Cross-linguistic phoneme correspondences, or metaphonemes1, can be defined across languages which are relatively closely related in exactly the same way as correspondences can be defined for dialects, or accents, of a single language (e.g. O’Connor, 1973; Fitt, 2001). In this paper we present the theory of metaphonemes, comparing them with traditional archi- and morphophonemes as well as with similar work using “keysymbols” done for accents of English. We describe the metaphoneme inventory defined for Dutch, English and German, comparing the results for vowels and consonants. We also describe some of the unexpected information that arose from the analysis of cognate forms we undertook to find the metaphoneme correspondences
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