- Underlying representation
In

morphophonology , the**underlying representation**(UR) or**underlying form**(UF) of amorpheme is the abstract form the morpheme is postulated to have before anyphonological rule s have applied to it. The underlying representation of a morpheme is considered to be invariable across related forms (except in cases ofsuppletion ), despite alternations among variousallophone s on the surface.In many cases, the underlying form is simply the phonemic form. For example, in many varieties of

American English the phoneme IPA|/t/ in a word like "wet" can surface either as a glottalized IPA| [tˀ] or as a flap IPA| [ɾ] , depending on environment: IPA| [ˈwɛtˀ] "wet" vs. IPA| [ˈwɛɾɚ] "wetter". In both cases, however, the underlying representation of the morpheme "wet" is the same: its phonemic form IPA|/wɛt/.In other cases, phonological rules may change the phonemes involved. In such cases, pipes ("|") or double slashes may be used in transcription to distinguish the underlying form from its phonemic realization. An example is the word "cats," which has the phonemic representation IPA|/ˈkæts/. If we take the underlying form of the English plural suffix to a '

z ' sound, as many phonologists do, then the underlying form would be IPA|//ˈkætz//. This discrepancy cannot be avoided by choosing a different underlying form of the plural: If we assume it is an 's ' sound, as it's spelled, then the word "dogs," phonemically IPA|/ˈdɒɡz/, would have the underlying form IPA|//ˈdɒɡs//. As this example illustrates, the underlying form of a morpheme is a theoretical construct, and depends on the analysis that is used.Sandhi , such as thetone sandhi of theChinese languages , is another phonological process that changes the phonemes of a morpheme from its underlying form.

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