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Allophone Problem

From:Joseph Fatula <joefatula@...>
Date:Wednesday, June 6, 2007, 9:52
I'm having a problem analyzing the phonemes of a language.  The sound
[e] only appears before voiceless consonants, while [i] can appear in
any other environment.  This leads me to think that they're allophones
of each other, except for the following problem.  Voiceless fricatives
become voiced between vowels, yet the [e] in such cases remains unchanged:

   - [nef] > [neva]
   - [niv] > [niva]

Among words with the "-a" suffix, this [e] vs. [i] distinction is the
only thing showing the difference between words like [neva] and [niva].
Are these minimal pairs?  Are [e] and [i] separate phonemes?

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David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
Daniel Prohaska <danielprohaska@...>
T. A. McLeay <conlang@...>
Dirk Elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Joseph Fatula <joefatula@...>
And Rosta <and.rosta@...>