FACTOID # 18: Alaska spends more money per capita on elementary and secondary education than any other state.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Minimal pair

In phonology, minimal pairs are pairs of words or phrases in a particular language, which differ in only one phone, phoneme, toneme or chroneme and have a distinct meaning. They are used to demonstrate that two phones constitute two separate phonemes in the language. The vowels of modern (Standard) Arabic and (Israeli) Hebrew from the phonological point of view. ... A word is a unit of language that carries meaning and consists of one or more morphemes which are linked more or less tightly together, and has a phonetical value. ... Look up phone in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Tone refers to the use of pitch in language to distinguish words. ... In spoken language, a chroneme is a basic, theoretical unit of sound that can distinguish words by duration only of a vowel or consonant. ... Look up phone in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


As an example for English vowels, the pair "let" + "lit" proves that the phones [ɛ] (in let) and [ɪ] (in lit) do in fact represent distinct phonemes /ɛ/ and /ɪ/. An example for English consonants is the minimal pair of "pat" + "bat". In fact, this pair differs in voice onset time of the initial consonant as the configuration of the mouth is same for [p] and [b]; however, there is also a possible difference in duration, which visual analysis using high quality video supports. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Look up phone in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... See also consonance in music. ... In phonetics, voice onset time, commonly abbreviated VOT, is the length of time that passes between when a consonant is released and when voicing, the vibration of the vocal folds begins. ...


Phonemic differentiation may vary between different dialects of a language, so that a particular minimal pair in one accent is a pair of homophones in another. This does not necessarily mean that one of the phonemes is absent in the homonym accent; merely that it is not present in the same range of contexts. Phonemic differentiation is the phenomenon of a phoneme in a language splitting into two phonemes over time, a process known as a phonemic split. ... A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) is a variety of a language used by people from a particular geographic area. ... In linguistics, an accent is a pronunciation characteristic of a particular group of people relative to another group. ... Homonyms (in Greek homoios = identical and onoma = name) are words which have the same form (orthographic/phonetic) but unrelated meaning. ...

Contents

Examples

Differentiations in English

Following pairs prove existence of various distinct phonemes in English.

word 1 word 2 IPA 1 IPA 2 note
pin bin /pin/ /bin/ initial consonant
rot lot /rɑt/ /lɑt/
zeal seal /ziːl/ /siːl/
bin bean /bɪn/ /biːn/ vowel
pen pan /pɛn/ /pæn/
hat had /hæt/ /hæd/ final consonant

Differentiating consonants with same location and manner of articulation

In the articulation of bilabial plosives, 4 phones are defined by the characteristics voiced/unvoiced and aspirated/unaspirated: [p], [pʰ], [b] and [bʱ]. In different languages only some of these may occur and the number of phonemes formed may be different again. The bilabial plosive is a consonant sound. ...

  • In English, phones [p] as in "spin" and [pʰ] as in "pin" both occur, but are allophones of the phoneme /p/ and no minimal pair can be found to distinguish them, but the word "bin" shows that the phone [b] forms a phoneme /b/ separate from /p/.
  • In Mandarin only phones (and phonemes) [p] and [pʰ] occur. In the Pinyin transcription /pʰ/ is written "p" and /p/ is written "b" (using the two available latin letters for the two phonemes).
  • In French and many other European languages only phones (and phonemes) [p] and [b] occur.
  • In Hindi/Urdu, all four phones are separate phonemes.
  • In Thai, three phones occur and form three phonemes, as shown by the example:
word IPA meaning
ใบ /baɪ/ sheet
ไป /paɪ/ to go
ภัย /pʰaɪ/ danger

The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... In phonetics, an allophone is one of several similar phones that belong to the same phoneme. ... Mandarin, or Beifanghua (Chinese: 北方話; Pinyin: Běifānghuà; literally Northern Dialect(s)), or Guanhua (Traditional Chinese: 官話; Simplified Chinese: 官话; Pinyin: Guānhuà; literally official speech) is a category of related Chinese dialects spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. ... See also: Hindustānī classical music and Hindustan Motors. ...

Differentiating vowels

The following table shows a minimal set in French distinguishing vowels, some or all of which may sound alike to an Anglophone, because the [œ] and [y] sounds do not exist in English:

word IPA meaning
cire /siʁ/ wax
sûre /syʁ/ sure
sœur /sœʁ/ sister
sieur /sjœʁ/ sir
sueur /sɥœʁ/ sweat

Differentiating consonants

A minimal triplet of consonants in French is:

word IPA meaning
bête noire /bɛtnwaʁ/ black beast, pet peeve
baie noire /bɛnwaʁ/ black berry (not blackberry, which is mûre sauvage)
baignoire /bɛɲwaʁ/ bathtub

Because [tn] is not a single phoneme in French, this shows a minimal pair between the presence and absence of [t] next to [n], which shares its point of articulation. [n] and [ɲ] differ only in point of articulation. The BlackBerry is a wireless handheld device introduced in 1999 which supports push e-mail, mobile telephone, text messaging, internet faxing, web browsing and other wireless information services. ...


There are three verbs in Hebrew which demonstrate the distinction, in some dialects, between a velar stop and an uvular stop on one hand, and a glottal stop with and without tightening of the throat on the other: Hebrew redirects here. ...

word transcription meaning
קרא /qɔːrɔːʔ/ read, call
קרע /qɔːraʕ/ tear apart
כרע /kɔːraʕ/ kneel

In the following two Hebrew verbs, the only distinction is a glottal stop in the middle of the first word:

word transcription meaning
לראות /liːrʔoːθ/ see
לירות /liːroːθ/ shoot

In Korean, phones [ɾ] in "Korea' and [l] in "Seoul" are allophones of one phoneme and are perceived by native speakers of Korean as a single phoneme. The difference is that [ɾ] is an allophone of this phoneme before vowels.


In Spanish, [z] and [s] are both allophones of /s/. [z] appears only before voiced consonants as in mismo /mizmo/.


Differentiating chronemes

Hungarian and Italian have distinctive length of consonants, as did Latin. A differentiator for length may be called a chroneme (Note that IPA allows length to be indicating by doubling the symbol, commonly used for consonants, while generally the special lengthening sign /ː/ is used for vowels). E.g. in Italian: Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from the revision dated 2005-07-20, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... In spoken language, a chroneme is a basic, theoretical unit of sound that can distinguish words by duration only of a vowel or consonant. ...

word IPA meaning
pina /pina/ pine
pinna /pinna/ fin

Hungarian, German and Thai have distinctive vowel length, as did Latin. E.g. in Thai (and compare this example also to the one on tone): In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ...

word IPA RTGS quality meaning
เขา /kʰǎw/ khǎo short, rising tone he/she
ขาว /kʰǎːw/ khǎo long, rising tone white
เข้า /kʰâw/ khâo short, falling tone enter
ข้าว /kʰâːw/ khâo long, falling tone rice
เข่า /kʰàw/ khào short, low tone knee
ข่าว /kʰàːw/ khào long, low tone news

Differentiating tonemes

Languages such as Mandarin Chinese, Thai and many African languages. (See: pitch accent and tonal language.) For example in Thai: This article is on all of the Northern Chinese dialects. ... Map showing the distribution of African language families and some major African languages. ... Pitch accent is a kind of accent system employed in many languages around the world. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Tone (linguistics). ...

word IPA RTGS quality meaning
ขาว /kʰǎːw/ khǎ:o rising tone white
ข้าว /kʰâːw/ khâ:o falling tone rice
ข่าว /kʰàːw/ khà:o low tone news

Differentiating stress

Spanish, Romanian and Italian have many minimal pairs differing only in stress. Dutch has several, e.g. (stress indicated by acute accent):

language word IPA meaning
Dutch voorkómen /foːrˈkoːmə/ prevent
Dutch vóórkomen /ˈfoːrkoːmə/ occur
Romanian copíi /koˈpi/ children
Romanian cópii /ˈkopi/ copies

Minimal pairs may differ superficially in more than one place if one feature is dependent on the other. For example, English record (noun) and record (verb) (and similar pairs) appear superficially not to be minimal pairs for stress because they differ in vowel quality as well. However, since the differences in vowel quality are predictable consequences of the differences in stress, such pairs are considered minimal pairs. The case is similar in Russian, eg. мука ('torture, pain') and мука ('flour').


External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Minimal pairs

Minimal Pair and Minimal Triplet Pictures (etc) for Phonological Therapy & Articulation Therapy
RESOURCES FOR SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGISTS / SPEECH-LANGUAGE THERAPISTS Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Wikimedia Commons logo by Reid Beels The Wikimedia Commons (also called Commons or Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ...

  • Consonant Contrasts Australian English (non-rhotic) Minimal Pair Words and Pictures from Caroline Bowen. Most of these will "work" in other dialects of English.
  • Vowel and Diphthong Contrasts: Australian English (non-rhotic) Minimal Pair Words and Pictures from Caroline Bowen. Most of these will "work" in other dialects of English.
  • Picturable Minimal Pairs ... ... and other word lists in English from Caroline Bowen.
  • Phonological Therapy Speech-Language Pathologists' intervention "tricks" and techniques involving minimal pairs - Words and Pictures from Caroline Bowen
  • Freebies Index Many words and pictures: singleton consonant lists, revisions and repairs, minimal pairs, etc from Caroline Bowen

  Results from FactBites:
 
Fryer - Minimal Pair Card Game for Improving Pronunciation and Listening (I-TESL-J) (1467 words)
One of the difficulties a learner of a new language faces is that of minimal pairs.
Minimal pairs are a more serious problem than simple poor pronunciation or listening skills on the part of a student.
For example starting with only “S” and “Sh” pairs (sip and ship, sin and shin), then expanding to “F” and “H” (feel and heel, fit and hit), until finally they are dealing with all the various minimal pair types that are relevant to their L1 and L2 situation.
Minimal pair - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (928 words)
In phonology, minimal pairs are pairs of words or phrases in a particular language, which differ in only one phone, phoneme, toneme or chroneme and have a distinct meaning.
In fact, this pair differs in voice onset time of the initial consonant as the configuration of the mouth is same for [p] and [b]; however, there is also a possible difference in duration, which visual analysis using high quality video supports.
Phonemic differentiation may vary between different dialects of a language, so that a particular minimal pair in one accent is a pair of homophones in another.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m