How many phonemes might be 'missing'?

Brown, Simon (2017) How many phonemes might be 'missing'? Cultural Anthropology and Ethnosemiotics, 3 (3). pp. 2-14.

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Abstract

Pairs of phoneme inventories of a language obtained from different sources rarely agree. Not only can the number of phonemes differ between sources, but some phonemes may be included in only one inventory. The inevitable inference is that the total number of phonemes listed for a language is greater than the size of either of the inventories. If two inventories are mutually incomplete, it is reasonable to infer that any inventory might be incomplete. Using independently compiled pairs of inventories it is possible to estimate a number of phonemes that might be ‘missing’. The apparent ‘completeness’ of inventories from pairs of sources in PHOIBLE Online appears to vary systematically. Based on the 119 languages for which inventories from two sources are available, and after adjusting for the source bias, it is estimated that the ‘median inventory’ could be missing 4-5 phonemes from the total phoneme inventory of the corresponding language.

Item ID: 52489
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2411-6459
Keywords: contingency analysis; distribution; missing phonemes; phoneme inventory
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2018 05:12
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200402 Computational Linguistics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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