By Frederick S. Woods

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However, since most languages have infinitely many words (due to compounding), and since the alphabet A must be finite, some care must be exercised in choosing the alphabet. Typically, it will exclude the compound words, but it will have to include all idioms. We have analyzed words into sequences of letters or sounds, and sentences into sequences of words. This implies that sentences and words can always be so analyzed. This is what we shall assume throughout this book. The individual occurrences of sounds (letters) are called segments.

We call M (L–)closed if M Z L ✼ CL ✼ M ✽❂✽ . The closed sets form the so–called distribution classes of strings in a language. ZL ✼ CL ✼ M ✽❂✽ is called the Sestier–closure of M and the map S L : M ➈⑩ ZL ✼ CL ✼ M ✽❂✽ the Sestier–operator. 24 we immediately get this result. 39 The Sestier–operator is a closure operator. For various reasons, identifying terms with strings that represent them is a dangerous affair. As is well–known, conventions for writing down terms Semigroups and Strings 25 can be misleading, since they might be ambiguous.

We use the following notation. We enclose phonemes in slashes while square brackets are used to name phones. So, if [p] denotes a phone then /p/ is a phoneme containing [p]. ) An index is used to make clear which language the phoneme belongs to. For phonemes are strictly language bound. It makes little sense to compare phonemes across languages. Languages cut up the sound continuum in a different way. For example, let [p] and [p h ] be two ✫ ✮✰✫✲✱✳✧ , distinct phones, where [p] is a phone corresponding to the letter in ✫ ✫☛✪✍✧ [ph ] a phone corresponding to the letter in .

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