Phoneme



[foh-neem] /ˈfoʊ nim/

noun, Linguistics.
1.
any of a small set of units, usually about 20 to 60 in number, and different for each language, considered to be the basic distinctive units of speech sound by which morphemes, words, and sentences are represented. They are arrived at for any given language by determining which differences in sound function to indicate a difference in meaning, so that in English the difference in sound and meaning between pit and bit is taken to indicate the existence of different labial phonemes, while the difference in sound between the unaspirated p of spun and the aspirated p of pun, since it is never the only distinguishing feature between two different words, is not taken as ground for setting up two different p phonemes in English.
Compare (def 1).
/ˈfəʊniːm/
noun
1.
(linguistics) one of the set of speech sounds in any given language that serve to distinguish one word from another. A phoneme may consist of several phonetically distinct articulations, which are regarded as identical by native speakers, since one articulation may be substituted for another without any change of meaning. Thus /p/ and /b/ are separate phonemes in English because they distinguish such words as pet and bet, whereas the light and dark /l/ sounds in little are not separate phonemes since they may be transposed without changing meaning
n.

“distinctive sound or group of sounds,” 1889, from French phonème, from Greek phonema “a sound made, voice,” from phonein “to sound or speak,” from phone “sound, voice,” from PIE root *bha- (2) “speak” (see fame (n.)).

phoneme pho·neme (fō’nēm’)
n.
The smallest phonetic unit in a language that is capable of conveying a distinction in meaning, as the m of mat and the b of bat in English.

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    [fuh-nee-mik, foh-] /fəˈni mɪk, foʊ-/ adjective 1. of or relating to : a phonemic system. 2. of or relating to . 3. concerning or involving the discrimination of distinctive speech elements of a language: a phonemic contrast. /fəˈniːmɪk/ adjective (linguistics) 1. of or relating to the phoneme 2. relating to or denoting speech sounds that […]

  • Phonemically

    [fuh-nee-mik, foh-] /fəˈni mɪk, foʊ-/ adjective 1. of or relating to : a phonemic system. 2. of or relating to . 3. concerning or involving the discrimination of distinctive speech elements of a language: a phonemic contrast. /fəˈniːmɪk/ adjective (linguistics) 1. of or relating to the phoneme 2. relating to or denoting speech sounds that […]



  • Phonemicize

    [fuh-nee-muh-sahyz, foh-] /fəˈni məˌsaɪz, foʊ-/ verb (used with object), phonemicized, phonemicizing. 1. to transcribe into symbols. 2. to analyze (a word, the sound structure of a language, etc.) by establishing its phonemes.

  • Phonemics

    [fuh-nee-miks, foh-] /fəˈni mɪks, foʊ-/ noun, (used with a singular verb) 1. the study of and systems. 2. the system of a language, or a discussion of this: English phonemics. /fəˈniːmɪks/ noun 1. (functioning as sing) that aspect of linguistics concerned with the classification, analysis, interrelation, and environmental changes of the phonemes of a language



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