Vowels 6 and 8, /ɒ/ versus /ʊ/    72 pairs      [godgood.html]

The /ɒ/ vowel is usually spelled <o> but we also find <a> after <w> in Wally and wad. The /ʊ/ vowel is spelled <oo>, <u>, or <oul> in could.

This contrast is between two short vowels, both rounded and fairly close in the mouth. However, it is not a problem for any particular set of learners, perhaps because most languages have a distinct /o/ and /u/ set of phonemes to which these sounds are allotted.

The only taboo word pair is cock/cook.

Interesting pairs include:

folly fully
hockey hooky
posse pussy

The pair posh/push became familiar in 2005 in a slogan arising from media reports about the rise in the number of Caesarian births. Middle class women, it was said, were choosing Caesarians because they were "too posh to push".

The density value is 3.67%. The pairs make 37 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 51.4%.

bollock bullock
  bollocks bullocks
botch butch
botcher butcher
  botchers butchers
box books 
cock cook
  cocked cooked
  cocking cooking
  cocks cooks
cocker cooker
  cockers cookers
cocky cookie
cod could
crock crook 
  crocked crooked
  crocking crooking
  crocks crooks
folly fully
god good
  gods goods
godly goodly
  godlier goodlier
  godliest goodliest
hock hook
  hocked hooked
  hocking hooking
  hocks hooks
hockey hooky
hod hood
  hods hoods
knock nook
  knocks nooks
lock look
  locked looked
  locking looking
  locks looks
locker looker
  lockers lookers
lockout lookout
  lockouts lookouts
pod pud
  pods puds
  podding pudding
poll pull
  polls pulls
poly pulley
  polys pulleys
posh push
posher pusher
posse pussy
pot put
  pots puts
rock rook
  rocked rooked
  rocking rooking
  rocks rooks
rockery rookery
  rockeries rookeries
rocky rookie
shock shook
shod should
sot soot 
  sots soots 
stop stoep 
  stops stoeps 
wad wood
  wads woods
  wadded wooded
wadi woody
Wally woolly
workbox workbooks 

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