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Minimal Pairs - /θ/ and /ð/

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:16 pm
by ketogene
hi there,
The pronunciation, minimal pairs section of the englishclub website is great. :-)
but there are no minimal pairs to help us learn to distinguish /θ/ and /ð/.
(At least, i couldn't find any here)

Are there plans to add a section for /θ/ and /ð/ ?
It would be a very valuable addition to the site :)

Does anyone know where i might find minimal pairs for /θ/ and /ð/ elsewhere on the internet ?

Thanks to anyone that replies :)


Re: Minimal Pairs - /θ/ and /ð/

Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:06 am
by Joe
Good question. We will get a page up, but actually there are very few minimal pairs of common words for these two sounds.

Here are a few examples:
loath (adj) - loathe (verb)
mouth (noun) - mouth (verb)
teeth (noun) - teethe (verb)
thigh (noun) - thy (determiner, archaic)

Re: Minimal Pairs - /θ/ and /ð/

Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2021 1:12 pm
by ketogene
Hi there,
They are some great examples.
I hadn't thought of those. Well done !

If you're going to add a page for these sounds,
then I would like to offer you some inspiration.

(1) It's possible to 'invent' minimal pairs:
theak = /θiːk/ and theke = /ðiːk/
Of-course theak and theke don't exist, they would be used
purely for listening and pronunciation exercises.
(You might add a note to the user: 'These are nonsense words')

(2) The other possibility is to change the syllable on existing words.
It is possible to mispronounce 'thatch' as /ðætʃ/ rather than /θætʃ/
The game might be to identify the voiced or unvoiced initial syllable.
Or, the game might be, to identify the correct pronunciation.

I hope you find these suggestions useful and/or interesting.
Have a nice day