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Briefly, phonemic strings consist of phonemes, language-dependent speech units that characterize linguistically significant differences in the language; loosely, phonemes represent all the sounds needed to distinguish one word from another in a given language. On the other hand, phonetic strings consist of phones, speech units that characterize the manner (puff of air, click, vocalized, etc.) and place (front, middle, back, etc.) of articulation within the human vocal tract and are thus independent of language; phones represent realized distinctions in human speech production.

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