Heteronym (linguistics)

Heteronym (linguistics)

In linguistics, heteronyms (also known as heterophones) are words with identical spellings but different pronunciations and meanings. They may vary in vowel realisation or in stress patterns, or both. Heteronyms are a special type of homonym – they are homographs which differ in pronunciation, and are therefore not homophones. For example, the homographs "desert" (abandon) and "desert" (arid region) are heteronyms, but "mean" (intend) and "mean" (average) are not. Most heteronyms are doubles, triple heteronyms are extremely rare; one triple ("sin") is listed below. There are also heteronyms for some proper nouns. For example, the final syllable of Oregon is pronounced like the word "in" by residents of that state in the USA, while in the name of the village Oregon in Wisconsin, the final syllable is pronounced like the word "on". There are also pairs which include both initialisms and typical words, e.g., "US" and "us". Note that many of these pairs can be analyzed as initial-stress-derived nouns.

External links

* [http://www.onetrickwords.com/heteronym.html www.onetrickwords.com]
* [http://jonv.flystrip.com/heteronym/heteronym.htm The Heteronym Page]


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