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allophone

[al-uh-fohn] /ˈæl əˌfoʊn/
noun, Phonetics
1.
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
1930-1935
1930-35; allo- + phone2
Related forms
allophonic
[al-uh-fon-ik] /ˌæl əˈfɒn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective
allophonically, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for allophone

allophone

/ˈæləˌfəʊn/
noun
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
Derived Forms
allophonic (ˌæləˈfɒnɪk) adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for 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.

Learn more about allophone with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Difficulty index for allophone

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Word Value for allophone

14
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