Phonemics The Study of Phonemes. Definition of Phoneme. A minimal class of phones which possess shared features that clearly contrast to those of other phonemes and form the basis of distinguishing one utterance from another. Most Languages have 50 or fewer phonemes.
The Study of Phonemes
No language uses all possible phonemes
The phones contained in corresponding phonenemes in different languages may vary significantly.
In English b and v are in different phonemes.
berry vs. very
In English r and l anre in different phonemes
river vs. liver
In Spanish, trilled and untrilled r’s are in different phonemes.
pero vs. perro
In Spanish, b and v are in the same phoneme.
In Chinese r and l are in the same phonemePhonemic Categories Differ from One Language to Another
Definition: Phones that occupy the same phoneme are called allophones.
1. To identify a minimal set of phonemes for the language
Free variation allophones
Complementary distribution allophones
Where the use of a particular allophone overlaps with the use of others
Two sounds are used indiscriminately in different phonetic contexts
Two allophones are in complementary distribution if the contexts in which they appear do not overlap.
Two sounds are never used in the same phonetic context.
She vs. Shoe
The vowel following the “sh” sound changes the way the sound is made. The two “sh” sounds are allophones of the same phoneme, but are used in different contexts, one following the “oo” and one following the “ee” sound.