Minimal Pairs: Just a Phoneme, Toneme or Chroneme Apart

Minimal pairs are two words distinguished by only one ‘phoneme’. The phoneme is a unit of sound in speech, so for example; the words Thumb and Dumb are separated only by one phoneme, Th – D.


minimal pairs EC Brighton
minimal pairs


While Phonemes are the unit of sound, tonemes are the inflection and pitch and chronemes are the length of the units. These are highly intricate ways of viewing the sound of words but they all hark to the same field, what does the word sound like? Pronunciation is not always the focus of classes. But if the word is pronounced wrongly the listener will interpret it differently, regardless of your intentions.


The English language is notorious for spelling the same sound in multiple ways. As well as having multiple words for the same meaning. If you want to Study English in Brightonyou’ll find EC has a great selection of pronunciation activities. As well as opportunities for you to practice correct pronunciation.