Vowels 1 and 15, /i/ and /ɔɪ/    98 pairs    [genejoin.html]

Although the diphthong /ɔɪ/ is the rarest of all English vowels, occurring in only 794 words in the Mitton dictionary, the /i/ versus /ɔɪ/ contrast still yields over twice as many pairs as the /i/ versus /ʊə/ contrast.

The vowel /i/ displays its usual range of spellings, including the letter names B, C, G and T and the musical note name ti. The /ɔɪ/ diphthong is spelled <oi> or <oy> except in the proper names Fowey and Neuss.

Interesting pairs include:

ceiling soiling
Easter oyster
litre loiter

Mean density value is 2.7% in spite of the great disparity in frequency. The 98 pairs make 59 semantic distinctions, giving a semantic loading of 60%.

alee alloy
B boy
  B's boys
B buoy
  B's buoys
be boy
be buoy
  being buoying
bead buoyed
bee boy
  bees boys
bee buoy
  bees buoys
C soy
ceiling soiling
Ealing oiling
Easter oyster
  Easters oysters
eel oil
  eels oils
Ely oily
feast foist
  feasted foisted
  feasting foisting
  feasts foists
fee Fowey 
feeble foible
feel foil
  feeling foiling
  feels foils
field foiled
G joy
  G's joys
gee joy
gene join
  genes joins
Gina joiner
green groin
  greens groins
green groyne
  greens groynes
jean join
  jeans joins
keel coil 
  keeled coiled 
  keeling coiling 
  keels coils 
keen coign 
  keens coigns 
keen coin
  keened coined 
  keener coiner 
  keening coining 
  keens coins
keen quoin
  keens quoins
key coy 
knees noise
leads Lloyd's
lean loin
  leans loins
Leeds Lloyd's
litre loiter
  litres loiters
meal moil
  meals moils
Nice Neuss 
niece Neuss
P's poise
peas poise
pease poise
pees poise
plea ploy
  pleas ploys
please ploys
quay coy
re Roy 
sea soy
seal soil
  sealed soiled
  sealing soiling
  seals soils
see soy
T toy
  T's toys
tea toy
  teas toys
teal toil
tease toys
teashop toyshop
  teashops toyshops
tee toy
  teed toyed
  teeing toying
  tees toys
ti toy
tree troy
veal voile

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