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Minimal Pairs

Published on Nov 22, 2015

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Minimal Pairs

Rachel Johnson, Julie Smith, Emily Howard, Bekah Cooke

Minimal PAirs Theory

  • Signature linguistic approach
  • Addresses perception first, and then addresses production. 
  • Most useful for children with mild to moderate impairment.
  • Is an effective method for ESL clients 
  • What does the research say? 
-Minimal pairs employs pairs of words that differ only by a single phoneme.
-Appropriate to use when two or more contrasting sounds are collapsed into a single sound or when segments are deleted.
-It is designed to teach the idea that different sounds signal different meanings in words.
-Use words that are relevant to the child.
-Can use minimal (sun/tun) or maximal oppositions (gear/fear differs by place, manner, and voicing).


4-year-old Ryan Gosling deletes his final consonants.

Perceptual activity

Get active! 

Minimal PAirs Racing Game

Train Activity

For Final Consonant Deletion

Quiz question 1

  • How does the following minimal opposition differ?
  •                                two/Sue
  • Place?
  • Manner?
  • Voicing?

Quiz question 2

  • When using the minimal pairs approach:   
  • You may only use word pairs that differ minimally.
  • You can use multiple oppositions.  
  • You can use maximal oppositions. 

Quiz Question 3

  • For which level of severity is this approach most appropriate? 
  • Severe
  • Mild to moderate
  • Mild 
  • Moderate 

Quiz question 4

  • What is the purpose of the minimal pair contrast approach?  
  • To simultaneously contrast several target sounds with a comparison sound.
  • To teach the idea that different sounds signal different meanings in words.
  • To help the child learn rhyming. 
  • To remediate severe speech sound disorders.

Quiz question 5

  • For what other population is the minimal pairs approach appropriate? 

Minimal Pairs Resources