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Tim Roufs

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Phonemics

The study of basic sound units (phonemes)

    • phone = the smallest sound of a language

    • phonemes are sounds that make a difference for meaning in a language
  • phone = “sound”
    • telephone
    • megaphone

  • sounds in language follow a pattern
    • Tzotzil : Tzeltal
    • Bangu : Ngbatu
    • click sounds: !Kung
    • ? in Anishinabe (Chippewa)

  • some languages have only a few basic sounds
    • e.g., Hawaiian

  • others have many more
    • e.g., Kwakiutl

  • rarely are there more than 45 or 50 phonemes

  • no language uses all of the possible phonemes

  • sounds are conventionally divided into vowels and consonants

  • there are classes of sounds
    • stopped
    • nazalized
    • continued (syllabate)
    • trilled

  • “minimal pair”
    • two “utterances” (words) that differ in only one sound

      • pit / bit
        unvoiced / voiced

      • these / those
        unvoiced / voiced

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© 1998 - 2014 Timothy G. Roufs    Envelope: E-mail
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