Vowels 5 and 10, /ɑ/ versus /ʌ/    177 pairs      [harmhum.html]

The /ɑ/ vowel is usually spelled <ar> but we also find <ear> in heart, <aa> in baas, <a> in lakh and the letter name R. The /ʌ/ vowel is normally spelled <u>, but is <ou> in couple or <oCe> in some.

This contrast is between a long and a short vowel which are close together in the mouth. It is a recognised problem for Spanish, Greek and Swahili speakers and probably for other learners too.

There are several pairs involving taboo words: balm/bum, bastard/bustard and can't/cunt.

Interesting pairs include:

calmly comely
carpal couple
martyr mutter

The density value is 4.27%. The pairs make 90 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 50.8%.

baa'd bud
baas bus
baas buzz
balm bum
barbel bubble
  barbels bubbles
barge budge
  barged budged
  barges budges
  barging budging
bark buck
  barked bucked
  barking bucking
  barks bucks
barn bun
barter butter
  bartered buttered
  bartering buttering
  barters butters
bastard bustard
  bastards bustards
branch brunch
  branches brunches
calf cuff
calm come
  calmer comer
  calming coming
  calms comes
calmly comely
can't cunt
card cud
Carl cull
carp cup
  carped cupped
  carping cupping
  carps cups
carpal couple
  carpals couples
cart cut
  carter cutter
  carters cutters
  carting cutting
  carts cuts
carver cover
  carvers covers
charm chum
  charmed chummed
  charming chumming
  charms chums
clerk cluck
  clerked clucked
  clerking clucking
  clerks clucks
karmas comers
dance dunce
  dances dunces
dark duck
Darkey ducky
  Darkeys duckies
darling dulling
darn done
darned dunned
  darning dunning
  darns duns
dramas drummers
farce fuss
  farces fusses
Farsi fussy
fart phut
fast fussed
garner gunner
  garners gunners
garter gutter
  garters gutters
grant grunt
  granted grunted
  granting grunting
  grants grunts
graph gruff
haft huffed
half huff
harm hum
  harmed hummed
  harming humming
  harms hums
harsh hush	
hart hut
  harts huts
heart hut
  hearts huts  
  hearted hutted
laager lugger
  laagers luggers
lakh luck
lakhs luxe
Largs lugs
last lust
  lasted lusted
  lasting lusting
  lasts lusts
laugh luff
  laughed luffed
  laughing luffing
  laughs luffs
mark muck
  marked mucked
  marking mucking
  marks mucks
marl mull
marred mud
marsh mush
  marshier mushier
  marshiest mushiest
  marshy mushy
mart mutt
martyr mutter
  martyred muttered
  martyring muttering
  martyrs mutters
mast mussed
master muster
  mastering mustering
  masters musters
mastered mustard
masts musts
park puck
  parks pucks
parka pukka
parkas puckers
part putt
  parted putted
  parting putting
  parts putts
party puttee
  parties puttees
pass pus
plaque pluck
  plaques plucks
psalm some
psalms sums
R's us
raft roughed
sahib sub
  sahibs subs
scarf scuff
  scarfs scuffs
scarper scupper
  scarpered scuppered
  scarpering scuppering
  scarpers scuppers
scarred scud
shan't shunt
shark shuck
  sharks shucks
smart smut
  smarted smutted
  smarting smutting
  smarts smuts
sparred spud
staff stuff
  staffed stuffed
  staffing stuffing
  staffs stuffs
stark stuck
starred stud
starter stutter
  starters stutters
sari Surrey
tarn ton   
  tarns tons
tarsal tussle
  tarsals tussles
tart tut
  tarted tutted
  tarting tutting
task tusk
  tasks tusks

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2009