Vowels 4 and 7, /æ/ versus /ɔ/    202 pairs      [banborn.html]

The /æ/ vowel is spelled <a> followed by two consonants or by one consonant in a monosyllable. The normal spelling of the /ɔ/ vowel is <or> but there is also <au> as in auction, <aw> in awe, <al> in all, <oar> in hoary, <our> in mourn and <ough> in nought.

This contrast is between a short and a long vowel and they are well separated in the mouth, so they are not a problem for any known group of learners.

The only taboo word pair is shat/short.

Interesting pairs include:

agonize organize
cattier courtier
family formally
flattest flautist
Mafia morphia

The mean density is 2.6%. The pairs make 113 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 56%.

acne Orkney 
action auction
  actions auctions
ad awed
adder order
  adders orders
agonize organize
  agonized organized
  agonizes organizes
  agonizing organizing
Al all
arête orate
  arêtes orates
as awes
at aught
atom autumn
  atoms autumns
ax auks 
babble bauble
  babbles baubles
back balk
  backed balked
  backing balking
  backs balks
bad bawd
bad board
ban Bourne 
bat bought
brad broad
  brads broads
bran brawn
brat brought
cabby Corby 
cad cawed		
cad chord
  cads chords
cad cord
  cads cords  
cam corm
  cams corms
can corn
  canned corned
  canning corning
  cans corns
canna corner
  cannas corners
canny corny
  cannier cornier
  canniest corniest
cap Corp 
caps corpse
Carol choral
cat caught
cat court
  cats courts
cattier courtier
Chad chawed
Chas chaws
chattel chortle
  chattels chortles
clad Claud 
dab daub
  dabbed daubed
  dabbing daubing
  dabs daubs
dally Dawley 
Dan Dawn
facet faucet
  facets faucets
fact forked
fad ford
  fads fords
family formally
fan fawn
  fanned fawned
  fanning fawning
  fans fauns
fan faun
  fans fauns
fat fort
  fats forts
fatty forty
flattest flautist
gad gaud
  gads gauds
gap gawp
  gaps gawps
Gary gory
GATT ghat
gal Gaul
  gals Gauls
gnat nought
  gnats nughts
hack hawk
  hacked hawked
  hacking hawking
  hacks hawks
had hawed
had horde
Hal hall
Halle Horley
ham haulm
harry hoary
harrier hoarier
has haws
jazz jaws
lad laud
  lads lauds
lad lord
  lads lords
mad Maud 
Maddy Maudie
Mafia morphia
mag morgue
  mags morgues
mammon Mormon 
man morn
  mans morns
  manning morning
man mourn
  manned mourned
  manning mourning
manful mournful
  manfully mournfully
manner mourner
  manners mourners
mass morse
matter mortar
  mattered mortared
  mattering mortaring
  matters mortars
Nat naught
natty naughty
  nattier naughtier 
  nattiest naughtiest
  nattily naughtily
pack pork
packer porker
  packers porkers
pad pawed
pal Paul 
pal pall
  palled palled
  palling palling
  pals palls
pan pawn
  panned pawned
  panning pawning
  pans pawns
pan porn
passion portion
  passions portions
pat port
  pats ports
  patted ported
  patting porting
patch porch
  patches porches
patter porter
  patters porters
rat wrought
sad sawed
sally sorely
Sassari sorcery
scan scorn
  scanned scorned
  scanning scorning
  scans scorns
shad shored
shall shawl
shat short
shatter shorter
span spawn
  spanned spawned
  spanning spawning
  spans spawns
spat sport
  spats sports
  spatted sported
  spatting sporting
stack stalk
  stacked stalked
  stacking stalking
  stacks stalks
swam swarm
tack talk
  tacked talked
  tacking talking
  tacks talks
tacky talkie
tarry Tory 
  tarries Tories 
tat taught
tatter tauter
wax walks 
whack walk 
  whacked walked 
  whacker walker 
  whackers walkers 
  whacking walking 
  whacks walks
yak York 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2011,
updated Chiang Mai, May 2024