In most linguistic contexts, the IPA is not the India Pale Ale but the International Phonetic Alphabet, which, despite some shortcomings, has become the standard among linguists for phonetic spelling.
If you occasionally see meaningless characters in these columns when I’m discussing pronunciation, as in
I pronounce longer /lÉ&rsquo ;Ì„Å&lsaquo ;gÊŒÉ¹ / and stronger /stÊ&fno f;É¹É&rsquo ;Ì„Å&lsaquo ;gÊŒÉ¹ /…
it’s probably because your computer doesn’t have an IPA font installed. You can learn about IPA fonts and download some for free from SIL International. Then when I write,
I pronounce longer /lɒ̄ŋgʌɹ/ and stronger /stʃɹɒ̄ŋgʌɹ/…
it will look like this:
You can hear what one college professor in Canada thinks all the IPA symbols should sound like on this page. Who am I to say he’s wrong?