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| -----Original Message-----
| From: Jake X
| Subject: minimal pair of English Interdentals
|
| Hi All,
| I recently reread a post of several weeks ago about
| whether [T] and [D] are cophonemic in English.
| I found a minimal pair: teeth [tiT] and to teethe
| [tiD] (as in what a baby does when s/he grows the
| first teeth).  Does that prove anything?  Does anyone
| here speak a dialect which has both of those
| pronbounced the same?
| Jake

        Hi,
        We went over this a few days ago in my Intro to Descriptive
Linguistics class.
        There are two other minimal pairs:

ether (with [T]) vs. either (with [D])
        ("ether" is the sedative, "either" is "one of two choices")

Also, and this is a bit of a reach

thistle [Tisl] vs this'll [Disl]
        ("thistle" is a plant [I believe on the crest of Scotland],
        and "this'll" is a contraction of "this will")

        While English doesn't formally separate them, they are perceived as
different by most (American) native speakers, and should not be mixed.
        Generally, [D] is intervocalic, while [T] is not. However, [T] can
appear in consonant clusters. (The name "Esther" can be pronounced [estr] or
[esTr].) [D] is more common, but [T]/[D] cannot be predicted.
        (Well, sometimes it can if you go back to Old/Middle English, but I
think that's way outside the scope of the argument, and I'm not educated
enough to touch that.)

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