functional load: A phonemic distinction is said to have low functional load when there are not very many times when it bears contrast, that is, where it is important for distinguishing meanings; conversely, it is said to have a high functional load if it often bears contrast (for example, if there are many minimal pairs for that distinction). Distinctions with a low functional load are sometimes not represented orthographically. For instance, in a number of Zapotecan languages tone has a low functional load, and so is not written in the practical orthography. [Spanish: carga funcional]