As mentioned in this question, Gabriel Wyner attaches a lot of importance to minimal pairs in the early stages of learning of foreign language. Gabriel Wyner is a native speaker of English, and his examples are about native speakers of English who learn another language, or native speakers of a foreign language who learn English.
However, which phonemes in a foreign are confusable or not depends on the language(s) you already know. For example, I know several German learners of Standard Chinese who consistently pronounce 把 (pinyin
ba; I'm ignoring the tone here) as
/ba/ instead of
/pa/. (The aspirated
/pʰa/poses no problems.) By contrast, Flemish learners of Chinese quickly learnt the distinction between
/pʰ/ does not exist in Belgian Dutch) instead of pronouncing 把 as
So shouldn't the list of minimal pairs in German for a native speaker of Japanese be different from a similar list for a native speaker of English? And generally, shouldn't list of minimal paris for a given L2 be different depending on the learner's L1?