Subject: Re: case-sensitivity and identifiers (was Re: Wide character implementation)
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 09:18:22 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Thomas Bushnell, BSG
| Since a phoneme is a minimal unit distinguishing two words, if there are
| two words that differ only in tone, the difference must therefore be
| phonemic.

  Apparently, this is how some people see it -- I have not seen a
  difference in tone referred to as "phonemic".  However, phonemes are
  supposed to be discrete elments of speech.  A toneme is not -- the change
  in tone usually spans several phonemes.  Therefore, it is either a
  phoneme of its own, which seems odd, or an additional speech element.
  If a "phoneme" is the _only_ smallest unit of sound it appears not
  to be possible to enumerate the phonemes of a language, any longer.

| I mentioned stress (in English, with the "conduct" example), because
| stress is also sometimes thought not to distinguish phonemes, but
| really it does.

  So when something, anything distinguishes phonemes, they become two?
  That does not appear to be useful.  It seems rather to mulitply them
  without bounds.

| What is a gray area is whether how rigid one wants to be about the
| definition of "phoneme".

  Seems if you can put whatever you want into to, it is rendered useless.

  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.