 20, so lucky me. Try to look up several alphabets and words and you will have to admit how far wrong K.K.s are. ( eg; Letter A, C, E, H, J,K, and so on), K.K. even managed to pronounce these letters wrong, and simple word like " Vehicle", "smooth", " Ace", and so on, non of these can be said right with K.K., it's an dead end for K.K. on the Chinese Romanization front anyway, since the Chinese across the strait are not using it, nor do any Chinese communities around the globe, and it can't even spell Chinese right at all.
Chang, Cheng, Chuang, Chong, all sounds too similar to each other, however, according to K.K., these people were from different families.
KK is based on the A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English, which was written by John S. Kenyon & Thomas A. Knotts. So, KK stands for the last names of both of the people who wrote this dictionary. As for IPA and KK, there are only a few different symbols that KK uses which is different from IPA or Pronunciation Symbols used in other dictionaries.
In phonics, people are brought to the attention that a set of words have the same vowel quality. In KK, this vowel quality is transcribed using IPA. If I am teaching kids, I dont want to burden them with IPA.

Phonics consists of set of heuristics or generalizations, which are not true always. But they help you localize what the possible sounds are when they encounter a new word.

We know how to pronounce astronomy: ə ˈstrɑn əmi. How to pronounce a word aptronomy. Kids usually say ə' ptrɑn əmi. This is where phonics fails us. English phonology helps: s[p,t,k]r cluster is permitted in English; but not ptr. So, we need to split aptronomy into ap-tron-o-mi. The possible pronounciation is: æp ˈtrɑn ə mi
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KK isn't phonics. KK is a phonetic alphabet developed to resemble English but with Greek symbols to represent the /th/, /sh/ and /ch/ sounds. The long e, a and i sounds are represented by the symbols <i>, <e> and <ai> respectively which reveals the vowel shift between English and European languages. (See the pronounciation of i in pizza, e in cafe or ai in Taiwan or Thailand.) Because the phonetic symbols look logical to Europeans it is clear that KK was developed for Europeans.

Phonics is the study of how sounds are represented in a language. For example, the long a sound can be written as ay as in May, ai as in maid, eigh as in neighbour or simply a as in late with the e silent.

So KK and phonics are different subjects: students can study how KK symbols are pronounced and still not be able to read English because they don't know the phonetic rules. It's sad.

Martin Phipps, Ph.D.

Department of Applied Foreign Languages,

Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology
I can sort of tell that you didn't learn English as your first language, because there are a few common grammar mistakes. Some you can spot in the first sentence, like "people hardly sounds right anyway". I was just noting that as a comment to your English, just to inform you about it if you haven't noticed.

"with K.K., people hardly sounds right anyway"

Keep in mind that KK is basically just a subset of the International Phonetic Alphabet, designed to simplify the IPA for English learners by extracting only those portions of the IPA necessary to represent English phonetics. In short, it's IPA-lite-for-English-only, in the same way that bopomofo provides a Chinese-specific phonetic transcription system for those learning Chinese.

"It can't even help on memorizing vocabularies, since most words are pronounce wrong and resulting in bad spellings"

Phonetic systems aren't intended as vocabulary aids, but phonetic guides. How can the IPA/KK "pronounce a word wrong", unless the word in question was transcribed wrongly by someone? In that case, it wouldn't be the fault of IPA/KK, but of the transcriptionist.

"K.K. even managed to pronounce these letters wrong"

If what you mean here is that the glyph "a", for example, represents a different allophone in IPA/KK than in written English, that doesn't make IPA/KK wrong. Remember, the point of KK is to provide a consistent written representation of English phonetics. In written English the "a" glyph can represent as many as a half dozen different allophones (long-a, short-a, "ah" as in "father", etc.), and it's very difficult for a young English learner to determine which sound is represented. KK simplifies that: the "a" glyph represents only one allophone, specifically the "ah" sound.

But to argue KK is "wrong" because the "a" glyph is used differently from written English is like arguing bopomofo is wrong because it employs Chinese radicals differently than written Chinese does.

"simple word like " Vehicle", "smooth", " Ace", and so on, non of these can be said right with K.K."

I don't know what you mean here. The word "smooth" would be represented in KK as/smʊð/. Once you've learned the KK system, there's nothing particularly difficult about that.

"since the Chinese across the strait are not using it, nor do any Chinese communities around the globe, and it can't even spell Chinese right at all."

Umm -- wait. Are you confusing KK with pinying, the Chinese Romanization system? KK is for phonetically transcribing English. It is never used to try to "spell Chinese".

The Chinese Romanization system has a set of problems all its own (for starters, it's not even based on English phonetics, but on a transliterated Russian system, which makes it quite difficult for English speakers; how does one pronounce "Xi" or "Qiu", for example?). But that's a completely different subject from IPA/KK.

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