Consonants /b/ versus /ŋ/, 38 pairs     [dubdung.html]

The spelling of /b/ is always <b> or <bb>. The /ŋ/ sound is <ng>. It can only occur finally in the syllable and must be preceded by a short vowel, which restricts the number of pairs.

The contrast is between a plosive and a nasal continuant, both voiced but widely separated in the mouth. Confusions are not likely.

Nearly all the pairs are monosyllables, often of the same part of speech which means there are few interesting pairs. Closest is tabby/tangy. Very close to being a minimal pair is blob/belong, but I have not included it in the main list. There are many occurrences of /ŋ/ in the dictionary, but most of them are -ing forms of verbs which do not make minimal contrasts within the inflection. The only contrasts which we have found involving -ing inflections are spare-rib/sparing and pen-nib/penning, neither of which is completely minimal in that there are stress differences and small differences in the length of the medial consonant.

The mean density value is 0.4%. The list makes 19 semantic distinctions, a loading of 51%.

Babs bangs
club clung
dub dung
fab fang
gab gang
gob gong
  gobs gongs
hub hung
Lib ling
lob long
  lobbed longed
  lobbing longing
  lobs longs
rib ring
  ribbed ringed
  ribbing ringing
  ribs rings
rob wrong
  robbed wronged
  robbing wronging
  robs wrongs
rub rung
  rubs rungs
slab slang
  slabs slangs
sob song
  sobs songs	
stub stung
sub sung
tab tang
  tabs tangs
tabby tangy
throb throng
  throbbed thronged
  throbbing thronging
  throbs throngs
tub tongue 
  tubs tongues 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2010.