Vowels 9 and 10, /u/ versus /ʌ/    134 pairs      [boonbun.html]

The /u/ vowel is usually spelled <oo>, <u>, and <ou>. The /ʌ/ vowel is usually spelled <u>, but we also find <o> in colour and smother.

This is a contrast between a long and a short vowel, fairly close in the mouth but distinguished by lip-rounding. There is some possibility of confusion, mainly due to assigning the <u> spelling to a [u] sound rather than to any listening problems.

Interesting pairs include:

poodle puddle
ruder rudder
smoother smother

The density figure is 2.83%. The set makes 66 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 49%.

blued blood 
boogie buggy
  boogies buggies
boom bum
  boomed bummed
  booming bumming
  booms bums
boon bun
boos buzz
boost bused
boost bust
  boosted busted
  boosting busting
  boosts busts
booster buster
  boosters busters
boot but
  booted butted
  booting butting
  boots butts
booze buzz
  boozed buzzed
  boozes buzzes
  boozing buzzing
boozer buzzer
  boozers buzzers
chute shut
  chutes shuts
cooed cud
cool cull
  cooled culled
  cooling culling
  cools culls
cooler colour 
  coolers colours 
coop cup
  cooped cupped
  cooping cupping
  coops cups
cooper cuppa
  coopers cuppas
coot cut
  coots cuts
doom dumb
  dooms dumbs
  doomed dumbed
  dooming dumbing
do's does
flukes flux
  ghouls gulls
gloom glum
Goole gull
goon gun
  goons guns
hoof huff
  hoofs huffs
hoot hut
  hooted hutted
  hoots huts
jute jut 
loosed lust
louvre lover
  louvres lovers
Luke luck
mood mud
  moods muds
moody muddy
  moodier muddier
  moodiest muddiest
moony money 
moose muss
  mooses musses
moot mutt
noon none 
ooze us
plume plum 
  plumed plumbed 
  plumes plumbs 
  pluming plumbing 
poodle puddle
  poodles puddles
poof puff
  poofs puffs
poop pup
  poops pups
rheum rum
roof rough
  roofed roughed
  roofing roughing
  roofs roughs
roomy rummy
roost rust
  roosted rusted
  roosting rusting
  roosts rusts
root rut
  rooted rutted
  rooting rutting
  roots ruts
rouble rubble
ruder rudder 
Rudy ruddy
rumour rummer
rune run 
school scull
  schooled sculled
  schooling sculling
  schools sculls
scoot scut
  scoots scuts
shoot shut
  shooting shutting
  shoots shuts
shooter shutter
  shooters shutters
smoother smother
soon son 
soup sup
  souped supped
  souping supping
  soups sups
spoon spun
super supper
  supers suppers
toot tut
  tooted tutted
  tooting tutting
  toots tuts
truce truss
  truces trusses
who'll hull 
whom hum 

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