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Philip Newton <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 10:39, Peter Bleackley
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Secondly, if we were to encounter a language in which [N] and [h] were
>> allophones, how would we describe the phoneme that they were allophones  
>> of?
>
> Ask a native speaker what they feel is the "idealised" version of the  
> phoneme?

In theory, it's the one with the least restricted distribution.  So if
it's [N] next to consonants, intervocalically, and finally, and it's
only [h] initially, then it's probably /N/.

In practice, of course, it may not be so simple.  If it's something like
[h] before front vowels and [N] before back vowels, and it doesn't occur
in any other contexts--e.g. in a language with a strict CV syllable
structure--then it may be harder to say.  (Probably still /N/, since
frontness, AIUI, is more of a 'positive' feature.)



	*Muke!
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