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Minimal pair

minimal pairssound pairssplit
(Two words like this that differ in meaning through a contrast of a single phoneme form what is called a minimal pair). In many other languages these would be interpreted as exactly the same set of phonemes (i.e. and would be considered the same).
In phonology, minimal pairs are pairs of words or phrases in a particular language, spoken or signed, that differ in only one phonological element, such as a phoneme, toneme or chroneme, and have distinct meanings.

Grapheme

graphemescharacterscharacter
Thus represents a sequence of three phonemes,, (the word push in standard English), while represents the phonetic sequence of sounds (aspirated p),, (the usual pronunciation of push). This is not to be confused with the similar convention of the use of angle brackets to enclose the units of orthography, namely graphemes; for example, ⟨f⟩ represents the written letter (grapheme) f.
An individual grapheme may or may not carry meaning by itself, and may or may not correspond to a single phoneme of the spoken language.

International Phonetic Alphabet

IPAPronunciationdiacritic
The symbols used for particular phonemes are often taken from the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), the same set of symbols that are most commonly used for phones.
The IPA is designed to represent only those qualities of speech that are part of oral language: phones, phonemes, intonation and the separation of words and syllables.

Linguistics

linguistlinguisticlinguists
In linguistics, phonemes (usually established by the use of minimal pairs, such as kill vs kiss or pat vs bat) are written between slashes, e.g. . To show pronunciation more precisely linguists use square brackets, for example (indicating an aspirated p).
Phonology, the study of sounds as abstract elements in the speaker's mind that distinguish meaning (phonemes)

Jan Baudouin de Courtenay

Baudouin de CourtenayBaudoinBaudouin de Courtenay, Jan Niecisław
The term phoneme as an abstraction was developed by the Polish linguist Jan Niecisław Baudouin de Courtenay and his student Mikołaj Kruszewski during 1875–1895.
Jan Niecisław Ignacy Baudouin de Courtenay (13 March 1845 – 3 November 1929) was a Polish linguist and Slavist, best known for his theory of the phoneme and phonetic alternations.

Orthography

orthographicorthographiesorthographically
Thus represents a sequence of three phonemes,, (the word push in standard English), while represents the phonetic sequence of sounds (aspirated p),, (the usual pronunciation of push). This is not to be confused with the similar convention of the use of angle brackets to enclose the units of orthography, namely graphemes; for example, ⟨f⟩ represents the written letter (grapheme) f.
Orthography is largely concerned with matters of spelling, and in particular the relationship between phonemes and graphemes in a language.

Free variation

freely variesfree variantsalternate forms
In other cases the choice of allophone may be dependent on the individual speaker or other unpredictable factors – such allophones are said to be in free variation.
When phonemes are in free variation, speakers are sometimes strongly aware of the fact (especially if such variation is noticeable only across a dialectal or sociolectal divide), and will note, for example, that tomato is pronounced differently in British and American English ( and respectively), or that either has two pronunciations that are distributed fairly randomly.

Phonology

phonologicalphonologicallyphonologist
Later, it was used and redefined in generative linguistics, most famously by Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle, and remains central to many accounts of the development of modern phonology.
It has traditionally focused largely on the study of the systems of phonemes in particular languages (and therefore used to be also called phonemics, or phonematics), but it may also cover any linguistic analysis either at a level beneath the word (including syllable, onset and rime, articulatory gestures, articulatory features, mora, etc.) or at all levels of language where sound is considered to be structured for conveying linguistic meaning.

Bracket

parenthesesbracketsparenthesis
Thus represents a sequence of three phonemes,, (the word push in standard English), while represents the phonetic sequence of sounds (aspirated p),, (the usual pronunciation of push). This is not to be confused with the similar convention of the use of angle brackets to enclose the units of orthography, namely graphemes; for example, ⟨f⟩ represents the written letter (grapheme) f. However, a phoneme is generally regarded as an abstraction of a set (or equivalence class) of speech sounds (phones) which are perceived as equivalent to each other in a given language.
In linguistics, phonetic transcriptions are generally enclosed within brackets, often using the International Phonetic Alphabet, whereas phonemic transcriptions typically use paired slashes.

Tone (linguistics)

tonetonal languagetones
While phonemes are normally conceived of as abstractions of discrete segmental speech sounds (vowels and consonants), there are other features of pronunciation – principally tone and stress – which in some languages can change the meaning of words in the way that phoneme contrasts do, and are consequently called phonemic features of those languages.
Languages that do have this feature are called tonal languages; the distinctive tone patterns of such a language are sometimes called tonemes, by analogy with phoneme.

Chroneme

length
In the description of some languages, the term chroneme has been used to indicate contrastive length or duration of phonemes.
The noun chroneme is derived from Greek χρόνος (chrónos, time), and the suffixed -eme, which is analogous to the -eme in phoneme or morpheme.

Edward Sapir

SapirSapir, EdwardSapir tradition
The concept of the phoneme was then elaborated in the works of Nikolai Trubetzkoy and others of the Prague School (during the years 1926–1935), and in those of structuralists like Ferdinand de Saussure, Edward Sapir, and Leonard Bloomfield.
He played an important role in developing the modern concept of the phoneme, greatly advancing the understanding of phonology.

Segment (linguistics)

segmentsegmentssegmental
While phonemes are normally conceived of as abstractions of discrete segmental speech sounds (vowels and consonants), there are other features of pronunciation – principally tone and stress – which in some languages can change the meaning of words in the way that phoneme contrasts do, and are consequently called phonemic features of those languages.
In spoken languages, segments will typically be grouped into consonants and vowels, but the term can be applied to any minimal unit of a linear sequence meaningful to the given field of analysis, such as a mora or a syllable in prosodic phonology, a morpheme in morphology, or a chereme in sign language analysis.

Aspirated consonant

aspiratedaspirationunaspirated
Thus represents a sequence of three phonemes,, (the word push in standard English), while represents the phonetic sequence of sounds (aspirated p),, (the usual pronunciation of push). This is not to be confused with the similar convention of the use of angle brackets to enclose the units of orthography, namely graphemes; for example, ⟨f⟩ represents the written letter (grapheme) f. In linguistics, phonemes (usually established by the use of minimal pairs, such as kill vs kiss or pat vs bat) are written between slashes, e.g. . To show pronunciation more precisely linguists use square brackets, for example (indicating an aspirated p).
In many languages, such as Armenian, Korean, Lakota, Thai, Indo-Aryan languages, Dravidian languages, Icelandic, Ancient Greek, and the varieties of Chinese, tenuis and aspirated consonants are phonemic.

Emic unit

allo--emeEmic and etic units
These are sometimes called emic units.
Kinds of emic units are generally denoted by terms with the suffix -eme, such as phoneme, grapheme, and morpheme.

Phonotactics

phonotacticphonotacticalphonotactically
Languages do not generally allow words or syllables to be built of any arbitrary sequences of phonemes; there are phonotactic restrictions on which sequences of phonemes are possible and in which environments certain phonemes can occur.
Phonotactics (from Ancient Greek phōnḗ "voice, sound" and tacticós "having to do with arranging") is a branch of phonology that deals with restrictions in a language on the permissible combinations of phonemes.

English language

EnglishEnglish-languageen
An example is the English phoneme, which occurs in words such as cat, kit, scat, skit.
Phonological variation affects the inventory of phonemes (i.e. speech sounds that distinguish meaning), and phonetic variation consists in differences in pronunciation of the phonemes.

Complementary distribution

complimentaryconditional allophonesconditioned variation
For example, English has no minimal pair for the sounds (as in hat) and (as in bang), and the fact that they can be shown to be in complementary distribution could be used to argue for their being allophones of the same phoneme.
For instance, in English, and are allophones of the phoneme because they occur in complementary distribution.

Underlying representation

underlyingunderlying formsurface form
In this way, phonemes are often considered to constitute an abstract underlying representation for segments of words, while speech sounds make up the corresponding phonetic realization, or surface form.
In many cases, the underlying form is simply the phonemic form.

Phonetics

phoneticphoneticallyphonetician
In this way, phonemes are often considered to constitute an abstract underlying representation for segments of words, while speech sounds make up the corresponding phonetic realization, or surface form.
Other positions of the glottis, such as breathy and creaky voice, are used in a number of languages, like Jalapa Mazatec, to contrast phonemes while in other languages, like English, they exist allophonically.

Stress (linguistics)

stressstressedunstressed
While phonemes are normally conceived of as abstractions of discrete segmental speech sounds (vowels and consonants), there are other features of pronunciation – principally tone and stress – which in some languages can change the meaning of words in the way that phoneme contrasts do, and are consequently called phonemic features of those languages.
In such languages with variable stress, stress may be phonemic in that it can serve to distinguish otherwise identical words.

Mikołaj Kruszewski

The term phoneme as an abstraction was developed by the Polish linguist Jan Niecisław Baudouin de Courtenay and his student Mikołaj Kruszewski during 1875–1895.
Mikołaj Habdank Kruszewski, (Russianized, Nikolay Vyacheslavovich Krushevsky, Никола́й Вячесла́вович Круше́вский) (December 18, 1851, Lutsk – November 12, 1887, Kazan) was a Polish linguist, most significant as the co-inventor of the concept of phonemes, and relative of Anya Lucia Kruszewski.

Abstraction

abstractabstract thinkingabstractions
The term phoneme as an abstraction was developed by the Polish linguist Jan Niecisław Baudouin de Courtenay and his student Mikołaj Kruszewski during 1875–1895. However, a phoneme is generally regarded as an abstraction of a set (or equivalence class) of speech sounds (phones) which are perceived as equivalent to each other in a given language.
A commonly used abstraction, the phoneme, abstracts speech sounds in such a way as to neglect details that cannot serve to differentiate meaning.

Daniel Jones (phonetician)

Daniel JonesJones, Daniel
Daniel Jones became the first linguist in the western world to use the term phoneme in its current sense, employing the word in his article "The phonetic structure of the Sechuana Language".
He became the first linguist in the western world to use the term phoneme in its current sense, employing the word in his article "The phonetic structure of the Sechuana Language".

Structuralism

structuraliststructuralstructuralists
The concept of the phoneme was then elaborated in the works of Nikolai Trubetzkoy and others of the Prague School (during the years 1926–1935), and in those of structuralists like Ferdinand de Saussure, Edward Sapir, and Leonard Bloomfield.
Thus in English the sounds /p/ and /b/ represent distinct phonemes because there are cases (minimal pairs) where the contrast between the two is the only difference between two distinct words (e.g. 'pat' and 'bat').