Vowels 4 and 10, /æ/ versus /ʌ/    436 pairs      [lackluck.html]

The /æ/ vowel is spelled <a> followed by two consonants or by one consonant in a monosyllable. The /ʌ/ vowel is normally spelled <u>, but is also <o> before nasals as in come or Monday and <ou> in courage and double.

Vowel 4 is short, half open and front; vowel 10 is short, half open and mid. Very few languages have quite as thick a cluster of vowels in the half-open/open zone of the mouth as English does, so this contrast is a widespread problem. It is worst for speakers of 5-vowel languages such as Italian or Swahili, but can also pose difficulties for French, Spanish, Greek, Chinese and Japanese speakers.

The taboo word pairs are bagger/bugger, cant/cunt and fact/fucked.

Interesting pairs include:

campus compass
dabble double
fanfare funfair

The mean density is 4.8%. The set makes 198 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 46%.

abstract obstruct
  abstracted obstructed
  abstracting obstructing
  abstraction obstruction
  abstractions obstructions
  abstracts obstructs
amber umber
ankle uncle
  ankles uncles
apse ups
apt upped
as us
attar utter
babble bubble
  babbled bubbled
  babbles bubbles
  babbling bubbling
back buck
  backed bucked
  backing bucking
  backs bucks
bad bud
badge budge
  badges budges
bag bug
  bagged bugged
  bagging bugging
  bags bugs		
bagger bugger  	 
  bagger buggers
baggy buggy
bangle bungle
  bangles bungles
bank bunk
  banked bunked
  banker bunker
  bankers bunkers
  banking bunking
  banks bunks
banting bunting
barrow burrow
  barrows burrows
bass bus
bast bused
bat but
bats butts
  batted butted	  
  batting butting
batten button
  battened buttoned
  battening buttoning
  battens buttons
batter butter
  battered buttered
  battering buttering
  batters butters
  batting butting
battery buttery
  batteries butteries
began begun
bhangs bungs
blabber blubber
  blabbered blubbered
  blabbering blubbering
  blabbers blubbers
blander blunder
brash brush
baccy Buckie
cab cub
  cabs cubs
cad cud
caff cuff
  caffs cuffs
cam come
  cams comes
camber cumber
  cambered cumbered
  cambering cumbering
  cambers cumbers
campus compass
  campuses compasses
canning cunning
cant cunt
  cants cunts
cap cup
  capping cupping
  caps cups
  capped cupped
carriage courage
carry curry
  carried curried
  carries curries
  carrying currying
cat cut
  cats cuts
champ chump
  champs chumps
clack cluck
  clacked clucked
  clacking clucking
  clacks clucks
clamp clump
  clamped clumped
  clamping clumping
  clamps clumps
clang clung
clank clunk
  clanked clunked
  clanking clunking
  clanks clunks
clatter clutter
  clattered cluttered
  clattering cluttering
  clatters clutters
countersank countersunk
cracks crux
cram crumb
  crams crumbs
crash crush
  crashed crushed
  crashes crushes
  crashing crushing
dab dub
  dabbed dubbed
  dabs dubs
dabble double
  dabbled doubled
  dabbles doubles
  dabbling doubling
dad dud
  dads duds
dam dumb
damp dump
  damped dumped
  damper dumper
  dampers dumpers
  damping dumping
  damps dumps
Dan done
dank dunk
debag debug
  debagged debugged
  debagging debugging
  debags debugs
distraction destruction
drab drub
drachm drum
  drachms drums	  
dram drum
  drams drums  
drag drug
  dragged drugged
  dragging drugging
  drags drugs
drank drunk
fact fucked
fag fug
  fags fugs
fanfare funfair
  fanfares funfairs
fanned fund
Fanny funny
farrier furrier
  farriers furriers
farrow furrow
  farrowed furrowed
  farrowing furrowing
  farrows furrows
fat phut
flank flunk
  flanked flunked
  flanking flunking
  flanks flunks
flash flush
  flashed flushed
  flashes flushes
  flashing flushing
flatter flutter
  flattered fluttered
  flattering fluttering
  flatters flutters
flax flux
gal gull
  gals gulls
galley gully
  galleys gullies
gammy gummy
gash gush
GATT gut
glamour glummer
gnat nut
  gnats nuts
grab grub
  grabbed grubbed
  grabbing grubbing
  grabs grubs
hag hug
  hags hugs
Hal hull
ham hum
  hammed hummed
  hamming humming
  hams hums
hammock hummock
  hammocks hummocks
hang hung
hank hunk
  hanks hunks
hankers hunkers
harry hurry
  harried hurried
  harries hurries
  harrying hurrying
hash hush
  hashes hushes
  hashing hushing
hassle hustle
  hassled hustled
  hassles hustles
  hassling hustling
hatch hutch
  hatches hutches
jag jug
  jagged jugged
  jagging jugging
  jags jugs
jangle jungle
  jangles jungles
lack luck
lackey lucky
lacks luxe
lag lug
  lagged lugged
  lagging lugging
  lags lugs
lamp lump
  lamps lumps
lav love
  lavs loves
ma'am mum
mac muck
mad mud
Maddy muddy
mag mug
  mags mugs
Maggie muggy
mallet mullet
  mallets mullets
mammy mummy
  mammies mummies
Mandy Monday
Manx monks
masc musk
mass muss
  massed mussed
  masses musses
  massing mussing
mat mutt
matter mutter
  mattered muttered
  mattering muttering
  matters mutters
Max mucks
nab nub
  nabs nubs
natty nutty
  nattier nuttier
  nattiest nuttiest
outran outrun
overhang overhung
overran overrun
pack puck
  packs pucks
packer pucker
  packers puckers
paddle puddle
  paddled puddled
  paddles puddles
  paddling puddling
pan pun
  panned punned
  panning punning
  pans puns
pant punt
  panted punted
  panting punting
  pants punts
pap pup
pat putt
  pats putts
  patted putted
  patting putting
patter putter
  pattered puttered
  pattering puttering
  patters putters
patties puttees
Patty puttee
plank plunk
  planks plunks
rabble rubble
rack ruck
  racked rucked
  racking rucking
  racks rucks
raddled ruddled
raffish roughish
raffle ruffle
  raffled ruffled
  raffles ruffles
  raffling ruffling
rag rug
  rags rugs
ragged rugged
  raggedly ruggedly
  raggedness ruggedness
ram rum
ramble rumble
  rambled rumbled
  rambles rumbles
  rambling rumbling
ramp rump
  ramps rumps
rant runt
  rants runts
rapture rupture
  raptures ruptures
rash rush
  rashes rushes
rat rut
  rats ruts
  ratted rutted
  ratting rutting
redaction reduction
  redactions reductions
reran rerun
sadden sudden
sally sully
  sallied sullied
  sallies sullies
  sallying sullying
salmon summon
Sandown sundown
Sandy Sunday
sap sup
  sapped supped
  sapping supping
  saps sups
sapper supper
  sappers suppers
scalped sculpt
scat scut
scram scrum
  scrams scrums
shack shuck
  shacked shucked
  shacking shucking
shat shut
shatter shutter
  shattered shuttered
  shattering shuttering
  shatters shutters
shrank shrunk
slag slug
slam slum
  slammed slummed
  slamming slumming
  slams slums
slang slung
slash slush
slat slut
  slats sluts
snaffle snuffle
  snaffled snuffled
  snaffles snuffles
  snaffling snuffling
snag snug
  snags snugs
span spun
spank spunk
spatter sputter
  spattered sputtered
  spattering sputtering
  spatters sputters
sprang sprung
stab stub
  stabbed stubbed
  stabbing stubbing
  stabs stubs
stack stuck
stag stung
stamp stump
  stamped stumped
  stamping stumping
  stamps stumps
Stan stun
stand stunned
stank stunk
straggle struggle
  straggled struggled
  straggles struggles
  straggling struggling
swam swum
tab tub
  tabs tubs
tabby tubby
tack tuck
  tacked tucked
  tacking tucking
  tacks tucks
Taffy toughie
  Taffies toughies
tag tug
  tagged tugged
  tagging tugging
  tags tugs
tammy tummy
  tammies tummies
tanning tonning
tap tup
  taps tups
tassel tussle
  tasseled tussled
  tassels tussles
tat tut
  tatted tutted
  tatting tutting
  tats tuts
thrash thrush
  thrashes thrushes
track truck
  tracks trucks
tramp trump
  tramped trumped
  tramping trumping
  tramps trumps

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