Subject: Re: case-sensitivity and identifiers (was Re: Wide character implementation)
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 06:21:08 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Thomas Bushnell, BSG
| Oh, ok.  That's a good point; the term "phoneme" is ambiguous I think.
| Tonal differences are sometimes phonemic and sometimes not, but I now
| understand what you mean.  Whether a tonal or length difference should be
| officially phonemic is a matter style and not any real linguistics, as
| far as I can tell.

  *sigh*  My native language has tonemes.  Yours does not.  Trust me on
  this, OK?  Go look it up if you doubt me.

  Tone is the musical tone with which you pronounce a phoneme, or more
  precisely, with the relative direction of the change of the tone
  throughout the word.

> Consider the phonemes of the word "really".  The toneme is the difference
> in pronunciation between "Really?" and "Really." and "Really!".

| Yeah, but there it's a matter of marking, which is different than tone.

  *sigh  No, this is a tone difference.  The rising tone at the end of a
  question is precisely this -- tone.  One does not usually talk about
  tonemes when dealing with the changing meaning of a sentence, but it is
  the same idea.

| A better example in English is between homographs like "conduct" (a noun,
| stress on the first syllable) and "conduct" (a verb, stress on the second
| syllable).

  No, that would be stress, not tone.  I was trying to give you an example
  of what tone is, not how the same sequence of phonemes can have different
  meaning in differing ways.

| Because stress is contextual, it's not normally counted as a phoneme.
| Tone and length are not contextual, so I think those are usually counted
| as phonemes.  But (as I said above) I think this is a pretty gray area.

  No, it is not a grey area.  It just does not apply to English.  Study
  Norwegian or Thai.

  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.