Talk:Phoneme

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Background and related ideas[edit]

Someone called Bertivit has just added a second reference to an article or book apparently written in Swahili to this section, in addition to a reference to the same work in 'Other features with phonemic status'. I can't see how this reference could possibly be any use to non-Swahili-speaking users of WP. Could Bertivit write a note justifying the addition of this ref (Matlakhow Witawt, Maisha Ali. Msamiati. Kufa na kupona. (in Kiswahili's lang.) Dodoma, 2008)? Otherwise I think it should be removed. RoachPeter (talk) 11:05, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

Opening paragraph[edit]

Am I alone in finding the opening definition "A phoneme /ˈfoʊniːm/ is all the phones that share the same signifier for a particular language's phonology" completely unsatisfactory? The introduction to an article should define the topic in a clear way, not using confusing terms like "phone" which are even less well known that the word "phoneme" itself. If you are explaining something for beginners, you need to explain the unknown in terms of the known, not in terms of the even more unknown. Technical terms such as "phone" and "signifier" (terms which, I confess, despite having a degree in linguistics, I have never heard of) should be left for later in the article. Kanjuzi (talk) 03:01, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Neutralized nasal in English[edit]

The article claims under the "Archiphonemes and neutralization" section that English nasals are neutralized before consonants. But examples like downplay, hanged, dreamt, concrete and a multitude of compound words contradict this.2602:306:3642:CB90:249D:6D5C:73B0:5076 (talk) 15:01, 21 April 2016 (UTC)

There's a morpheme boundary in each case: down|play, hang|ed, dream|t. Mr KEBAB (talk) 16:00, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

No archiphonemic analysis[edit]

For example a lot of time is wasted here saying untrue things. For example, in German /x/ is actually in complementary distribution with /h/, so not really rare for final /h/ at least europe-wise. Also, the article admits this archiphonology in the case of the lack of Caucasian /k/. Furthermore, in the case of Hupa, there is a /q/ sound alone, but there is little difference between uvulars and velars. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 73.57.144.205 (talk) 07:32, 26 December 2017 (UTC)

Different ways of analysing a language phonemically[edit]

The article at present doesn't seem to make it clear that not everyone agrees on how many phonemes any particular language has. One linguist might analyse the diphthong [oj] as one phoneme, another as two, for example. It should also mention marginal phonemes, which occur only in one or two words, such as the nasal vowel in "restaurant" in some people's pronunciation. Kanjuzi (talk) 09:54, 26 December 2017 (UTC)

The idea of a marginal phoneme is briefly touched upon at Segment (linguistics), but I agree it's worth covering here too. Nardog (talk) 12:59, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
It's a bit surprising that this issue doesn't figure more prominently in the article. In the development of phoneme theory in the mid-20th century there was a great deal of debate about the possibility of alternative phonemic analyses of the phonology of a language, the debate being sometimes labelled "God's truth vs. hocus-pocus". Many of the papers are reprinted in M. Joos 'Readings in Linguistics'. This may be mainly of historical importance nowadays, but it is a issue that hasn't gone away. Maybe it is covered in another WP article? RoachPeter (talk) 15:35, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
That's certainly interesting. I think it should be added to the article, if anyone has access to a library and can find the book. Kanjuzi (talk) 15:42, 26 December 2017 (UTC)
I know languages that tripled their numbers of phonemes from the 1950s to the early 2000s - not because of language change but because of changes in phonological theory away from seeking the most parsimonious inventory to seeking an inventory that gives the best fit with phonetic reality and phonological processes.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 19:05, 26 December 2017 (UTC)

Peer Review[edit]

Hello, -This section is a good addition to the article -I think images would be a nice addition -Good use of citation in second paragraph -First paragraph needs support with citation -perhaps elaborate more on articulation bundles -the neutral nature of the article could possibly benefit from orientating the section to be more objective as opposed to comparing to spoken language — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jpeliz (talkcontribs) 03:58, 19 March 2018 (UTC)

Merge with Chereme[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Chereme was merged into phonology. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 08:50, 29 November 2018 (UTC)

I'm not sure there's much use in having a separate article for a historical term that has been entirely subsumed by this one, especially considering how little information is in that article that isn't already in this one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2620:0:1004:4:E80B:CF39:B356:4833 (talk) 17:45, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

Totally agree. A redirect pages could be created for these words. If someone else endorses, I will merge them. Peacedance (talk) 21:50, 13 October 2018 (UTC)

Endorsed. The term is largely historical/political. All the peer-reviewed sign language linguistics I've read has used "phonology" since well before the turn of the millennium. --Terpatron9000 (talk) 13:00, 23 October 2018 (UTC)

I agree as well, so I went ahead and did it. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 08:50, 29 November 2018 (UTC)


The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

"It is virtually impossible to find a minimal pair to distinguish English /ʃ/ from /ʒ/"*[edit]

Peter Ladefoged, in his book A Course in Phonetics, cites Aleutian vs allusion as one of very few such pairs in English, and then only for some speakers.

So, it is, after all, possible to find such a pair. --Theurgist (talk) 16:37, 20 August 2018 (UTC)

@Theurgist: "Virtually impossible" means very close to impossible, so it doesn't contradict there being a minimal pair. But as it is apparently likely to be misinterpreted, maybe it would be best to reword it. — Eru·tuon 17:20, 20 August 2018 (UTC)
Maybe "measure" vs. "mesher" (something that meshes)... AnonMoos (talk) 14:33, 30 August 2018 (UTC)