The /ɔ/ vowel is usually spelled <or>, <our>, and <oar>, but we also see <al> in talk, <au> in gauze, <aw> in awe and <ar> after <w> in war and water. The /aɪ/ diphthong is usually spelled <iCe>, <ei> or <igh> but we also see <y> in shy, <ey> in eye, <ai> in aisle, and the letter names I and Y.
This is a contrast between a long vowel and a diphthong, fairly well separated in the mouth. It causes no problems.
Interesting pairs include:
The density figure is 5.88%. The set makes 164 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 60.3%.
aboard abide all aisle all isle all I'll applaud applied applause applies autumn item autumns items awe I awed I'd awes I's awe eye awes eyes awed eyed awing eyeing awl aisle awls aisles awl isle awls isles awl I'll backsword backside backswords backsides balk bike balked biked balking biking balks bikes ball bile bauble Bible baubles Bibles bawd bide bawds bides board bide boards bides boarding biding boarded bided boar by boar buy boars buys boar bye boars byes bore by bore buy bores buys bore bye bores byes bought bight bought bite bourn bine brawn brine brawny briny brawnier brinier brawniest briniest broad bride broads brides brought bright Broughton Brighton caught kite chawed chide corn kine corned kind court kite courts kites crore cry crores cries daw Di daw die daws dies daw dye daws dyes dawn dine dawned dined dawning dining dawns dines disport despite divorce device divorces devices Dorking diking draw dry draws dries drawing drying drawers dries fall file falling filing falls files faugh fie faun fine fauns fines fawn fine fawned find fawning fining fawns fines flaw fly flaws flies fort fight forts fights fought fight fraud fried fraught fright gaud guide Gaul guile gauze guys gnaw nigh haw hi haw hie hawing hieing haws hies haw high hawed hide hawk hike hawked hiked hawking hiking hawks hikes hawker hiker hawkers hikers hoard hide hoards hides hoarding hiding hoardings hidings horde hide hordes hides Horley highly horned hind Houghton heighten implore imply implored implied implores implies laud lied law lie laws lies lawn line lawns lines lord lied maul mile mauls miles mauled mild maunder minder maunders minders maw my morn mine morns mines mourn mine mourns mines morning mining mourning mining Morse mice mortar mitre mortars mitres mourned mind mourner miner mourners miners naught knight naughts knights naughty nightie nor nigh Nora naira Norse nice orate irate outfought outfight outlawing outlying overawed override pall pile palled piled palling piling palls piles Paul pile pauper piper paupers pipers pause pies paw pi paw pie paws pies pawed pied pawn pine pawned pined pawning pining pawns pines pork pike quart quite raw rye roared Ryde roars rise Sauchie psyche score sky scored skied scores skies seesawed seaside shore shy shored shied shores shies shorn shine slaughter slighter slaw sly small smile smalls smiles snored snide soar sigh soared sighed soars sighs soared side soreness sinus spawn spine spawns spines spore spy spores spies sport spite sported spited sporting spiting sports spites stall stile stalls stiles stall style stalled styled stalling styling stalls styles store sty stores sties store stye stores styes stormy stymie strawed stride sword side swords sides sword sighed swordsman sidesman sworn swine talk tike talks tikes tall tile taut tight tauter tighter tautest tightest tautly tightly tautness tightness taught tight tawse Thais thaw thigh thaws thighs torn Tyne tor tie tors ties tort tight wall while walled whiled walling whiling walls whiles waltzed whilst war Y wars Y's ward wide warden widen wardens widens warder wider Warley wily warn whine warned whined warning whining warns whines warn wine warp wipe warped wiped warping wiping warps wipes wart white warts whites water whiter wharf wife wharves wives worn whine worn wine wrought right wrought rite wrought write
Credit: John Higgins