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What are the most commonly used to least comonly used English phonemes? Answered

Here is a list of 44 phonemes. I've search all over google, but I can't find a list listing them from most commonly used, to least... Thanks for a link!




Best Answer 8 years ago

THIS would appear to be what you're looking for - An analysis of phoneme usage in a dictionary of 70,000 words.

Most commonly used vowel - 'i' as in bid.
Most commonly used consonant - 't' as in teat.
Least commonly used vowel - 'oi' as in boy.
Least commonly used consonant - 'z' as in treasure or rouge.

That is based on 'received pronunciation' - i.e. BBC newsreader English.  There will be incredibly wide regional variations. If you wanted an overall frequency of phoneme usage you'd have to relate the phoneme usage to frequency use of words - again very culture dependent.

Jack A Lopez

8 years ago

I've heard rumors of data compression algorithms designed specifically for the efficient coding of human speech. Part of the legend said that these algorithms were used in modern cell phones, to sort of squeeze the greatest amount of speech into the smallest possible amount of bandwidth. Coding by using phonemes as the symbol set sounds like an idea that makes sense... but I don't know if that's how they're really implementing it.

Searching for an answer to your question I found that speech synthesis, text-to-speech programs, really do use discrete sets of phonemes. E.g.

Maybe the thing to do is to reverse-engineer one of these programs, so that it keeps statistics on how often its using each phoneme, and then feed it large set of text, the complete works of Shakespeare, or something like that.  Maybe someone has already done this?

I think the answer is out there, although I don't know what it is.

ArbitrorJack A Lopez

Answer 8 years ago

Neat, I never knew that they worked that way! I think I'll just continue searching untill I can find some data...