4.2: Allophones and Predictable Variation
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Within a phoneme category, speech sounds vary, usually in predictable ways. The variants within a phoneme category are called allophones. Allophones usually appear in complementary distribution, that is, a given allophone of one phoneme appears in one predictable environment, but the other allophones of that phoneme never appear in that environment.
- Phonemic contrast.
- Minimal pair.
- Complementary distribution.
- [l] and [l̴] are phonemically contrastive in English.
- [l] and [l̴] are in complementary distribution in English.
- The segments [t] and [ɾ] are two different phonemes in English.
- The segments [t] and [ɾ] are allophones of the same phoneme in English.