When using phonemic script, it customary to put the IPA inside slanting brackets, like this: /slɑ:nti brækɪts/

Unfortunately, these often seem to break across lines on SE posts, so we get the following kind of problem occasionally:

blah blah blah blah blah /

slɑ:nti brækɪts/

It looks particularly bad if there's only one phoneme in between the brackets:

blah blah blah blah blah /


Is there any way to stop this happening?

  • 2
    This depends on many factors, especially the details of the software where you’re typing these things on one end, and the software where it’s being rendered on the other. I don’t think there’s a general solution. Unicode might offer some zero-width non-breaking spaces or word joiners or something, but given the current state of non-vanilla Unicode support in most software, that will raise a lot more issues than it might solve, IMO.
    – Jane
    May 15, 2018 at 13:35
  • 1
    @Jane Are all of those factors an issue when talking specifically about posts on EL&U.SE? (That's a genuine question; I'm the rare SE participant with near-zero coding experience.)
    – 1006a
    May 15, 2018 at 15:53
  • @1006a I don’t know. I haven’t tried it. BTW this is Dan Bron. You know me. I created an alter ego with a female name because I wanted a more objective view of whether SE is exclusionary to women (the experiment was suggested by a high rep user on Meta.se). But I posted from it by mistake here.
    – Dan Bron
    May 15, 2018 at 16:37
  • Thanks, @DanBron. I'm frequently a bit at sea with some of the coding stuff that is assumed to be "general knowledge" around here (e.g., there's a whole SE dedicated to creating bits of code that help improve the SE experience in various interesting and attractive ways...but nowhere that I can find are there any basic instructions for what to do with those bits of code). Also, I'm interested to know what happens with your experiment, if you feel comfortable sharing down the line.
    – 1006a
    May 15, 2018 at 16:46
  • @danbron How about Choosing a different name? Calling yourself Jane's a bit like coming on here and calling yourself Michael or Norman or sommat ... May 15, 2018 at 18:42
  • @Araucaria What’s wrong with Michael or Norman or Jane? Happy to pick another name, and I’m open to suggestions, given my cover is now blown.
    – Dan Bron
    May 15, 2018 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


SE Markdown appears to filter out <nobr> tags, although browser support for this element seems to have been removed anyway.

The Unicode solution appears to be the "word joiner" character, inserted after the opening slash and before the closing slash.

Word Joiner. U+2060 word joiner behaves like U+00A0 no-break space in that it indicates the absence of line breaks; however, the word joiner has no width. The function of the character is to indicate that line breaks are not allowed between the adjoining characters, except next to hard line breaks. For example, the word joiner can be inserted after the fourth character in the text “base+delta” to indicate that there should be no line break between the “e” and the “+”. The word joiner can be used to prevent line breaking with other characters that do not have nonbreaking variants, such as U+2009 thin space or U+2015 horizontal bar, by bracketing the character.

The character does appear to be supported by the font in use at EL&U, though I cannot speak for others used elsewhere on SE: /⁠A⁠B⁠C⁠D⁠E⁠F⁠G⁠H⁠I⁠K⁠L⁠M⁠N⁠O⁠P⁠Q⁠R⁠S⁠T⁠V⁠X⁠Y⁠Z⁠&⁠⁊⁠Ƿ⁠Þ⁠Ð⁠Æ⁠a⁠b⁠c⁠d⁠e⁠f⁠g⁠h⁠i⁠k⁠l⁠m⁠n⁠o⁠p⁠q⁠r⁠s⁠t⁠x⁠x⁠y⁠z⁠ƿ⁠þ⁠ð⁠æ⁠/

You can enter the character using the HTML entity &NoBreak;, which seems to be to be the friendliest for both author and future editor. Entering the character directly and it will be unseen, to frustrate and to get deleted; entering the numerical entity is friendly for machines, but not humans who are not insufferable Unicode pedants.

/⁠slɑ:nti brækɪts⁠/

  • I'm not entirely sure that it will have the desired effect as I can edit this post and double the length of your string (to see how it looks in the preview). The string of characters breaks at a &NoBreak; entity.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    May 15, 2018 at 23:02
  • @andrewleach I only tested in Firefox and Chrome on Windows and FF on Android, so results may vary.
    – choster
    May 16, 2018 at 2:39
  • I'm using Chrome on Windows. imgur.com/hfLbb6e
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    May 16, 2018 at 6:31
  • @AndrewLeach I see now, but I don't think it's relevant. The no-break, like a non-breaking space, will "glue" its adjacent characters together, forcing any wrapping to occur at the next nearest space. It would be exceptionally rare to have text of such length required to both be wrapped in slashes and be printed on a single line, in which case you'd be forced to use <pre>.
    – choster
    May 17, 2018 at 0:06

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