After posting this question, I investigated why I don't understand the sound difference, and I found out that one of the reasons must be the different dialects that exist in the deck. I installed the sample English deck from this website, which says:

The sound files are from Forvo.com and they are in various dialects.

However, I now wonder if it is a good idea to mix the different dialects into the single deck and train my ears. Not only have I practically no experience on non-American dialects, but I cannot know which dialect it is after flipping the card. Thus, on the failed results I can't even know if it is my misunderstanding or the different dialect.

I have practically zero opportunity to talk with native English speakers and all people I have spoken and will speak with in English are non-native speakers, the vast majority of which don't even care about their pronunciation. I also have no plan to go to any English-speaking countries. I grew up with American accents as that is what is taught in school.

In this case, how should I compose my minimal pairs deck?

  • If you go to forvo and search for the word, you will probably see a few different pronunciations of it. Next to each one you will see the accent / speaker, e.g. Male from the US. You should be able to find the one that is in your download, and if it is not the accent you want you can just delete it from your deck. – Minty May 23 at 2:21
  • You mention no plans to travel and no chances to interact with native speakers. May I ask what your motivation for learning the minimal pairs is? For example, if it's for something like increasing listening comprehension for films and shows from America, for example, the answer would be different than if your goal is just native-like pronunciation. If it's for the latter, then you may need to do something more than study from an Anki deck. – Randy Josleyn May 26 at 4:37

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