A term used in linguistics to describe the constraints on possible sound combinations in a particular language. It is important to note that each language will have its own set of such constraints; they develop as the language develops, through the myriad interactions between grammar, spelling, phonology, contact and borrowings from other languages, etc.

In English, for example, the sound "ng" as in "ring", "song", etc., invariably occurs after a vowel, and then frequently at the end of a word. This is not always the case in other languages, of course, leading to situations such as native English speakers unable to correctly pronounce Vietnamese names like "Nguyen".

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