Saturday, 17 March 2012

Entry: phonemes (n.)

In context: "By repeating this term ['justifying your seed' - JM] over and over, perhaps in the same rhythm at which you squeeze a ball, you can reduce it to an empty series of phonemes, just formants and fricatives, trochaically stressed, signifying zip."

Definition: A unit of sound in a language that cannot be analysed into smaller linear units and that can distinguish one word from another (e.g. /p/ and /b/ in English pat, bat).

Also, very interestingly: Psychiatry. An hallucination in which voices are heard. rare.

Other:  The phenomenon Wallace is talking about, reducing a word through repetition to meaninglessness, was one of my earliest interesting experiences with language. 

SNOOT score: 1

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

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