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In spoken leids, a phoneme is a basic, theoretical unit o soond that disteenguishes wirds (that is, bi chyngin a phoneme in ae wird, the ootcome is anither wird that's meanin differs). The phoneme is a basic soond lith, that's lingueestic function is tae disteenguish the morphemes o a wird. Phonemes isna pheesical soonds, but abstractions. Phonemes is for ordinar seen as a faimlie o phones, that's seen as a single soond, an is pitten ower wi a common seembol. Phones that's phoneme instance variants, an represents the phonetic qualities o actual soond lithes, is kent as allophones. The basic soond unit comes oot throu phonemic analysis. Phonemic seembology is pitten atween slashes (//). A cuttit wey tae descrieve the notion o a phoneme is the wee-est differ atween wirds, that's ootcome is an unalike meanin.

A phoneme micht weel represent a wheen categorically phonetically seemilar or phonologically sib soonds. The sibness micht no be phonetically obvious, whit is itsel, ane o the kinches wi this conceptual scheme.