One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in prosodic analysis) denoting a segmental element of vowel or consonant features which combines with other elements such as intonation or stress.
- ‘The phonematic facts are far better explained and more simply set forth if we conceive of a separate phonemic category in which all stressed-vowel oppositions are suspended.’
- ‘The tone rules, which are essential and phonematic to Thai, dictate that the stress cannot and should not be expressed by changing the tone too much.’
1930s: from Greek phōnēma, phōnēmatik- ‘relating to a sound’.
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