Vowels 2 and 5, /ɪ/ versus /ɑ/    227 pairs    [hidhard.html]

The /ɪ/ vowel occurs only in its commonest spellings <i> or <y> in this list. The /ɑ/ vowel is most commonly <ar> but is also <a>, <aa>, <aCe> and even <er> in clerk.

These two sounds differ in length as well as being well apart in the mouth, so are very unlikely to be a problem for any learner.

There are several rude-word confusions, namely fit/fart and piss/pass.

Interesting pairs include:

binnacle barnacle
kitten carton
million Malian
mystery mastery
pillar parlour
vintage vantage

The mean density is 1.1%. The list makes 124 semantic contrasts, a loading of 54%.

behead Barrhead
bib barb 
  bibbed barbed 
  bibs barbs 
bicker barker 
  bickers barkers 
bid baa'd 
bid bard
  bids bards
bid barred
Billy barley
bin barn 
  bins barns 
binnacle barnacle 
  binnacles barnacles 
biscuit basket 
  biscuits baskets 
bit Bart
bitter barter 
  bitters barters 
biz baas 
biz bars
chid Chard 
chid charred
Chile Charlie 
chills Charles 
chintz chants 
chit chart 
  chits charts 
click clerk 
  clicked clerked 
  clicking clerking 
  clicks clerks 
Crosby crossbar
Dick dark
dicker darker 
dickey darkey
  dickeys darkeys 
din darn 
  dinned darned 
  dinning darning 
  dins darns 
drift draft 
  drifted drafted 
  drifting drafting 
  drifts drafts 
drift draught
  drifts draughts
fist fast
  fists fasts 
fit fart 
  fits farts 
  fitted farted 
  fitting farting 
giggle gargle 
  giggled gargled 
  giggles gargles 
  giggling gargling 
grist grassed 
grits Graz 
hick hark 
  hicks harks 
hid hard 
hidden harden 
him harm 
hip harp 
  hips harps 
hippie harpy 
  hippies harpies 
hit hart
  hits harts
hit heart
  hits hearts
hymn harm
  hymned harmed 
  hymning harming 
  hymns harms 
is R's 
is ares
it art 
  its arts
itch arch
  itched arched 
  itches arches 
  itching arching 
kickoff Kharkov 
kid card 
  kidded carded 
  kidding carding 
  kids cards 
kill Carl 
kin Calne 
kin khan
kip carp 
  kipped carped 
  kipping carping 
  kips carps 
kissed cast 
kissed caste
kit cart 
  kits carts 
  kitted carted 
  kitting carting
kitten carton 
  kittens cartons 
lick lakh 
  licks lakhs
lick lark
  licked larked 
  licking larking 
  licks larks
lid lard 
  lids lards
lift laughed 
list last 
  listed lasted 
  listing lasting 
  lists lasts 
liver larva
liver lava
Lynn Larne 
memorial marmoreal 
Mick Mach
Mick mark
Mick marque
mid marred 
midge marge 
mill marl 
Millie Mali 
million Malian 
  millions Malians 
misc mask
misc masque
missed mast 
mission Martian 
  missions Martians 
mist mast
  mists masts 
mister master
mitt mart 
  mitts marts 
mix marks 
mix marques
Ms mars 
mystery mastery 
nick nark
  nicked narked 
  nicking narking 
  nicks narks 
nix narks
petition partition 
  petitioned partitioned 
  petitioning partitioning 
  petitions partitions 
pick park 
  picked parked 
  picking parking 
  picks parks 
picker parka
  pickers parkas 
pillar parlour 
  pillars parlours 
piss pass 
  pissed passed 
  pisses passes 
  pissing passing 
pit part
  pits parts
  pitting parting
  pitted parted
pitch parch
  pitched parched 
  pitches parches 
  pitching parching 
pith path
pitied parted 
pity party
  pities parties 
prig Prague 
prince prance 
  princes prances 
pulses pulsars 
pyx parks
quick quark 
ridge raj 
rift raft 
  rifts rafts 
shift shaft 
  shifted shafted
  shifting shafting
  shifts shafts 
ship sharp 
  ships sharps 
shipper sharper 
  shippers sharpers 
simple sample 
  simples samples 
simpler sampler 
skid scarred 
skiff scarf 
  skiffs scarfs 
skip scarp 
  skips scarps 
skipper scarper 
  skippered scarpered 
  skippering scarpering 
  skippers scarpers 
smitten smarten
spick spark 
stick stark 
stickers starkers 
stiff staff 
  stiffs staffs 
stilling starling 
stitch starch
  stitched starched 
  stitches starches 
  stitching starching 
tin tarn
  tins tarns
tit tart 
  tits tarts 
titter tartar 
  titters tartars 
vintage vantage 
  vintages vantages 
viz vase 

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