Consonants /ʃ/ versus /ŋ/, 86 pairs     [goshgong.html]

The /ʃ/ sound is spelled only with <sh> in this set. The /ŋ/ sound is spelled with <ng>.

This is a contrast between a voiceless alveolar fricative and a voiced velar nasal continuant. They could hardly be more different so it is not a problem for learners.

The contrast can only occur finally. Many pairs arise from contrasting an adjective ending in -ish with a related verbal -ing form such as bookish/booking. Other interesting pairs include:

brandish branding
Danish deigning
starfish staffing

The mean density value is 0.9%. The list makes 78 semantic distinctions, a loading of 91%.

apish aping 
babyish babying 
banish banning
bash bang 
  bashing banging 
  bashed banged
bearish baring 
bearish bearing 
blackish blacking 
bluish bluing 
bookish booking 
boyish buoying
brandish branding 
brownish browning 
brutish bruiting 
burnish burning 
clash clang 
  clashing clanging 
  clashed clanged
clownish clowning 
dampish damping 
Danish deigning
devilish devilling
donnish donning 
dwarfish dwarfing 
fairish faring
fattish fatting 
flush flung 
foolish fooling 
freakish freaking 
gash gang 
  gashing ganging 
gibberish gibbering 
gosh gong 
greyish graying 
hash hang 
  hashing hanging 
hoggish hogging 
huffish huffing 
hush hung 
longish longing 
lumpish lumping 
lush lung 
mannish manning 
Moorish mooring
offish offing 
palish paling 
peckish pecking 
peevish peeving 
pettish petting 
piggish pigging 
pinkish pinking 
Polish polling
punish punning
rakish raking 
rash rang 
reddish Reading 
Romish roaming
roughish roughing 
roundish rounding 
rubbish rubbing 
rush rung 
sash sang 
shortish shorting 
sickish sicking 
slash slang 
slashing slanging 
slavish slaving 
sluggish slugging 
slush slung 
snappish snapping 
Spanish spanning
starfish staffing 
steepish steeping 
stylish styling 
swish swing 
  swishing swinging 
thievish thieving 
ticklish tickling 
uppish upping 
waggish wagging 
whitish whiting 
wish wing 
  wishing winging 
wolfish wolfing 
yellowish yellowing

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2010
updated Chiang Mai, 2024