Allophone


A uniquely Quebecois expression, inspired by the terms Francophone and Anglophone, much used terms in Quebec for, respectively, French and English speakers. While the terms are not unheard of in English Canada, they usually have a more technical or bureaucratic use than in Quebec, where they are part of colloquial speech.

Simply put, an Allophone is a Quebecker of non-French or English origin,1 possibly, but not necessarily born abroad. It is a play on the word allo, the informal equivalent of “hello”, to indicate a newcomer (whether recently arrived, or arrived in one of the various waves of immigration in the 20th Century).

The term came into existence during Quebec’s Quiet Revolution, as Quebec politics became more preoccupied about the future of the French language, the integration of non-French speakers and the connection between them.

Allo? Comprenez-vous?

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

References

  1. Allophones in Quebec. (2013, March 4). CBC.

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  • Badriya

    The etymology of the word “allophone” is incorrect. It comes from the Greek “allos” ‘other’ and “phone” “speaker”.

  • m w

    “The term “allophone” was coined by Benjamin Lee Whorf in the 1940s. In doing so, he placed a cornerstone in consolidating early phoneme theory.[4] The term was popularized by G. L. Trager and Bernard Bloch in a 1941 paper on English phonology[5] and went on to become part of standard usage within the American structuralist tradition.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allophone

    So it is a punning reference to phonology in its use as described here–a homonym. Allophones in the sense used in this definition (people), may have difficulty in choosing the correct allophones (sounds), in the phonetic meaning of the term, in both French and English. (hair, heir; hello ‘allo’)

  • Chocol8_Knight

    I beg to differ!

    “Allo- or All-” are prefixes from Greek “Allos” that mean “different, alternate, other”.
    it could also be from “Alius” which is Latin for “different, other”!
    The man who gets the credit for originating the term, the American linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf, died in 1941, so how can the Quebec’s Quiet Revolution (1950s-1960s) bring into existence a term that came into being a decade or so earlier????

  • Chocol8_Knight

    I beg to differ!
    “Allo- or All-” are prefixes from Greek “Allos” that mean “different, alternate, other”.
    It could also be from “Alius” which is Latin for “different, other”!
    The man who gets the credit for originating the term, the American linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf, died in 1941, so how can the Quebec’s Quiet Revolution (1950s-1960s) bring into existence a term that came into being a decade or so earlier????

  • Badriya

    The etymology of `”Allophone” is incorrect. It comes from the Greek `”allos” (other) and “phone” (sound).

  • Manolo Romero Escobar

    from Wikipedia… of all places: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allophone_(Quebec)

    “The word “allophone” is formed from the Greek roots allos, meaning other, and phone, meaning sound or voice.”

    No play on “allo”, but simple Greek. We speak “other” language. I thought a bit of research on real etymology would have gone on building “parli”.

  • Albert Édouard Lebastard

    I thought allophone was formed by adding AL (autre langue) to -ophone which was already a tag for “speaker”. Francophone = French speaker, Anglophone = English speaker Allophone = Autre langue (other language) speaker.