Glyphs and graphemes [was Re: Cult-like behaviour]

Rhodri James rhodri at
Tue Jul 17 14:46:27 EDT 2018

On 17/07/18 19:16, Marko Rauhamaa wrote:
> MRAB <python at>:
>> "ch" usually represents 2 phonemes, basically the sounds of "t"
>> followed by "sh";
> Traditionally, that sound is considered a single phoneme:
>     <URL:>

To quote the introduction of that article, "It is often difficult to 
decide if a stop and fricative form a single phoneme or a consonant 
pair."  I'm afraid your bold assertion is more than a bit arguable.

> Can you hear the difference in these expressions:
>     high chairs
>     height shares
>     height chairs

Yes, but then I'm a trained singer.

> Try them on an English-speaking person. In a restaurant, ask for a
> "height share" and see if they bring you a high chair.

That's a different effect.  Listeners will often subconsciously make 
small "corrections" to what they hear to bring it into context.  It is 
particularly noticeable in experiments where one person repeats what 
another says while they are still speaking -- effectively simultaneous 
translation without the translation part :-)  The person repeating will 
correct small mistakes in what was originally said without ever noticing 
the error.  (Google is being annoying and not supplying me with the 
information, but I know there have been papers on this.)

> The English "tr" sound can also be considered a single affricate
> phoneme:
>     <URL:>
> Is there a difference between these expressions:
>     rye train
>     right rain
>     right train

Again, yes.  Very much so this time.

Rhodri James *-* Kynesim Ltd

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