LINGUIST List 10.1811

Sat Nov 27 1999

Disc: Re: Issue 10.1778 What exactly are allophones?

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Jorge Guitart, what are allophones?

Message 1: what are allophones?

Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 17:29:02 -0500 (EST)
From: Jorge Guitart <>
Subject: what are allophones?

Coming belatedly to the matter of allophones:

It seems to me that any theorizing on the allophone has to consider at all
times the fact that allophones are not really physical
entities but rather psychological ones. You can analyze a
given pronunciation phenomenon following strictly phonetic criteria and
discover that it is exactly the same phenomenon that occurred at, say, two
other previous times but miss out on the fact that the language user
thought that the first two times it was the 'same' sound while the third
time it was a 'different' sound. Conversely, three different
pronunciation phenomena were adjuged by the language user as the 'same'

Jorge Guitart
SUNY Buffalo

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