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Gabriel Wyner puts a strong emphasis on studying minimal pairs to improve pronunciation. But I have yet to find a good resource for actually finding minimal pair lists.

It seems I'm not alone.

When I was beginning to study French, I spent some time searching for a list of French minimal pairs, and eventually created my own.

I feel like there should be some sort of central web site with minimal pair lists for many languages. Does such a thing exist? Or must I/we continue to seek out minimal pairs for each given language individually?

  • +1 Good question! I don't have an answer, but a key phrase that may be useful in searching is "phonological neighbours". – michau Oct 9 '16 at 17:26
  • @ChristopheStrobbe: Well, minimal pairs certainly exist independent of the L1. Studying them should clearly be done in the context of the L1 (L2, L3, .. Ln) that the student knows. But I'm looking for a starting point. Given a full list of minimal pairs, I can always choose the ones that matter to me. – Flimzy Oct 13 '16 at 10:14
  • How many languages should such a website cover? And how "complete" should it be for each individual language? (Listing all words that are minimal pairs is probably not necessary; I'm thinking of just a few illustrative example for reach relevant phoneme.) – AModHasNoName Oct 29 '16 at 19:51
  • @ChristopheStrobbe: I guess I'm envisioning something similar to forvo or RhinoSpike. That is to say, it supports a wide range of languages, possibly to different degrees. Given that minimal pair lists may not be easily crowd-sourced, that idea may really not make much sense. – Flimzy Oct 30 '16 at 14:56
  • I remember someone at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin mentioning working on a project that focuses exclusively on minimal pair training. I don't remember more details, unfortunately. – Charlotte SL Nov 1 '16 at 18:50
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After several hours of searching for a website for minimal pairs, I have become convinced that this does not exist yet, or at least not in a language that I can read fluently. The list of minimal pair resources I have collected so far is now available on my website.

A site for minimal pairs with the scope of Forvo.com or RhinoSpike would be useful, but is not mentioned on Wikipedia or on the blogs or YouTube channels of the famous polyglots out there. If I were to start creating such a resource, I would probably do it on Wikimedia Commons, which already has a Stroke Order Project (for characters in Chinese, Japanese and Korean).

  • Thanks for your extensive research! Your collection of links on your web page is now a great resource! Thanks! – Flimzy Oct 31 '16 at 12:43
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As I found no such web site, I have created one, MinimalPairs.net. At present, it only has minimal pairs for French, Dutch, American English, and Spanish, but as time permits, I intend to expand this list (volunteers welcome--submit feedback on the page to help).

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