Quotation by W.V. Quine

The mastery of one's phonemes may be compared to the violinist's mastery of fingering. The violin string lends itself to a continuous gradation of tones, but the musician learns the discrete intervals at which to stop the string in order to play the conventional notes. We sound our phonemes like poor violinists, approximating each time to a fancied norm, and we receive our neighbor's renderings indulgently, mentally rectifying the more glaring inaccuracies.
W.V. Quine (b. 1908), U.S. philosopher, educator. "Phonemes," Quiddities: An Intermittently Philosophical Dictionary, Harvard University Press (1987).
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