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What is a phonetically similar segment?



Phonetically similar segments are two or more sounds which share phonetic features and are frequently found as variants of a single phonological unit in a language.


Most phonetically similar segments are adjacent to each other in a phone chart, and differ only slightly in one or two articulatory features.


Here is a table that gives examples of phonetically similar segments and the difference between the given segments.


The phonetically similar segments …

Differ in …

[p] and [b]


[p] and [f]

place of articulation and manner of articulation.

[l] and [r]

manner of articulation.

[p] and [t]

place of articulation.


Rensch 1991 29

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