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  1. #1
    HifaMo is offline Junior Member
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    Default Is fire and fee a minimal pair?

    Hi,

    Is fire and fee a minimal pair?

    I think they are because one has a pure vowel and the other has a triphthong.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by HifaMo; 10-Apr-2013 at 14:37.

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is fire and fee a minimal pair?

    No. Fee can be half of a minimal pair only if the other half also contains a monophthong.

    This is not correct. Sorry. See post #9
    Last edited by 5jj; 12-Apr-2013 at 11:40. Reason: Mistake pointed out

  3. #3
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Is fire and fee a minimal pair?

    'Minimal' - geddit? Only one point of difference, like sigh and fie (an archaic expression of exasperation).

    b

  4. #4
    HifaMo is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Is fire and fee a minimal pair?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    No. Fee can be half of a minimal pair only if the other half also contains a monophthong.
    I understood that a word that contains a monophthong can make a minimal pair with only a word that contains a monophthong.
    And the same goes for words that contain diphthongs.
    For example, bee and bay are not a minimal pair.
    Am I correct?

    Thanks.

  5. #5
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Is fire and fee a minimal pair?

    I defer to my learned colleague, who has studied this stuff more recently than I. But I'd say that, based on the definition in #1, you seem to be right.

    b

  6. #6
    HifaMo is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Is fire and fee a minimal pair?

    Quote Originally Posted by HifaMo View Post
    I understood that a word that contains a monophthong can make a minimal pair with only a word that contains a monophthong.
    And the same goes for words that contain diphthongs.
    For example, bee and bay are not a minimal pair.
    Am I correct?

    Thanks.
    Please, I am still waiting.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is fire and fee a minimal pair?

    Quote Originally Posted by HifaMo View Post
    Please, I am still waiting.
    The grammar is correct but the message is not appropriate.

  8. #8
    HifaMo is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Is fire and fee a minimal pair?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    No. Fee can be half of a minimal pair only if the other half also contains a monophthong.
    According to the above statement, two words are minimal pair if they contain the same type vowels.
    So, /fɪə/ and /fiː/ are not minimal pair because one contains a monophthong the other a diphthong.
    However, here is an example of a list that shows the opposite.
    Vowel contrast kick versus cake

    Please, correct me.


  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is fire and fee a minimal pair?

    Quote Originally Posted by HifaMo View Post
    Please, correct me.
    There is no need. I gave incorrect information in post #2. Sorry. I must have been half asleep.

    Although the diphthongs are a glide from one vowel to a second, they are classed as phonemes in English (as are the consonants /ʧ/ and /ʤ/). Fie (/faɪ/) and fee (/fi:/) are therefore a minimal pair. However, fire and fee are not a minimal pair because, for most speakers, fire (/ˈfaɪə(r)/ has two syllables.

  10. #10
    lsah3 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Is fire and fee a minimal pair?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    However, fire and fee are not a minimal pair because, for most speakers, fire (/ˈfaɪə(r)/ has two syllables.
    Maybe in some North American accents, but certainly not in RP. It's /faɪ̯ə(r)/ not */ˈfaɪ̯.ə(r)/, that's why it's often smoothered to [fäə̯~fäː]. Were it disylabic, it wouldn't be so common - smoothering is rarer across syllable boundaries.

    I temporarily don't have my LPD (my friend borrowed it), but Cambridge dictionary shows an one syllable pronunciation in both RP and GA. What's more, it doesn't show the primary accent sign, and it does so only when the word has... one syllable. Merriam-Webster also says this word has one syllable. So does the "Oxford Dictionaries" site. So I'm afraid you're wrong, at least about RP and GA.

    So, to answer the OP's question - yes, those are minimal pairs.

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