(Language and Symbolic Systems, Yuen Ren Chao)
(...) Henry Sweet (1845 - 1912) used to demonstrate that if you transcribe a language accurately, a person who has never heard the laguage before but knows the values of the symbols should be able to read if off and and make it sound like the original. On the other hand, a Swiss lecturer who spoke English once came to New York and delivered a lecture from notes written in the IPA and the audience could not understand a word he said. The incident does not prove inadequancy of transcription in gereral, but rather the incompleteness - even phonemic inompleteness - of simple segmental elements with omission of stress, length, intonation, etc. If a phonemic transcription is used, the reader will of course have to know the 'rules of pronunciation', namely which phonetic value of the phonemes is to be used.