Word pronunciation

When dictionaries provide pronunciation for a word, they use a system of symbols and special characters that I’ve never found useful in understanding. But the New York Times uses a simpler system, like in the following example from today’s paper:

So what are the two systems called?

I’m afraid there is no such animal as “dictionaries.” Each uses a different system.

Both the American Heritage Dictionary and the Microsoft Encarta Dictionary I have within arm’s reach state that they use their own in-house developed systems.

There is also the IPA - International Phonetic Alphabet - devised by scholars so that all human languages could be represented in print. These abbreviations are necessarily more complex and less intuitively obvious, but are often the basis for the other more simplified systems.

I’m sure sure that what the Times does has a name, except perhaps “approximation.”

I’m not sure that what the Times does has a name.

Any half-decent dictionary has an explanation of the pronunciation symbols somewhere. Of course, this may not follow through to an online version.

Probably the NY Times newspaper uses the same system as the NY Times dictionary, which is touted here as a “keyless” pronunciation system. The BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names (2nd ed.) uses both the IPA system and what they call Modified Spelling, which however is not keyless. I agree with Exapno Mapcase about every dictionary having its own pronunciation system.