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A phoneme is a distinguishing speech sound. The English language has 44 phonemes. For example, 'dog' has three phonemes: 'd', 'o' and 'g'. Here are three more phonemes: 'ch', 'sh' and 'oo'.
If you are starting to really enjoy the English language, you will find phonemes ~ and graphemes ~ a source of fascination. For instance, did you know that there are approximately 24 phonemes that are consonants and a whopping 20 phonemes that are vowels. With only 5 vowels in the English alphabet, that's quite something! If you fancy becoming a linguistic (studying languages) when you leave school, phonemes will come in very useful.
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