Th Minimal Pairs

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Eioaioai
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Th Minimal Pairs

Postby Eioaioai » 2016-09-27, 11:49

Hello everyone, I'm trying to teach my upper-level students the /θ/ and /ð/ sounds. One good way is obviously with minimal pairs, but as many of us know, there just aren't that many for this particularly difficult pair. Do you know of any good ones, or really even more obsure ones (for personal use)?

These are the ones I know of:
ether - either (pronounced /ˈiːðɚ/)
thigh - thy
teeth - teethe
birth - *birth(e)
wreath - wreathe
mouth /maʊ̯θ/ - mouth /maʊ̯ð/

*(not all dictionaries have this distinction, but I've always made it.)
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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby hashi » 2016-09-27, 23:53

I would not say that ether and either are minimal pairs because of the 'th' sound. The former's first vowel is usually /ɛ~e/ while the latter's is /i/ or /aɪ/. Furthermore, they both use /ð/ for me (not /θ/).

In some dialects, I think that bath (n) /ba:θ/ and bath (vt) /ba:ð/ can be minimal pairs. (eg: I will bath my child before dressing him).

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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby Dormouse559 » 2016-09-28, 2:57

hashi wrote:I would not say that ether and either are minimal pairs because of the 'th' sound. The former's first vowel is usually /ɛ~e/ while the latter's is /i/ or /aɪ/. Furthermore, they both use /ð/ for me (not /θ/).
I grew up pronouncing "ether" the way you suggest, but it seems the prescriptive pronunciation is /ˈiːθɚ/.

If you're teaching a pen-pin merged dialect, there's:
thin - then

I personally pronounce these next two the same, but apparently, they are distinguished:
loath - loathe
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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby mōdgethanc » 2016-09-28, 18:37

Where the fuck did you guys learn to pronounce ether? I wasn't aware there was any other way to say it.

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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby linguoboy » 2016-09-28, 19:27

mōdgethanc wrote:Where the fuck did you guys learn to pronounce ether? I wasn't aware there was any other way to say it.

I think my spelling pronunciation may have been influenced by ethereal, which I learned to pronounce with /ɛ/.
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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby hashi » 2016-09-28, 20:32

Dormouse559 wrote:
hashi wrote:I would not say that ether and either are minimal pairs because of the 'th' sound. The former's first vowel is usually /ɛ~e/ while the latter's is /i/ or /aɪ/. Furthermore, they both use /ð/ for me (not /θ/).
I grew up pronouncing "ether" the way you suggest, but it seems the prescriptive pronunciation is /ˈiːθɚ/.

Can't say I've ever heard it like this, although it's not exactly a word I hear often spoken either.

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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby OldBoring » 2016-10-04, 15:15

hashi wrote:(eg: I will bath my child before dressing him).

Bath is also a verb? :shock: Then what's the difference with the verb bath and bathe?

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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby linguoboy » 2016-10-04, 15:22

OldBoring wrote:
hashi wrote:(eg: I will bath my child before dressing him).

Bath is also a verb? :shock: Then what's the difference with the verb bath and bathe?

None--or, rather, individual preference. Those who use /bæð/ seem not to have /beːð/ in their active vocabulary.

I was trying to figure out if I have a minimal pair in width vs with, but I don't think so. Both have multiple overlapping variants.
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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby hashi » 2016-10-04, 20:40

OldBoring wrote:
hashi wrote:(eg: I will bath my child before dressing him).

Bath is also a verb? :shock: Then what's the difference with the verb bath and bathe?

I would only use the former as a transitive verb, the latter as either transitive or intransitive. Like, I would never say "I am bathing" /ba:ðiŋ/.

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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby linguoboy » 2016-10-04, 21:24

hashi wrote:
OldBoring wrote:
hashi wrote:(eg: I will bath my child before dressing him).

Bath is also a verb? :shock: Then what's the difference with the verb bath and bathe?

I would only use the former as a transitive verb, the latter as either transitive or intransitive. Like, I would never say "I am bathing" /ba:ðiŋ/.

Ooh, good catch. I wonder if for some people the distinction is transitive/intransitive.
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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby Eioaioai » 2016-10-07, 8:55

linguoboy wrote:
hashi wrote:
OldBoring wrote:
hashi wrote:(eg: I will bath my child before dressing him).

Bath is also a verb? :shock: Then what's the difference with the verb bath and bathe?

I would only use the former as a transitive verb, the latter as either transitive or intransitive. Like, I would never say "I am bathing" /ba:ðiŋ/.

Ooh, good catch. I wonder if for some people the distinction is transitive/intransitive.

Really?! I always thought it was just that pesky optional <e> that sometimes is always there, sometimes never, and sometimes sometimes. Like: a mouth vs. to mouth, a scythe vs. to scythe (if it exists), and teeth vs. to teethe. To bathe is both transitive and intransitive for me: He was bathing and He was bathing his child (both said /ˈbeɪ̯ðiŋ/).

How do you guys spell the single-word verb to give birth: to birth or to birthe? and how do you pronounce it? With /θ/ or /ð/?
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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby OyVey » 2016-10-10, 21:00

Eioaioai wrote:How do you guys spell the single-word verb to give birth: to birth or to birthe? and how do you pronounce it? With /θ/ or /ð/?
Wiktionary says it is dated or regional, and gives the [θ] pronunciation. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/birth#Pronunciation
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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby OyVey » 2016-11-01, 3:53

hashi wrote:I would not say that ether and either are minimal pairs because of the 'th' sound. The former's first vowel is usually /ɛ~e/ while the latter's is /i/ or /aɪ/. Furthermore, they both use /ð/ for me (not /θ/).
Interesting, I haven't heard that pronunciation before for ether, although I have to admit, I haven't heard that word very often. While looking it up in the dictionary, which only gives ['iθə] I ran into the word "ethyl" which it says the chemist's pronunciation is ['i:θaɪl] rather than the general pronunciation of ['eθɪl] which I thought was interesting.
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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby linguoboy » 2016-11-01, 3:59

OyVey wrote:While looking it up in the dictionary, which only gives ['iθə] I ran into the word "ethyl" which it says the chemist's pronunciation is ['i:θaɪl] rather than the general pronunciation of ['eθɪl] which I thought was interesting.

I wonder how chemists say "methane" then since it's derived from "methyl". I was surprised to hear it with /iː/ in UK English. Generally they're better at preserving Classical length distinctions than we are but the Greek etymon has <ε> rather than <η>.
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Re: Th Minimal Pairs

Postby OyVey » 2016-11-01, 4:06

linguoboy wrote:
OyVey wrote:While looking it up in the dictionary, which only gives ['iθə] I ran into the word "ethyl" which it says the chemist's pronunciation is ['i:θaɪl] rather than the general pronunciation of ['eθɪl] which I thought was interesting.

I wonder how chemists say "methane" then since it's derived from "methyl". I was surprised to hear it with /iː/ in UK English. Generally they're better at preserving Classical length distinctions than we are but the Greek etymon has <ε> rather than <η>.

My dictionary gives the same distinction for methyl:
General pronunciation ['meθɪl]
Chemist pronunciation ['mi:θaɪl]
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