I posted the following here:

[Source:] p 5 of 26, by Dr Darrell Larsen

Here is an analogy involving letters:

enter image description here

To phonetics, these are all slightly different, as their forms are not identical.

To phonology, these are all the same, since, psychologically, they all represent the letter .

(Disclaimer: phonetics and phonology aren’t concerned with letters at all , only with sounds. This is just an analogy .)

This rudimentary analogy may also help.

1 Answer 1


That answer was flagged as being so similar to one posted two years earlier that it duplicated it. The flag was handled by a moderator, who deleted the post because it fitted the published reasons for deletion:

  • commentary on the question or other answers
  • asking another, different question
  • “thanks!” or “me too!” responses
  • exact duplicates of other answers
  • barely more than a link to an external site
  • not even a partial answer to the actual question

The flag indicates that the decision was not entirely unilateral.

  • 1
    To be fair to this OP, both this post and the earlier post copy an idea from somebody else in terms of the analogy with font. However, the OP's post was the one which - all due respect to the wonderful StoneyB - professionally credited the original source, as well as providing a link to them and to a resource which is both informative and helpful - a 26 page slide show explaining the difference between the phonetic and the phonemic. In addition, the image although physically large is a small part of each post. It is the descriptions that count. These are substantially different. The OP's ... Nov 26, 2015 at 16:33
  • 1
    ... description is strikingly clear and crisp, building as it does on the analogy concerned. Stoney's is very different. There was no way for the OP to use this description without referring to the original analogy, which is well used in phonetics/phonology. In short, only on the shallowest reading possible could someone even vaguely surmise that the OP's post is s dupe of the wonderful StoneyB's. A fact that I am sure @StoneyB himself would agree with. Nov 26, 2015 at 16:36
  • One other positive point about OP's post is that he directly addresses the 'phonetics' part of the question, in a way that is substantially different from the other posts there. I feel this answer should be undeleted. Nov 26, 2015 at 16:40
  • 2
    I'd be very happy for all of that to be an answer here rather than relegated to comments. I didn't deal with the flag, so I can only report the reasoning. If the reasoning is flawed, I see no reason not to undelete it, except for the fact that is so similar. OP's post as presented here appears to summarise the other in a couple of sentences, and I can't see that the descriptions "are substantially different". An answer making your points above would allow space to demonstrate how the OP's two sentences do not say the same as the earlier answer.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Nov 26, 2015 at 17:10
  • @Araucaria Just to set the record straight: The "original source" of my alphabetic analogy was Fr.Prof. Walburga von Raffler-Engel's Introduction to Linguistics course at Vanderbilt, Fall, 1965. It's such a simple and elegant device I assumed it was part of the basic toolkit of every linguistics teacher. The particular realization I posted was created by me myself in PowerPoint. Nov 26, 2015 at 20:48
  • @StoneyB And you're right, it is.:) But, you didn't say so. The OP gave their original source. Let's be straight, they stand accused of plagiarising your answer. This is completely unfair on OP. Their answer is completely unlike yours, and it explains things in a completely different way. Why aren't you sticking up for them? It seems very un-StoneyBish ... You're always my last stand! Nov 27, 2015 at 0:48
  • @StoneyB Sorry, I just realised that my defense of OP here might seem like a criticism of your post. It isn't, of course! I tried everything I could to make it not sound like one,... You are completely right, it's a famous way of illustrating this difference. And I do like you're 'A's. And this isn't an analogy that needs referencing. It's like referencing E=MC2, I suppose. OP is innocent here though. Nov 27, 2015 at 1:11
  • @Araucaria To be clear, the OP is not accused of plagiarising anything. But the answer was judged to be a duplicate of an earlier answer — that is, it says the same thing albeit worded more tersely. What we have here is a famous way of illustrating the difference, presented twice.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Nov 27, 2015 at 7:29

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