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Do You Have An Accent? Take The Minimal Pairs Test

This is a minimal pairs test used by Christopher Strelluf, a graduate student at the University of Missouri, who is studying how people in Kansas City talk.

This is a list of words that have one phonological difference. Some of the pairs are controls, as in they're pronounced the same.

Read the list aloud to see where you make distinctly different pronunciations, and where you might be merged. You might be surprised to find that some of words that you think you say very differently don't come out so distinctly after all.

  1. dew do
  2. but bet
  3. reed read
  4. pin pen
  5. full fool
  6. pill peel
  7. cot caught
  8. sell sale
  9. dawn Don
  10. know no
  11. hair her
  12. pull pool
  13. bowl bull
  14. gym gem
  15. Polly Pauley
Every part of the present has been shaped by actions that took place in the past, but too often that context is left out. As a podcast producer for KCUR Studios and host of the podcast A People’s History of Kansas City, I aim to provide context, clarity, empathy and deeper, nuanced perspectives on how the events and people in the past have shaped our community today. In that role, and as an occasional announcer and reporter, I want to entertain, inform, make you think, expose something new and cultivate a deeper shared human connection about how the passage of time affects us all. Reach me at hogansm@kcur.org.
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