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From:[personal profile] sami
Date: June 7th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC)
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English is made up of phonemes, true. But very few of them are reflected in English orthography.

For example, the /n/ sounds are, in fact, different in the words anne and anthem. This is determined by context on a level native speakers aren't even going to be consciously aware of. There are a lot of things like that, without even touching the subject of the vowel space. Or homophones. Or homonyms. You can pare down a lot, the question is what.

(Bear in mind: I am in fact a linguistics major, currently studying Phonetics and Phonology. I speak not from a position of total ignorance.)
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