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Definition of "phoneme" []

  • The smallest phonetic unit in a language that is capable of conveying a distinction in meaning, as the m of mat and the b of bat in English. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "phoneme" in a sentence
  • "By the 2nd millennium BC, Mesopotamian script changed from pictographic to cuneiform writing (wedge shaped signs representing sounds instead of objects), and by around 2000BC the first true alphabetic system (where a phoneme is represented by a letter) appeared."
  • "In addition, the English-Greek children also outperformed their Greek/English counterparts in phoneme awareness tasks, suggesting that learning an alphabetic language as a first one (English) promotes the level of phonological awareness (phonemic awareness)."
  • "A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a given language that can be recognized as being distinct from other sounds in the language."