British Accent Academy logo

Consonant /ʒ/ versus vowels, 5 pairs     

The /ʒ/ sound occurs initially in a handful of loan words from French such as gendarme, medially in derivatives such as collision, in a few words ending in -ure such as leisure and treasure, and finally in a few words of French origin such as luge and rouge. It is the rarest of RP phonemes, occurring in only 334 words in the Mitton dictionary.

Since it does not enter any consonant clusters, there are hardly any instances of its making a minimal pair with a vowel. However there is one case of /ʒ/ versus /ɪ/

luge Louis
and one of /ʒ/ versus /eɪ/
rouge rou´┐Ż
There are also several cases where changing /ʒ/ to /ɪ/ yields a new word with /eɪ/. Whether these could be called minimal pairs is doubtful.
leisure layer
  leisured layered
pleasure player

Credit: John Higgins