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Affixes: the building blocks of English
Affixes: the building blocks of English

-phone Also -phonia, -phony, -phonic, and -phonous.

Sound.

[Greek phōnē, sound, voice.]

One group is of musical instruments (saxophone, sousaphone, vibraphone, xylophone) or technical terms for types of musical instrument (aerophone, a wind instrument; chordophone, a stringed instrument). Others are names for devices connected with the production or transmission of sound: gramophone, microphone, earphone, megaphone, telephone.

Another group is concerned with speech. Some members denote individuals who use a specified language: francophone, anglophone, lusophone (Portuguese-speaking, from Lusitania, the ancient Roman province). Others are terms in linguistics, such as allophone (Greek allos, other), any of the various phonetic realizations of a phoneme in a language, which do not contribute to distinctions of meaning; homophone (Greek homos, same), each of two or more words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling.

A few nouns exist in -phonia, for example aphonia, inability to speak through disease or damage to the larynx or mouth, and dysphonia, difficulty in speaking due to a physical disorder. Rather more are formed using -phony: cacophony (Greek kakos, bad), a harsh discordant mixture of sounds; euphony (Greek eu, well), the quality of being pleasing to the ear, polyphony (Greek polloi, many), simultaneously combining a number of musical parts in harmony.

Most nouns have related adjectives in -phonic: anglophonic, allophonic; stereophonic (Greek stereos, solid), of sound recording and reproduction using two or more channels; symphonic (Greek sun, with), having the character of a symphony or symphony orchestra. Adjectives in -phonous are less common: cacophonous, homophonous.

Other terms in -phone are considered to be compounds of phone, short for telephone, rather than examples of this form: answerphone, cardphone, cellphone, entryphone, speakerphone.

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