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Minimal pairs - INDEX


Vowel Sounds | Consonant Sounds---------- BACK


Click on "Compare" for word list to practise any pair of English phonemes listed below:

Vowel Sounds------------place & manner of articulation EXPLAINED!


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unrounded centralized half-close------ unrounded front close [long]

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unrounded centralized half-close------unrounded front betw. half-open & half-close

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unrounded front betw. half-open & half-close ------unrounded front betw. open & half-open

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unrounded front betw. half-open & half-close ------unrounded centre of tongue just above open

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unrounded front betw. half-open & half-close ------unrounded central [long]

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unrounded front betw. half-open & half-close ------Closing diphthong, starts front betw. half-open & half-close, moves upwards & slightly backwards

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unrounded front betw. open & half-open------unrounded centre of tongue just above open

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unrounded front betw. open & half-open------unrounded tongue betw. centre & back open [long]

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rounded back open -------------------rounded back betw. half-open & half-close [long]

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unrounded centre of tongue just above open---------------unrounded central [long]

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rounded centralized half-close-------------closely rounded back just below close [long]

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unrounded central betw. half-open & half-close------

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unrounded back open [long]------rounded back open

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unrounded tongue betw. centre & back open [long] ------rounded back betw. half-open & half-close [long]

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rounded back betw. half-open & half-close [long]------rounded central [long]

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rounded back betw. half-open & half-close [long]------Closing diphthong, starts betw. half-open & half-close, moves upwards & back

---------------------------DIPHTHONGS EXPLAINED and LISTS OF WORDS with common diphthongs for practice / reading aloud:
---------------------------/eɪ/ | /aɪ/ | /ɔɪ/ = Front Closing - the front of tongue moves upwards within (or towards in the case of /ɔɪ/) the front of the mouth.
--------------------------- /ɪə/ | /eə/ | /ʊə/ = Centring - the tongue starting from different positions in each case moves to the neutral position at the centre of the mouth.
---------------------------/əʊ/ | /aʊ/ = Back Closing - the back of the tongue moves upwards (a long way upwards in the case of /aʊ/) towards the "centre to back" of the mouth.


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Closing diphthong, starts front betw. half-open & half-close, moves upwards & slightly backwards------Closing diphthong, starts front betw. open & half-open, moves upwards towards /ɪ/

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Closing diphthong starts betw. open & half-open moves upwards & forwards

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Centring diphthong starts betw. half-close & close moves backwards & downwards-------------Centring diphthong, starts front betw. half-open & half-close, moves backwards

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Centring diphthong starts betw. half-close & close moves backwards & downwards-------------Centring diphthong, starts just above half-close betw. centre & back

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Centring diphthong, starts front betw. half-open & half-close, moves backwards-------------Centring diphthong, starts just above half-close betw. centre & back

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Closing diphthong, starts betw. half-open & half-close, moves upwards & back-------------rounded back open

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Closing diphthong, starts betw. half-open & half-close, moves upwards & back-------------Closing diphthong, starts open betw. front & centre, moves up & slightly back

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Closing diphthong, starts open betw. front & centre, moves up & slightly back-------------Triphthong, starts open betw. front & centre, moves up & slightly back, then slightly down to centralized vowel

The clearest guidance on The English Sound System and how English Vowel Sounds are produced is in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (pages 236-241).


Consonant Sounds---------------Practise consonant clusters --------------- BACK

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voiceless bilabial plosive------ voiced bilabial plosive

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voiceless alveolar plosive------ voiced alveolar plosive

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voiceless velar plosive------ voiced velar plosive

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voiceless labio-dental fricative------ voiced labio-dental fricative

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voiceless dental fricative------ voiced dental fricative

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voiceless dental fricative------ voiceless alveolar plosive

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voiceless dental fricative------ voiced alveolar plosive

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voiceless dental fricative------ voiceless alveolar fricative

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voiced dental fricative------ voiceless alveolar fricative

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voiced dental fricative------ voiced alveolar fricative

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voiceless alveolar fricative------ voiced alveolar fricative

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voiced alveolar nasal------ voiced velar nasal

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voiced velar nasal------ (voiced) velar nasal followed by voiceless velar plosive

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voiced alveolar lateral continuant------ voiced post-alveolar frictionless continuant

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labio-velar semi-vowel------ voiced labio-dental fricative

------Compare------ SILENT "H"

voiceless glottal fricative

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voiceless palato-alveolar fricative------ voiceless palato-alveolar affricate

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voiceless palato-alveolar fricative------ voiced palato-alveolar affricate

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voiceless palato-alveolar affricate ------voiceless alveolar plosive

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voiceless palato-alveolar affricate ------voiced palato-alveolar affricate

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voiced palato-alveolar affricate ------palatal unrounded semi-vowel

The clearest guidance on how English consonant sounds are produced is in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (pages 242-245).
David Crystal's excellent encyclopedia also explains many other things which learners & teachers of English frequently seek to know. I most highly recommend it.


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