Allophone (definition)

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Allophones are variant forms of a sound. In English, for example, the sound 't' can be pronounced two different ways. At the beginning of a syllable, as in top, it is pronounced with a burst of air (aspiration) transcribed [tʰ]; after an "s" sound, as in stop it is pronounced without this burst of air (transcribed [t]). [tʰ] and [t] are allophones of an underlying phoneme /t/.

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  • Crystal, David (1999) Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. Oxford: Blackwell.