Vowels 9 and 13, /u/ versus /eɪ/    280 pairs      [boonbane.html]

The /u/ vowel is usually spelled <oo>, <ew>, <u>, <o> after <wh> in who'll and who's, and occurs in the letter name U. The /eɪ/ diphthong is spelled in a number of ways including <aCe>, <ay>, <ei>, <ai> in waif, and occurs in the letter names A, J and K.

This is a contrast between a long vowel and a diphthong, well separated in the mouth and distinguished by lip-rounding. It is not a problem for any group of learners.

There is one taboo word pair: coon/cane.

Interesting pairs include:

allude allayed
cachou cachet
delude delayed
footle fatal
revolution revelation
toucan taken

The density figure is 5.9%. The set makes 145 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 51.8%.

ablution oblation
  ablutions oblations
allude allayed 
bloom blame 
  bloomed blamed 
  blooming blaming 
  blooms blames 
blued blade 
blues blaze 
boo bay 
  boos bays
  booed bayed 
  booing baying 
boo bey
  boos beys
boob babe 
  boobs babes 
booby baby 
  boobies babies 
boon bane 
boost based 
  boosted basted 
  boosting basting 
  boosts bastes 
boot bait 
  booted baited 
  booting baiting 
  boots baits 
boot bate
  boots bates
  booted bated
  booting bating  
booth bathe
  booths bathes 
booze bays
booze beys
brew brae 
  brews braes 
brew bray
  brew brayed
  brewing braying 
  brews brays
brewed braid 
brood brayed
brood braid
  brooded braided 
  brooding braiding 
  broods braids 
Bruce brace
bruise brays
  bruised braised 
  bruises braises 
  bruising braising 
buhl bail 
cachou cachet 
  cachous cachets 
clew clay 
coo K 
  coos K's 
cool kail
coon cane
  coons canes 
coop cape 
  coops capes 
cooper caper
  coopers capers 
coot Kate 
crews craze 
croon crane 
  crooned craned 
  crooning craning 
  croons cranes 
croup crêpe
cruise craze
  cruised crazed 
  cruises crazes 
delude delayed 
do day 
  do's days 
doom dame 
  dooms dames 
drew dray 
droop drape 
  drooped draped 
  drooping draping 
  droops drapes 
flew flay 
flue flay
  flues flays 
fluke flake 
  flukes flakes 
flume flame 
  flumes flames 
food fade 
  foods fades 
fool fail 
  fooled failed 
  fooling failing 
  fools fails 
footle fatal 
Frome frame
fruit freight 
  fruited freighted 
  fruiting freighting 
  fruits freights 
ghoul Gael
  ghouls Gaels 
ghoul gale
  ghouls gales
glued glade 
glues glaze   
gnu nay
gnu née	
gnu neigh
  gnus neighs
goo gay 
Goole Gael 
goon gain 
  goons gains 
grew gray 
groove grave 
  grooves graves 
groover graver 
groovy gravy 
group grape 
  groups grapes 
Hoo hay
hoot hate 
  hooted hated 
  hooting hating 
  hoots hatres
Hoovering Havering 
Jew J 
  Jews J's 
joule gaol 
  joules gaols 
June Jane 
lieu lay 
loo lay
  loos lays 
loom lame 
  loomed lamed 
  looming laming 
  looms lames 
loon lain 
  loons lanes 
loose lace 
  loosed laced 
  looses laces 
  loosing lacing 
loot late 
looter later 
loser laser 
  losers lasers 
lose laze
  loses lazes 
  losing lazing 
Lucy lacy
Luke lake
moo May 
mood made 
mood maid
  moods maids 
moon main 
moons mains   
moo may
  moos Mays 
moose mace 
  mooses maces 
moot mate 
  mooted mated 
  mooting mating 
  moots mates
new nay	   
new née
new neigh
news neighs
ooze A's 
pooh pay 
pool pail
  pooled paled 
  pooling paling 
  pools pails 
Pru pray
prude prayed 
revolution revelation 
  revolutions revelations 
rood raid 
  roods raids 
roost raced 
root rate 
  rooted rated 
  rooting rating 
  roots rates 
route rate
  routes rates
  routed rated
  routing rating  
rude raid
ruder raider 
rue ray 
  rues rays
rule rail 
  ruled railed 
  rules rails 
ruling railing 
  rulings railings 
rune rain 
  runes rains 
ruse rays
school scale 
  schooled scaled 
  schooling scaling 
  schools scales 
scoot skate
  scooted skated
  scooting skating
  scoots skates
scooter skater
  scooters skaters
shoes chaise 
shooed shade 
Sioux say
slew slay 		
  slewing slaying
  slews slays 
slew sleigh
  slewed sleighed 
  slewing sleighing 
  slews sleighs 
snook snake 
  snooks snakes 
soon sane 
  sooner saner 
  soonest sanest 
spook spake 
spoon Spain 
stooge stage 
  stooged staged 
  stooges stages 
  stooging staging 
stool stale 
  stools stales 
strew stray 
  strewed strayed 
  strewing straying 
  strews strays 
strewn strain 
suit sate
  suited sated 
  suits sates
  suiting sating
swoon swain 
  swoons swains 
tomb tame
  tombs tames 
tool tail 
  tooled tailed 
  tooling tailing 
  tools tails 
toucan taken 
trews trays 
Troon train 
troops traipse 
truce trace 
  truces traces 
true tray 
U yea
U's yeas
who'll hail 
who's haze 
whose haze
woo way 
  woos ways 
woo weigh
  wooed weighed
  wooing weighing 
  woos weighs
wooed wade 
woof waif 
  woofs waifs 
wound waned 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009
updated Chiang Mai, 2024