The /�/ vowel is spelled <a> followed by two consonants or by one consonant in a monosyllable. The /ʌ/ vowel is normally spelled <u>, but is also <o> before nasals as come or Monday and <ou> in courage and double.
Vowel 4 is short, half open and front; vowel 10 is short, half open and mid. Very few languages have quite as thick a cluster of vowels in the half-open/open zone of the mouth as English does, so this contrast is a widespread problem. It is worst for speakers of 5-vowel languages such as Italian or Swahili, but can also pose difficulties for French, Spanish, Greek, Chinese and Japanese speakers.
The taboo word pairs are bagger/bugger, cant/cunt and fact/fucked.
Interesting pairs include:
The mean density is 4.8%. The set makes 198 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 46%.
abstract obstruct abstracted obstructed abstracting obstructing abstraction obstruction abstractions obstructions abstracts obstructs amber umber ankle uncle ankles uncles apse ups apt upped as us attar utter babble bubble babbled bubbled babbles bubbles babbling bubbling back buck backed bucked backing bucking backs bucks bad bud badge budge badges budges bag bug bagged bugged bagging bugging bags bugs bagger bugger bagger buggers baggy buggy bangle bungle bangles bungles bank bunk banked bunked banker bunker bankers bunkers banking bunking banks bunks banting bunting barrow burrow barrows burrows bass bus bast bused bat but bats butts batted butted batting butting batten button battened buttoned battening buttoning battens buttons batter butter battered buttered battering buttering batters butters batting butting battery buttery batteries butteries began begun bhangs bungs blabber blubber blabbered blubbered blabbering blubbering blabbers blubbers blander blunder brash brush baccy Buckie cab cub cabs cubs cad cud caff cuff caffs cuffs cam come cams comes camber cumber cambered cumbered cambering cumbering cambers cumbers campus compass campuses compasses canning cunning cant cunt cants cunts cap cup capping cupping caps cups capped cupped carriage courage carry curry carried curried carries curries carrying currying cat cut cats cuts champ chump champs chumps clack cluck clacked clucked clacking clucking clacks clucks clamp clump clamped clumped clamping clumping clamps clumps clang clung clank clunk clanked clunked clanking clunking clanks clunks clatter clutter clattered cluttered clattering cluttering clatters clutters countersank countersunk cracks crux cram crumb crams crumbs crash crush crashed crushed crashes crushes crashing crushing dab dub dabbed dubbed dabs dubs dabble double dabbled doubled dabbles doubles dabbling doubling dad dud dads duds dam dumb damp dump damped dumped damper dumper dampers dumpers damping dumping damps dumps Dan done dank dunk debag debug debagged debugged debagging debugging debags debugs distraction destruction drab drub drachm drum drachms drums dram drum drams drums drag drug dragged drugged dragging drugging drags drugs drank drunk fact fucked fag fug fags fugs fanfare funfair fanfares funfairs fanned fund Fanny funny farrier furrier farriers furriers farrow furrow farrowed furrowed farrowing furrowing farrows furrows fat phut flank flunk flanked flunked flanking flunking flanks flunks flash flush flashed flushed flashes flushes flashing flushing flatter flutter flattered fluttered flattering fluttering flatters flutters flax flux gal gull gals gulls galley gully galleys gullies gammy gummy gash gush GATT gut glamour glummer gnat nut gnats nuts grab grub grabbed grubbed grabbing grubbing grabs grubs hag hug hags hugs Hal hull ham hum hammed hummed hamming humming hams hums hammock hummock hammocks hummocks hang hung hank hunk hanks hunks hankers hunkers harry hurry harried hurried harries hurries harrying hurrying hash hush hashes hushes hashing hushing hassle hustle hassled hustled hassles hustles hassling hustling hatch hutch hatches hutches jag jug jagged jugged jagging jugging jags jugs jangle jungle jangles jungles lack luck lackey lucky lacks luxe lag lug lagged lugged lagging lugging lags lugs lamp lump lamps lumps lav love lavs loves ma'am mum mac muck mad mud Maddy muddy mag mug mags mugs Maggie muggy mallet mullet mallets mullets mammy mummy mammies mummies Mandy Monday Manx monks masc musk mass muss massed mussed masses musses massing mussing mat mutt matter mutter mattered muttered mattering muttering matters mutters Max mucks nab nub nabs nubs natty nutty nattier nuttier nattiest nuttiest outran outrun overhang overhung overran overrun pack puck packs pucks packer pucker packers puckers paddle puddle paddled puddled paddles puddles paddling puddling pan pun panned punned panning punning pans puns pant punt panted punted panting punting pants punts pap pup pat putt pats putts patted putted patting putting patter putter pattered puttered pattering puttering patters putters patties puttees Patty puttee plank plunk planks plunks rabble rubble rack ruck racked rucked racking rucking racks rucks raddled ruddled raffish roughish raffle ruffle raffled ruffled raffles ruffles raffling ruffling rag rug rags rugs ragged rugged raggedly ruggedly raggedness ruggedness ram rum ramble rumble rambled rumbled rambles rumbles rambling rumbling ramp rump ramps rumps rant runt rants runts rapture rupture raptures ruptures rash rush rashes rushes rat rut rats ruts ratted rutted ratting rutting redaction reduction redactions reductions reran rerun sadden sudden sally sully sallied sullied sallies sullies sallying sullying salmon summon Sandown sundown Sandy Sunday sap sup sapped supped sapping supping saps sups sapper supper sappers suppers scalped sculpt scat scut scram scrum scrams scrums shack shuck shacked shucked shacking shucking shat shut shatter shutter shattered shuttered shattering shuttering shatters shutters shrank shrunk slag slug slam slum slammed slummed slamming slumming slams slums slang slung slash slush slat slut slats sluts snaffle snuffle snaffled snuffled snaffles snuffles snaffling snuffling snag snug snags snugs span spun spank spunk spatter sputter spattered sputtered spattering sputtering spatters sputters sprang sprung stab stub stabbed stubbed stabbing stubbing stabs stubs stack stuck stag stung stamp stump stamped stumped stamping stumping stamps stumps Stan stun stand stunned stank stunk straggle struggle straggled struggled straggles struggles straggling struggling swam swum tab tub tabs tubs tabby tubby tack tuck tacked tucked tacking tucking tacks tucks Taffy toughie Taffies toughies tag tug tagged tugged tagging tugging tags tugs tammy tummy tammies tummies tanning tonning tap tup taps tups tassel tussle tasseled tussled tassels tussles tat tut tatted tutted tatting tutting tats tuts thrash thrush thrashes thrushes track truck tracks trucks tramp trump tramped trumped tramping trumping tramps trumps
Credit: John Higgins