allophone

allophone

[al-uh-fohn]
noun Phonetics.
any of the members of a class of speech sounds that, taken together, are commonly felt to be a phoneme, as the t- sounds of toe, stow, tree, hatpin, catcall, cats, catnip, button, metal, city; a speech sound constituting one of the phonetic manifestations or variants of a particular phoneme.

Origin:
1930–35; allo- + phone2

allophonic [al-uh-fon-ik] , adjective
allophonically, adverb
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World English Dictionary
allophone (ˈæləˌfəʊn)
 
n
1.  any of several speech sounds that are regarded as contextual or environmental variants of the same phoneme. In English the aspirated initial (p) in pot and the unaspirated (p) in spot are allophones of the phoneme /p/
2.  (Canadian) a Canadian whose native language is neither French nor English
 
allophonic
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

allophone

one of the phonetically distinct variants of a phoneme (q.v.). The occurrence of one allophone rather than another is usually determined by its position in the word (initial, final, medial, etc.) or by its phonetic environment. Speakers of a language often have difficulty in hearing the phonetic differences between allophones of the same phoneme, because these differences do not serve to distinguish one word from another. In English the t sounds in the words "hit," "tip," and "little" are allophones; phonemically they are considered to be the same sound although they are different phonetically in terms of aspiration, voicing, and point of articulation. In Japanese and some dialects of Chinese, the sounds f and h are allophones.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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