Do you use allophone in replacement of nonnative? And, do you have more expressions meaning nonnative?

  • 1
    Do you mean non-native? – Kristina Lopez Feb 11 '14 at 19:52
  • Sounds like a disappeared Latin case. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 11 '14 at 20:45
  • Me, personally? – Tim Lymington Feb 11 '14 at 21:57
  • I mean non native speaker. Sorry for the confusion. – JoshuaFicy Feb 11 '14 at 22:47

Allophone is pretty much only used in that sense in Canada, particularly Quebec, where it means someone whose first language is neither English, French, nor one of the First Nations' languages. (So not including non-natives in Canada who do speak English or French).

It comes up because if you immigrate to Canada and don't speak either of those languages already, then whether you learn one, or the other, or both, will determine how you influence the demographics of a country which is mostly English-speaking, but with a sizeable French-speaking population, particularly in Quebec, making the numbers of such people of political interest.

Outside of Canada the word would only be understood in its more common sense, referring to the precise pronunciation of different phonemes (one of the things that makes foreigners sound foreign).

Even in Quebec, it would generally only be used in regard to those demographic issues, and their political implications.

| improve this answer | |

Allophone is a term of art in the linguistic subfield of phonology to refer to a particular variation of a phoneme.

According to Wiktionary, the word allophone is also used in Canada to refer to people whose native language is not one of the two major languages of Canada, French and English.

I'm not a Canadian, so that usage is not one that is familiar to me. I have been to Canada a few times and do not recall that term being used (and I am the kind of person who talks about language a lot), but perhaps it is just particular to certain parts of Canada where I haven't traveled—perhaps it is a common usage in language-conscious Quebec.

| improve this answer | |
  • You were too busy talking language, and not politics! The word comes from the political implications of the lingual demographics more than anything relating to the languages themselves. – Jon Hanna Feb 11 '14 at 20:07
  • Like Siouxaphone. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 11 '14 at 20:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.