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14 votes
Accepted

Does a difference of tense count as a difference of meaning in a minimal pair?

Yes. A minimal pair is meant to differ in one phoneme, to demonstrate that a speaker of the language can distinguish between the two words, and therefore that the contrast is phonemic. Since the ...
b a's user avatar
  • 2,785
12 votes
Accepted

Which language has the most vowel phonemes?

This is one of those "it depends" questions. Dinka (Bor dialect) has the vowels [i e ɛ ɔ o u a], as well as long and over-long versions of these (21 vowels), and 4 phonatory contrasts (breathy, hollow,...
user6726's user avatar
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11 votes

Can loudness of speech sounds influence meaning?

Intensity is the physical correlate of loudness, and is also a correlate of stress in some languages. Moreover, stress can create differences in meaning in some languages (e.g. PRO-test vs. pro-TEST); ...
WavesWashSands's user avatar
8 votes

Does any living language contrast /kʷ/ and /kw/?

In theory, yes. Tashlhiyt Berber is said to have a contrast, but that does not mean that there are any minimal pairs. That article points to literature, saying that it is generally agreed that they ...
user6726's user avatar
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7 votes

Can loudness of speech sounds influence meaning?

In Russian the word stress is marked purely by the loudness/force of the syllable (contrary to other Slavic languages where the stress may be also marked by the length or the pitch.) This stress may ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
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6 votes
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Are there minimal pairs between normal length and long vowels in English?

Australian English has true phonemic length distinctions. Some examples: ferry /feɹi/ vs fairy /feːɹi/ Manning (name) /mænɪŋ/ vs manning /mæːnɪŋ/
curiousdannii's user avatar
  • 6,218
5 votes

Are there any minimal pairs for German lax/tense vowels?

The distinction between long and short vowels is historic, not merely orthographic. It goes back to proto-Germanic and in many cases to proto-Indo-European. As for minimal pairs, they are not rare. ...
fdb's user avatar
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5 votes

Is there good evidence for five vowel phonemes in Hittite?

There is circumstantial evidence from Elamite, where "ú" is /u/, but "u" is /aw/. These readings are very clear from the Elamite representation of Old Persian proper names.
fdb's user avatar
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5 votes
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Is there any natural language having minimal pairs over tongue root position?

Insofar as you've put creaky and breathy voice in one bin, and a three-way distinction in "ATR" in a second, you have described a situation that doesn't exist in any known language. There ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
4 votes

Does any living language contrast /kʷ/ and /kw/?

Just because a language contrasts two sounds, doesn't mean there should be minimal pairs (cf. English /h/ and /ŋ/). The IPA uses a plain w to symbolise the [w] sound (war) and a superscript ʷ for ...
Mellifluous's user avatar
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4 votes

Does any living language contrast /kʷ/ and /kw/?

Thai can be what you are looking for. It has onset clusters /kw/, /kʰw/. Quite often, they are realized as labialized velar consonants /kʷ/, /kʰʷ/. However¹, final stops like /-k/ are accompanied by a ...
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
4 votes

Are there minimal pairs between normal length and long vowels in English?

A classic example is that virtually all dialects distinguish [bid] "bid" and [bi:d] "bead". Also, dialects often distinguish [bit] "bit" and [bi:t] "bid". A "minimal pair" is a pair of words whose ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
4 votes

Are there minimal pairs for "l" vs "ll" in Albanian?

Here a few more: pulë (chicken) - pullë (button), plakë (old woman) - pllakë (plate), plumb (bullet) - pëllumb (dove), lum (river) - llum (dirt, sludge), palë (layer) - pallë (sword), kollë (cough) - ...
mensaco's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes

Are there minimal pairs between normal length and long vowels in English?

Yes, though it depends on the variety. For example in Scottish English, vowel length does not have minimal pairs since it is determined by "Aitken's law". In Standard Southern British English (SSBE) ...
Wujagoodoo's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

help with minimal pairs in English

Vowels pap, tat, cack /ɑ ~ æ/ pep, teth, kek /e ~ ɛ/ (Second word very rare, third very informal) peep, teat, keek /i/ (Is teat too anatomical for your taste?) pip, tit, kick /ɪ/ pup, tut, cuck /ʌ/ ...
iacobo's user avatar
  • 3,132
3 votes

help with minimal pairs in English

Coke, pope, tote is the only one that completely avoids potential snicker-words.
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
3 votes

Are there minimal pairs between normal length and long vowels in English?

Non-rhotic varieties of English have a number of phonemic contrasts in which vowel duration is pretty important. It might be a primary cue to the vowel contrast in some varieties, as exemplified above....
Jim's user avatar
  • 41
3 votes

Are there any minimal pairs for German lax/tense vowels?

There are many. denn/den Zinn/ziehn (dem) Sohne/(die) Sonne As for the word Mond, it's not irregular as you guessed. That syllable is structured just like gehst or klebt: onset nucleus coda ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
3 votes

What are near-minimal pairs

A minimal pair is two distinct utterances which differ in the presence of exactly one surface phone, for example [væt] and [fæt]. The premise is that you first take note of various words as they are ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
3 votes
Accepted

Is there good evidence for five vowel phonemes in Hittite?

Kloekhorst's Etymological Dictionary of the Hittite Inherited Lexicon proposes that /o/ and /u/ are separate phonemes in Hittite, but that the distinction doesn't appear in all environments: it's ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 67.1k
3 votes

Are there minimal pairs between normal length and long vowels in English?

Assuming minimal pair means contrasting phonetic forms, here is one from my midwestern American dialect: [tʰæ̃j̃k] "tank" versus [tʰæ̃:j̃k] "tannic".
Greg Lee's user avatar
  • 12.5k
2 votes

Can loudness of speech sounds influence meaning?

A contested and debated case with different opinions is the case of final obstruent devoicing in many languages; it has been claimed by a lot of research, and contested by others, that in spite of ...
Zorf's user avatar
  • 320
2 votes
Accepted

Looking for a database of minimal pairs

For future people who may need this, I ended up writing a webscraper and compiling everything from www.minpairs.talktalk.net. You can view/download the corpus here: https://docs.google.com/...
RECURSIVE FARTS's user avatar
1 vote

Are there minimal pairs between normal length and long vowels in English?

Scottish English has short vs. long in near-minimal pairs like "need" vs. "kneed", "brood" vs. "brewed", distinguished purely by vowel duration. This is pretty much only possible for the vowels /i/ ...
Jim's user avatar
  • 41
1 vote

Resource for German minimal pairs

The book of Siebs, Deutsche Aussprache (19th printing 2000) contains a list of relevant minimal pairs and some almost minimal pairs that define the different phonemes of standard High German.
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
1 vote

How to distinguish Korean "ㅔ" /e/ and "ㅐ" /ɛ/?

You can listen to some comparisons on Forvo here: 게 vs 개 모레 vs 모래 세로 vs 새로 I'm not an expert, but I find it's possible on a blind listen to consistently identify which is which! My mental model: ㅐ ...
Freewalker's user avatar

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