phoneme

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See also: Phoneme and phonème

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Ancient Greek φώνημα (phṓnēma, sound), from φωνέω (phōnéō, to sound), from φωνή (phōnḗ, sound).

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Noun[edit]

phoneme (plural phonemes)

  1. An indivisible unit of sound in a given language. A phoneme is an abstraction of the physical speech sounds (phones) and may encompass several different phones.
    • 1990, Jarmo Lainio, “Sweden Finnish — development or deterioration?”, in Durk Gorter, editor, Fourth International Conference on Minority Languages: Western and Eastern European papers[1], Multilingual Matters, →ISBN, page 31:
      It is crucial for the phoneme structure of Finnish — traditionally /d/ has not been included in the Finnish phonotax, but it fulfils the criteria of a phoneme (Karlsson, 1983: 66-7).

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