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A phone is the smallest identifiable unit that can be transcribed using an IPA symbol, which is usually classified under a phoneme (an abstract entity) in the speakers' mind, phones are grouped together as allophones of each other (or of the phoneme)

in phonetics and linguistics, it a distinct sound or gesture, regardless of whether it is critical to the meaning of the word of which it is a part.

To contrast, a phoneme is a vocal sound in a given language that, if swapped with another phoneme, would change the meaning of a given word.

Phones are unspecific to any language and are absolute while phonemes can only be discussed in terms of a specific language.

What is considered a phone or a phoneme is most often not the same between two languages. For example, in English, the difference between the /p/ sounds in "pun" (using pʰ) and "spun"(simply p) does not affect the meaning of the word. thus, [pʰ] and [p] are two distinct phones but not distinct phonemes in english.

In contrast, the same sounds ([pʰ] and [p]) in Hindi or Urdu can change one word into another: फल ([pʰal]) means "fruit" while पल ([pal]) means "moment". Therefore, in Hindi and Urdu, these words are considered phonemes.

The phonemes of a language are the features of speech that are reflected, more or less, in its writing system, while phones are the interchangeable sounds that lie under their respectful phonemic "categories".

Phones are generally vowels or consonants

A phone is a speech segment that possesses distinct physical or perceptual properties and serves as the basic unit of phonetic speech analysis.

A phonetic transcription (based on phones) is enclosed within square brackets ([ ]) rather than the slashes (/ /) of a phonemic transcription (based on phonemes). Phones (and often phonemes also) are commonly represented by using symbols of the IPA.

When phones are considered to be realizations of the same phoneme, they are called allophones of that phoneme.