FindPhone is a DOS program that you can use to analyse phonetic data. With FindPhone, you can generate and test hypotheses in order to discover the sound patterns that are the basis for understanding the phonology of a language.


The heart of FindPhone is its fast and powerful search facility. You can search your data for any combination of phones in any type of environment. You can take stress, pitch and syllable breaks all into account when searching. As well as finding every occurrence of a pattern in your data, you can also ask FindPhone for just one example or for a frequency count. The program allows you to create classes of phones for use in searches. It will automatically set up consonant and vowel classes for you and you can produce other classes (e.g. nasals, labials or long vowels) by editing these. Because all your data is kept in memory and the search routines are highly optimized, even the most complicated searches take only a few seconds.

After searching, the results can be viewed, sorted, systematically pruned, laid out in columns, and saved in a file or printed. FindPhone can also find minimal pairs and homophones, and produce two-dimensional tables that can be used to demonstrate contrast and complementary distribution. FindPhone also contains its own consistent changes facility which you can use to convert your data to phonemic or orthographic form.

FindPhone works with data in SIL standard format. Phonetic data is entered using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). If you are unsure about what you heard, you can enter data containing uncertainties. Pitch can be recorded using contours above the phonetic transcription. The keystrokes used for entering special characters are defined by the program so that the program knows how to distinguish a phone even when it carries multiple diacritics. Special characters are supported in FindPhone in the same way as they are in other SIL programs such as SHOEBOX 2.0. Since these programs also use standard format, you can easily use them to manipulate your FindPhone data.

FindPhone is fully menu-driven and incorporates a full-featured editor. The program has a comprehensive context-sensitive on-line help system with over 200 pages of help information. FindPhone stores your current settings so each time you run the program it starts where you left off the last time. For tasks which you repeat often, you can use FindPhone's powerful macro language to save you time. A macro to help you analyse data when creating a reading primer is included with the program.

Sample Output

Below is a sample FindPhone contrastive opposition chart, showing contrast in analogous environments and complementary distribution between dental phones:


System Requirements

FindPhone will run on any IBM PC or compatible computer running MS-DOS 2.11 or higher (or equivalent DOS) with at least 512K of free RAM and a CGA, EGA, VGA or Hercules graphics display. FindPhone will work on a computer with only one floppy drive, although a computer with a hard disk or two floppy drives is recommended.

Also available is FindPhone Lite, a version of FindPhone that is suitable for use on a computer that has only 512K of RAM installed. FindPhone Lite has all the main functions that FindPhone has, but does not include the on-line help system or macro system, and does not work on machines with a Hercules graphics display.

Foreign language versions of FindPhone can be created simply by translating a text file containing a list of the program's menu and dialog box messages into another language.


Topics in the accompanying 234-page manual FindPhone User's Guide: Phonological Analysis for the Field Linguist include:

Introduction and Getting Started: installing, starting and quitting FindPhone; standard format; using menus and dialogue boxes; getting help; customizing FindPhone.

Tutorial: minimal pairs; environments; contrasts; converting data to orthographic form; sequences and digraphs; frequency counts; primer data analysis.

The Editor: basic editing skills; the record template; automatic record numbering; searching for and replacing text; the glossary.

Data: data fields; phonetic data; uncertain data; representing pitch; phonological symbols.

Searching: environment searches; phone classes; ambivalent sequences; searching for stress, pitch, syllables and syllable breaks.

Extracting: printing; sorting; layout; selecting; examples.

Advanced Topics: minimal pairs; homophones; consistent changes; rule ordering; insertion and deletion; contrastive opposition charts; complementary distribution; recording and running macros; the macro language; using FindPhone with other programs.

The manual also includes ten appendices.

Order form

FindPhone version 6.0H is available for US $3.00 plus shipping from:
Computer & Communications Services (CCS)
 (formerly International Computer Services-ICTS)    Telephone: +1 (704) 843-6067

JAARS, Inc.                         	 	    FAX:       +1 (704) 843-6500

Box 248, JAARS Road                 		    Internet:

Waxhaw, NC 28173


FindPhone version 6.0 was developed by David Bevan, working in Papua New Guinea. (Last modification prior to removal of David Bevan's email address was  12/14/95.)
Last modified: 24-May-2001
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