Predictable variants of certain segments are grouped together into a contrastivephonological unitcalled a phoneme. These variants, which are referred to as allophones, are usuallyphoneticallysimilar and are frequently found in complementary distribution.Allophonic variation: is found throughout language. In fact, every speech sound weutter is anallophone of some phoneme and can be grouped together with other phoneticallysimilar soundsinto a class that is represented by a phoneme on a phonological level ofrepresentation.Caballero 4LANGUAGE-SPECIFIC PATTERNSAlthough the phenomenon of allophonic variation is universal, the patterning ofphonemes andallophones is language-specific. What is discovered for one language, may not holdtrue foranother.SYLLABLESThe syllable is usually composed of a nucleus (usually a vowel) and its associatednonsyllabicsegments.Internal structure of a syllableNucleus (N): is the syllable’s only obligatory member. It is a syllabic elementthat forms the coreof a syllable.Coda (C) consists of those elements that follow the nucleus in the same syllable.Rhyme (R) is made up of the nucleus and coda.Onset (O) is made up of those elements that precede the rhyme in the samesyllable.Caballero 5People don’t syllabify words randomly. That is because syllables comply withcertain constraintsthat prohibit them (in English) from beginning with an unnatural sequence.Constraints can be stated for each of the terminal subsyllabic units O, N, and C.Phonotactics, the set of constraints on how sequences of segments pattern, formspart of aspeaker’s knowledge of the phonology of his or her language. Example: when we tryto adjustsyllables of a foreign language, to conform with the pronunciation requirements ofour ownlanguage.FEATURESLinguists view segments as composed of smaller elements. These elements are calledfeatures:the units of phonological structure that make up segments.Speech is produced by a number of coordinated articulatory activities such asvoicing, tongueposition, lip rounding and so on. Features such as [voice], [high], [round]—features are writtenin square brackets—directly reflect this activity, in that each feature is rootedin anindependently controllable aspect of speech production.Matrix is the representation of a segment with features. Each feature or group offeatures definesa specific property of the segment. This representation is in binary terms: [+]means that afeature is present, and [-] means that it is absent.