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words pronounced alike but differing in the way they are written (Russian plod, “fruit,” and plot, “raft”; porog, “threshold,” and porok, “vice”; stolb, “post,” and stolp, “pillar”).
Homophones may arise, in particular, as a result of the ability of different phonemes to coincide in pronunciation in one variant. For example, the identical pronunciation of the Russian words dog (“mastiff”) and dok (“dock”), gruzd’ (“peppery lactarius” [a kind of mushroom]) and grust’ (“sadness”), and prud (“pond”) and prut (“twig”) is the result of a specific characteristic of the Russian language: the devoicing of voiced consonants at the end of words and before a voiceless consonant. In other languages, such as French, English, and Chinese, homophones also arise from the similarity in pronunciation of words of different origin that have retained their traditional spelling.