A tentative model for dimensionless phoneme distance from binary distinctive features

Tiago Tresoldi

This work proposes a tentative model for the calculation of dimensionless distances between phonemes; sounds are described with binary distinctive features and distances show linear consistency in terms of such features. The model can be used as a scoring function for local and global pairwise alignment of phoneme sequences, and the distances can be used as prior probabilities for Bayesian analyses on the phylogenetic relationship between languages, particularly for cognate identification in cases where no empirical prior probability is available.

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