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“a basic sound unit of a language”
the phonetic variant(s) of a phoneme
So, each phoneme comprises a set of
allophone, and each allophone is particular
realisation of phoneme in a particular
are the basic sounds - the
significant , non-predictable ones.
different ways the phonemes are
realised in various positions are called
ALLOPHONES - predictable, and nonsignificant.
Different language can have the same sound and
yet organise them differently in their sound
For example :
1). The phoneme /p/ of English has two allophones.
English speakers treat them as the same sound,
but they are different:
the first the second is unaspirated (plain). is
Plain [p] also occurs as the p in cap [kʰæp], and
the second p in paper [pʰeɪ.pɚ]
One, (ph), has a puff of air after the lips
open, and occurs at the beginnings of words
such as "pit". The other, (p), does not have a
puff of air, and occurs after second word
such as in "spit".
We can see from the other language
2). In Chinese languages treat these two phones
for example :
in Mandarin, [p] (written b in Pinyin) and [pʰ]
English has there phonemes at the bilabial position.
For instance, the phone [ph] and [b] occur in the
ninimal pair park [phark] versus bark [bak], And the
bilabial nasal [m] in mark [mak].
They must, therefore, be allophone (variant) of
different phonemes. So we nkow that there are at least
there bilabial phoneme in english, and we have been
able to show that the differences between [ph b m]
contain significant information for speaker of that
Usually, the different ALLOPHONES of
the same PHONEME are all similar to
each other - they form a FAMILY of
We can see this by the fact that the
same difference can be allophonic in one
language, and phonemic in another.
We say that allophones have
In English, s and sh are phonemes, and so
have contrastive distribution.