Thursday 7 February 2013

Minimal pairs galore

I received John Higgins's Don't Ask the Admiral to Show you his Pinnace this morning - a "light-hearted tour of minimal pairs" as the endorsement on the back cover of this booklet of about 50 pages reveals.

The booklet is mainly about minimal pairs and the problems non-indigenous speakers of English may encounter when using them. Germans, for example, tend to have problems with /v/ and /w/, e.g. when they talk about N. Hawthorne's The Minister's Black Whale or about whether a certain worse is verse (or is it the other way round?). I particularly like John Higgins's quip about a pole vaulter; it's to be found on p. 41.

If you share John's love of minimal pairs (of which he has collected more than 90,000), homophones and homographs, go to his website.


  1. To satisfy your curiosity about the pole-vaulter joke and find out how to buy a copy of the book besides seeing more comments on it try looking here Blog435

  2. I deliberately did not tell the joke to increase the curiosity of potential buyers. If one goes to John's web pages, one finds out how to buy the booklet by a single click with one's mouse.