One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of the various phonetic realizations of a phoneme in a language, which do not contribute to distinctions of meaning. For example, in English an aspirated p (as in pin) and unaspirated p (as in spin) are allophones of /p/, whereas in ancient Greek the distinction was phonemic.
- ‘A phone is a realization in sound of a phoneme, and an allophone is one such realization among others: for example, English /n/ is normally alveolar, but is dental before the dental fricative in ‘tenth’.’
- ‘The allophone occurs in onset position of stressed syllables whereas the unaspirated allophone [p] occurs after syllable-initial [s].’
1930s: from allo- ‘other, different’ + phoneme.
(especially in Quebec) an immigrant whose first language is neither French nor English.
- ‘Now that the Canadian and Quebec governments are trying to pick immigrants who already speak French or English, it will make it harder for allophones to do well here.’
- ‘In Quebec, the linguistic majority abuses the groups they call anglophones and allophones.’
- ‘Anglophone, francophone and allophone, we are Canadians, first of all.’
- ‘In a worried report, a Université de Montréal demographer suggests that so many francophones are moving there that by 2021 allophones and anglophones will combine to form the majority of Montreal's population.’
1970s: from allo-, on the pattern of francophone.
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