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What is a minimal pair?

 

Definition
 

A minimal pair is two words that differ in only one sound.

Examples (English)
 

Sounds which differ: /p/ and /b/

 
  • [lQp] ‘lap’
  • [lQb] ‘lab’
Examples (Cashinahua, Peru/Brazil)
 

Sounds which differ: /t/ and /d/

 
  • [taka] 'liver'
  • [daka] 'to rest'
 
Source:

Kensinger 1963, cited in Burquest and Payne 1993 30

See also
 

Context for this page:

Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 5 January 2004

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