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Unformatted text preview: Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction , 5 th edition, Chapter 3: Problematic distributions, 1 Problematic distributions We have seen that a minimal pair test is a quick and direct way of establishing that two sounds belong to separate phonemes in a language. If the sounds contrast, they are members of different phonemes. We have also seen that if certain sounds are noncontrastive and in complementary distribution, they may be considered allophones of a single phoneme. In some cases, however, we must go beyond these procedures to discover the phonemic inventory of a language. As noted in Section 1.1 in the textbook, certain patterns of distribution prevent some sounds in a language from ever contrasting with each other. In cases like these, we can establish the phonemic status of a sound by default. If the sound cannot be grouped together with any other phonetically similar sounds as an allophone of a phoneme, we may assume that it has phonemic status itself. The following data from English help to illustrate this point. status itself....
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This note was uploaded on 05/14/2008 for the course LING 301 taught by Professor Lin during the Spring '08 term at University of Wisconsin Colleges Online.
- Spring '08