I want to test whether people are able to distinguish different phonemes from each other.

Example: men (/mɛn/) and man (/mæn/)

The user of the software is supposed to hear the correct pronunciation and then decide which of the two choices he heard. I'm searching for a good list of word pairs that especially covers sound pairs that are hard to distinguish.

I don't care about the language of the words as long as the resource clearly lists IPA and I can somehow access an audio file with the correct pronunciation.

  • 6
    What you are looking for is a list of minimal pairs. Jul 9, 2014 at 21:51
  • "People" in general are not able to "distinguish different phonemes from each other", unless they are native speakers of the language the phonemes are from. There is no such thing as "the phoneme /a/" in general; there is only the English phoneme /a/, the Malay phoneme /a/, etc. So you hafta care about the language of the words, because only native speakers of that language can be expected to tell the phonemes apart.
    – jlawler
    Jul 9, 2014 at 23:42
  • 2
    You may want to take a look at this myweb.tiscali.co.uk/wordscape/wordlist/minimal.html
    – Alex B.
    Jul 10, 2014 at 4:12
  • And just to add to what @jlawler has said, native speakers of a language can (in normal situations) by definition distinguish different phonemes of that language because that's what makes them different phonemes (ignoring things such as the McGurk effect). Jul 10, 2014 at 5:20
  • 1
    Of course; "phonemes" and "morphemes" and "words" and "clauses" -- not to mention "Equi" and "Merge" -- are terms used to describe phenomena, not phenomena per se. But so are "force" and "mass" and "acceleraton", and it would be hard to talk about physical phenomena without them.
    – jlawler
    Jul 11, 2014 at 15:00


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