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 ...
user avatar
  • 2,705
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,...
user avatar
  • 66.7k
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); ...
user avatar
9 votes

Why don't minimal pairs like "быть" and "бить" prove that /ɨ/ and /i/ are separate phonemes in Russian?

This is because they are not minimal pairs. They differ in a consonant. The "бить" has soft б while "быть" has hard б.
user avatar
  • 6,213
9 votes

List of French minimal pairs

Update: I have cleaned up and organized this list significantly, and it is now available here. I had the same question as you, and ended up throwing together some perl scripts to scrape Wikipedia's ...
user avatar
  • 592
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 ...
user avatar
  • 66.7k
7 votes

List of minimal pairs in Turkish

There doesn't appear to be such a list, hence I made you one based on this word list: i o aç iç öç uç üç ad od öd af of öf uf ağ eğ iğ ah eh ıh oh ak ek ok al el il ol öl an en in on ön un ün ...
user avatar
  • 629
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 ...
user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

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/
user avatar
  • 5,416
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. ...
user avatar
  • 22.6k
5 votes

Which languages contrast /ɕ/ and /ʃ/?

As a native Polish speaker I would say that @Klaas Edema statement about Polish language was correct. Polish speakers consecutively tend to classify [ʃ] in English words as [ʂ]. Moreover, in my ...
user avatar
  • 599
5 votes

Which languages contrast /ɕ/ and /ʃ/?

You should take any such claims with a large grain of salt. While there is no question that Toda has a contrast, it is not evident that the phonetic realization is [ɕ] vs. [ʃ]. Ladefoged & ...
user avatar
  • 66.7k
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.
user avatar
  • 22.6k
5 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
  • 66.7k
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) - ...
user avatar
  • 41
4 votes

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

Djal (boy) and djall (devil) have been the source of some hilarious mix-ups.
user avatar
  • 39
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 ...
user avatar
  • 66.7k
4 votes

Georgian minimal pairs with p' t' k'

Here you go. Note also, that all these six words differ only in the first consonant, so they can be used to form a minimal pair for any two of the six consonants you are interested in. The language is ...
user avatar
  • 15.4k
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 ...
user avatar
  • 8,501
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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,369
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/ ...
user avatar
  • 2,954
3 votes

help with minimal pairs in English

Coke, pope, tote is the only one that completely avoids potential snicker-words.
user avatar
  • 66.7k
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 ...
user avatar
  • 4,348
3 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) ...
user avatar
3 votes

Which languages contrast /ɕ/ and /ʃ/?

Sanskrit contrasted three sibilants, two of which most probably were [ɕ] and [ʂ] (or [ʃ]). The former was an outcome of an Proto-Indo-Iranian affricate that developed from PIE voiceless palatalised ...
user avatar
  • 1,378
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 ...
user avatar
  • 51k
2 votes

Resource for German minimal pairs

The German word for minimal pair is Minimalpaar: de Wikipedia article You can then search for examples using that word. Here is one slideshow I encountered: Phonologie Some examples are: mahlen, ...
user avatar
  • 21

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible