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What is a phoneme?
1 years ago
A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound that is often the one thing that distinguishes one word from another. For example, cat and rat are only differentiated by the first phoneme. In many cases, a single letter represents a single phoneme, but in most cases, there are multiple ways of representing a particular phoneme in English spelling. And the case of the letter x, it is actually comprised of two phonemes /k/ & /s/. It is belief that there are 44 acceptable phonemes in English. That includes short and long vowel sounds, digraph sounds such as /sh/, /th/ (voiced and unvoiced) and /ch/, and single consonant sounds. Most people consider the dipthong sounds /oy/ and /ou/ to be single phonemes as well. Linguistically, /ng/ and /ar/, /or/, /er/, /ear/, /oar/, and schwa are also phonemes. So, a single phoneme such as /n/ may be represented by letters in numerous different ways such as n, nn, kn, gn, or pn. Phonemes can be indicated through the International phonemic alphabet or by indicating a sound between slanted lines.
1 years ago