Skip main navigation

Minimal pairs with and without aspiration

In English, the consonants /p,t,k/ are pronounced with extra breath, [p*h*ɪt], to make a contrast with /b,d,g/, [bɪt]. Practise aspiration here.

In English, the consonants /p,t,k/ are pronounced with aspiration (extra breath) at the beginning of a syllable, e.g. [phɪt]. In this way, /p,t,k/ are clearly contrasted with /b,d,g/, e.g. [bɪt]. Thus, aspiration can be used to convey a different meaning. You can practise it here.

This article is from the free online

English Pronunciation in a Global World

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now