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2016-04-02 00:11:57 -0400 answered a question How words like "email" have changed pronunciation

If I understand right, you're asking about the change in pronunciation of words like "illegal" and not of words like "email", right? Also, I'm going to assume North American English, but please specify if this isn't what you had in mind—I'm sure the answer will be different outside of this context.

Assuming I guessed the above correctly, maybe this will help: I heard words like "illegal", "elocution", "equine", and "experiment" pronounced with [i] (for the bolded parts) as early as the mid-'90s (when I started noticing variation of this sort). More to the point, while I don't pronounce any of those words with [i] myself, a lot of these words have known variation—i.e., a dictionary's pronunciation key for most of them will give multiple options, or there's dialectal variation involved. I doubt any of this has anything to do with the "e-" prefix. On the other hand, such changes could happen, and may fall under the category of analogical change.

Are words like "imminent", "illustrate", and "issue" (all with [ɪ] for me) included in the list of words that you think may have changed? If not, why do you think they may be different from "illegal"? (One theory might be that unstressed /ɪ/ before /l/ is [i]-like in some varieties of English, whereas other instances of /ɪ/ are not. Or maybe it's conditioned by the following /i/—which would be a form of vowel harmony?)

2015-09-03 00:06:06 -0400 commented answer is this a minimal pair?

Also, to answer the more specific question of whether diacritics play a role in determining minimal pairs, it again depends on the language. In Russian, before /ɪ/, /k/ and /kʲ/ don't contrast (though they do before e.g. /u/), but in some language they might.

2015-09-02 22:43:31 -0400 answered a question is this a minimal pair?

These might be minimal pairs in a language like Russian where the palatalisation of the consonant affects whether you have an [ɨ] sound or an [i] sound. For example, depending on how you analyse Russian, /bɪtʲ/ and /bʲɪtʲ/ are a minimal pair ("to be" and "to beat", respectively), and surface roughly as [bɨtʲ]/[bˠɨtʲ] and [bʲitʲ]. However, in Russian, velars are always phonologically palatal, so you don't get this sort of minimal pair with /k/ (though you do get the odd borrowed word, like /kɨɾgɨzˈstan/, though most Russian speakers still say /kʲiɾˈgʲizʲija/, or at best /kʲiɾgʲizˈstan/, because there's a problem with encoding a velar followed by [ɨ] in this analysis of how Russian works).

In any case, my point is that the question of whether two utterances form a minimal pair or not can only be answered in relation to a particular linguistic variety, so some clarification might be needed on your part depending on what sort of answer you're after.

2015-09-02 20:50:20 -0400 received badge  Teacher (source)
2015-09-02 20:49:55 -0400 answered a question how to spell a Persian/Arabic name in English?

I think any of those spellings are okay. It's totally up to you, and I don't think English speakers would have too much trouble with any of them :)

That said, I could see "Arnur" being mispronounced as [ˈɒɻnɻ]. If you're going for something close to how the name would be pronounced in Russian (I'm assuming "Арнур", and if you give it stress as in Kazakh or Kyrgyz, where the name is used (sorry, I don't know enough Persian..), it would be [ɑɾˈnuɾ]), I would lean towards "Arnour" or "Arnoor", though the latter ("Arnoor") looks a little strange to me as a native English speaker. But again, it's totally up to you! I don't think you'll go wrong with any of those spellings.

2015-05-05 01:51:40 -0400 received badge  Editor (source)
2015-05-05 01:50:14 -0400 answered a question Help spelling a name: short version of Georgiy

I would just spell it "Georg". People are going to screw up a name once in a while; in my experience, English speakers can even screw up names that are fairly well attested in English. The fact that it doesn't have the "e" at the end will give them a clue that they might want to check the pronunciation, and if they say "George" every now and then, I wouldn't think it's a big deal (I've seen much worse—at least it's etymologically the same name). Otherwise, you'll be stuck naming your son "Gay-org", which is not going to be doing him any favours, especially as he's growing up (it sounds like that'll be at least partly in a primarily English-speaking part of the world?).