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PH helps enforce correct usage of the phonetic "an" vs. "a" for nouns and adjectives beginning with a vowel.

          |    |       |
    I ate a  green   apple   

           |     +-------A-------+
           +-PHv-+       +---A---+
           |     |       |       |
    I ate an  edible   green   apple   

          |       |
    I ate an    apple   
The determiner "a" has the disjuncts (Ds**c+ or (PHc+ & Ds**x+) on it, while "an" has (Ds**v+ or (PHv+ & Ds**x+).

The connector Ds**c+ allows "a" to link only to nouns that begin with a consonant, unless there is an intervening modifier that begins with a vowel. In that case, the disjunct PHc+ & Ds**x+ is used. The PHc+ prevents "a" from linking to any words immediately on the right that begin with a vowel. The Ds**x+ links to any noun, as it is now too distant for any phonetic modification to have an effect.

See also the "D" connector.

Grammar Documentation Page.