a phone and a phoneme

Guest   Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:30 pm GMT
What's the difference between a phone and a phoneme?
SpaceFlight   Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:36 pm GMT
The difference between a phoneme and a phone is that a phoneme produces minimal pairs or near minimal pairs, for example:

[n] and [N] are distinct phonemes because they produce minimal pairs like ''sun'' /sVn/ and ''sung'' /sVN/.

[p] and [p_h] are allophones, because they don't produce any minimal pairs or near minimal pairs in English.
Nadin   Sun Jan 15, 2006 4:27 pm GMT
A phone is a sound we produce, while a phoneme is not a pronouncable unit, but an abstract segment that subsumes a set of non-contrastive, actually realised sounds, called allophones (or phonetic variants). For instance, the phoneme /l/ has two allophones, the clear /l/ as in "lip", and the so-called dark /l/, like in "pill".
Mxsmanic   Sun Jan 15, 2006 5:17 pm GMT
Phones are any sounds of a language that can be consistently and individually produced and recognized by speakers of a language. Phonemes are phones or sets of phones that serve to distinguish meaning.

When the meaning of an utterance can be changed by replacing one phone in the utterance with another phone, the replaced phone and the phone that replaces it are both phonemes, and the two utterances are said to form a minimal pair (when there are three or more utterances that differ in only a single phone and have distinct meanings, they are said to form a minimal set).

Phonemes may correspond to specific phones, or a single phoneme may correspond to any one of a set of phones; in this latter case, the phones in the set are said to be allophones of the phoneme.

For example, /o/ and /u/ are phonemes in English because there are minimal pairs that differ only in these phonemes, such as "bone" and "boon." The English phoneme /p/ has two allophones, one with aspiration and one without it.