Consonants /n/ versus /l/, 823 pairs     [naglag.html]

The /n/ sound is spelled with <n> or <nn>. The /l/ sound is spelled with <l>. Notice how the homograph lead pairs with need and Ned.

This is a contrast between a lateral and and a nasal continuant, both in the alveolar region and both voiced. It is a known problem for speakers of Chinese and Thai, especially in syllable-final position.

Taboo word pairs include coon/cool and cunt/cult.

I have retained one non-minimal but highly confusable pair: painless/paleness. Other interesting pairs include:

cannery calorie
consternation constellation
coronation correlation
darning darling
driven drivel
energy elegy
gerund Gerald
hornier haulier
Koran chorale
Natalie latterly
naughtiness nautilus
parson parcel
saunter psalter
venom vellum
yearning yearling

The mean density value is 3.1%. The lists make 439 semantic distinctions, a loading of 53%.

aconite acolyte 
  aconites acolytes 
anise Alice 
Ann Al
anna Allah 
Annan Allan
Annie Ali
annoy alloy 
  annoyed alloyed 
  annoying alloying 
  annoys alloys 
any Ellie 
apron April 
  aprons Aprils 
Aryan aerial
  Aryans aerials
bane bail 
bane bale
  baneful baleful 
  banefully balefully 
baron barrel
  barons barrels
basin basal 
batten battle
  battened battled
  battening battling
  battens battles
beaten beetle
ben Belle 
  bens belles 
ben bell
  bens bells
bench belch
  benches belches 
bend belled 
Benny belly
bent belt 
Bernie burly
bin bill
  bins bills 
bine bile 
binge bilge 
bone bole 
  bones boles 
bone bowl
  bones bowls
  boning bowling
  boned bowled
boned bold 
boner bowler
  boners bowlers
boon buhl
Bourne ball
brain braille 
brawn brawl 
Britain brittle
Calne Carl
cane kail
canna Calor 
cannery calorie
  canneries calories 
canonization canalization 
  canonizations canalizations 
canonize canalize 
  canonized canalized 
  canonizes canalizes 
  canonizing canalizing 
carbonic carbolic 
Carron Carol 
cavern cavil
  caverns cavils
chin chill 
  chins chills 
  chinning chilling
  chinned chilled
churn churl 
  churns churls 
coign coil
  coigns coils
coin coil
  coins cpoils
  coined coiled 
  coining coiling 
cone coal
  cones coals
  coned coaled 
  coning coaling 
con col 
  cons cols 
condone condole 
  condoned condoled 
  condones condoles 
  condoning condoling 
conic colic 
connect collect 
  connected collected 
  connecting collecting 
  connects collects 
connection collection 
  connections collections 
connective collective 
Connie collie
consternation constellation 
coon cool 
  coons cools 
corn call 
  corned called 
  corning calling 
  corns calls 
corner caller 
  corners callers 
coronation correlation
  coronations correlations
cunning culling 
cunt cult 
  cunts cults 
curtain kirtle
  curtains kirtles
custodian custodial 
Dane dale
  Danes dales
Danny dally
darning darling 
dean deal 
  deans deals 
define defile 
  defined defiled 
  defines defiles 
  defining defiling 
deign dale
  deigns dales
den dell 
  dens dells 
Denny Delhi 
dent dealt 
Devon devil
din dill 
djinn gill 
  djinns gills
don doll
  dons dolls 
  donned dolled 
  donning dolling 
done dull
don't dolt 
drawn drawl 
driven drivel 
drone droll 
dun dull
  dunning dulling 
  duns dulls 
  dunned dulled   
earn earl 
  earns earls 
e'en eel
enc elk 
energy elegy 
  energies elegies 
Ernie early
even evil
  evens evils
expend expelled 
fain fail 
faun fall 
  fauns falls 
fawn fall
  fawning falling 
  fawns falls
feign fail
  feigned failed 
  feigning failing 
  feigns fails 
fen fell 
  fens fells 
fend felled 
fern furl 
  ferns furls
fiend field 
  fiends fields 
finch filch 
  finches filches 
find filed 
fine file 
  fines files 
  fining filing 
  fined filed
finis Phyllis 
Finn Phil
fin fill
  fins fills
found fouled 
gain Gael 
  gains Gaels 
gain gale 
  gains gales 
garner gala
  garners galas 
gen gel 
  genned gelled 
  genning gelling 
  gens gels 
gerund Gerald 
Ghana gala
gin gill
  gins gills 
gnash lash
  gnashed lashed
  gnashes lashes
  gnashing lashing
gnaw law
  gnaws laws
gnaw lor
gnaw lore
gnawed laud
gnome loam
gnu lieu
gnu loo
  gnus loos
goon Goole 
goon ghoul
  goons ghouls 
grain grail 
  grains grails 
grin grill 
  grinned grilled 
  grinning grilling 
  grins grilles 
ground growled
guinea gillie
  guineas gillies 
gun gull 
  gunned gulled 
  gunning gulling 
  guns gulls 
gunny gully 
haunt halt 
  haunted halted 
  haunting halting 
  haunts halts
Heanor healer
hen hell 
  hens hells 
Herne hurl
highborn highball 
hint hilt 
  hints hilts 
hominy homily 
hone hole 
  hones holes
  honing holing
  honed holed
hone whole
  hones wholes
honed hold 
horn hall 
  horns halls
horn haul  
  horning hauling 
  horns hauls 
  horned hauled 
hornier haulier 
horny Horley 
hound howled
Hun hull
  Huns hulls
impend impelled 
in ill 
inane Elaine 
inimitable illimitable 
inn ill
  inns ills 
innate elate 
Jane gaol
Jenny jelly
jennies jellies 
Johnny jolly
June joule
  Junes joules
keen keel 
  keened keeled 
  keening keeling 
  keens keels 
Kent Celt 
kin kill 
knack lack
  knacks lacks
knacks lax  
knacker lacquer
  knackers lacquers
knap lap
  knapped lapped
  knapping lapping
  knaps laps
knap Lapp
  knaps Lapps
knaps lapse
knave lave
  knaves laves
knead lead
  kneading leading
  kneads leads
kneads Leeds 
knee Leigh 
knee lea
  knees leas
knee lee
  knees lees
knickers liquors
knife life
  knives lives
knight light
  knighted lighted
  knighting lighting
  knights lights
knightly lightly
knob lob
  knobs lobs
knock loch
  knocked locked
  knocking locking
  knocks locks
knocker locker
  knockers lockers
knockout lockout
  knockouts lockouts
known knoll 
known loan
knot lot
  knots lots
knout lout
  knouts louts
know lo
know low
  knowing lowing
  knows lows
known loan
Koran chorale
  Korans chorales
laden ladle
leaven level
  leavened levelled 
  leavens levels
  leavening levelling
line lisle
lint lilt 
Linz lilts
Maine mail
main mail
  mains mails 
main male
  mains males  
mane lail
  manes mails
mane male
  manes males  
Martian marshal
  Martians marshals
mean meal 
  means meals 
meanie mealie 
  meanies mealies 
meant melt
meantime mealtime 
median medial 
Merton myrtle
midden middle
  middens middles
mind mild 
  minds milds
minder milder 
mine mile 
  mines miles 
miner miler 
  miners milers 
mini- milli-
minion million 
  minions millions 
mint milt 
minute millet 
misspend misspelled 
misspent misspelt 
mizen mizzle
  mizens mizzles
moan mole
  moans moles
moaned Mold 
moaned mould
modern model 
  moderns models 
morn maul 
  morns mauls 
morning mauling 
mourn maul 
  mourns mauls 
  mourned mauled 
  mourning mauling
munch mulch 
  munched mulched 
  munches mulches 
  munching mulching 
N L 
  N's L's 
nab lab 
  nabs labs 
nag lag 
  nagged lagged 
  nagging lagging 
  nags lags 
name lame 
  named lamed 
  names lames 
  naming laming 
namely lamely 
nap lap
  napped lapped
  napping lapping
  naps laps
nap Lapp
  naps Lapps
naps lapse  
nark lakh 
  narks lakhs 
nark lark
  narked larked 
  narking larking 
  narks larks
Nat lat
Natalie latterly
natter latter 
naughtiness nautilus
nay lay
near leer 
  neared leered 
  nearing leering 
  nears leers 
Ned lead
Ned led
née lay 
need lead
  needs leads
  needing leading
ne'er lair 
negation legation 
neigh lay
  neighs lays
  neighing laying
  neighed laid
neighbour labour 
  neighboured laboured 
  neighbouring labouring 
  neighbours labours 
neigh lay
  neighing laying 
  neighs lays 
  neighed laid
ness less 
nest lest 
nestle lessen 
  nestled lessened 
  nestles lessens 
  nestling lessening 
Nestor Leicester 
net let 
  nets lets 
  netting letting 
nether leather 
Neville level
nib Lib 
  nibs Libs
Nice lease
nice lice 
nick lick
  nicked licked 
  nicking licking 
  nicks licks 
niece lease
nigh lie 
nigher liar 
night light
  nights lights
nine line
  nines lines 
ninny Lily 
  ninnies lilies 
nip lip
  nipped lipped 
  nips lips
  nipping lipping
Nissen listen
nitre lighter 
no lo
no low
node lode 
  nodes lodes 
nonce Lens 
none null
nook look 
  nooks looks 
noon loon 
noose loose 
  noosed loosed 
  nooses looses 
  noosing loosing 
nope lope 
nor law
nor lor
nor lore 
Nora Laura 
nose lows
notion lotion 
  notions lotions 
nous louse 
nude lewd 
nudist lewdest 
number lumbar 
  numbered lumbered 
  numbering lumbering 
  numbers lumbers 
nun null
  nuns nulls 
nurture lurcher 
  nurtures lurchers 
nymph lymph 
often offal 
owned old 
pain pail 
  pains pails
pain pale
  pained paled
  paining paling
  pains pales 
painless paleness
pan pal 
  panned palled 
  panning palling 
  pans pals 
pannier pallier 
parson parcel 
  parsons parcels 
pawn Paul 
pawn pall
  pawned palled 
  pawning palling 
  pawns palls 
phaeton fatal 
Phoenix Felix 
phone foal 
  phoned foaled 
  phones foals 
  phoning foaling 
piccaninny piccalilli 
pin pill 
  pins pills
pine pile
  pined piled 
  pines piles 
  pining piling 
pinion pillion 
  pinions pillions 
pone pole 
  pones poles 
prone prole 
quin quill 
  quins quills 
rain rail 
  rained railed 
  raining railing 
  rains rails 
ravening ravelling 
regain regale
  regained regaled
  regaining regaling
  regains regales
reign rail 
  reigned railed 
  reigning railing 
  reigns rails 
rein rail 
  reined railed 
  reining railing 
  reins rails 
Rhenish relish
Rhine rile
riband ribald 
  ribands ribalds 
ridden riddle
rind riled 
Ripon ripple
roan rôle 
  roans rôles 
roughen ruffle
  roughened ruffled
  roughening ruffling
  roughens ruffles
rune rule 
  runes rules 
sadden saddle
  saddened saddled
  saddening saddling
  saddens saddles
sane sail
sane sale 
saner sailor 
saunter psalter 
  saunters psalters 
scene seal
  scenes seals
scorned scald 
seen seal
seine sail
  seined sailed 
  seines sails 
  seining sailing 
seine sale
  seines sales
sends cells 
sends sells
sewn Seoul 
shinning shilling 
shiny shyly 
shorn shawl 
shown shoal
shriven shrivel 
sin sill 
  sins sills 
skein scale 
  skeins scales 
skin skill 
  skins skills 
  skinned skilled 
skinny skilly 
snack slack 
  snacks slacks 
snag slag 
snake slake 
  snaked slaked 
  snakes slakes 
  snaking slaking 
snap slap 
  snapped slapped 
  snapping slapping 
  snaps slaps 
sneak sleek
  sneaks sleeks
  sneaked sleeked 
  sneaking sleeking 
snicker slicker 
snide slide 
snip slip 
  snipped slipped 
  snipping slipping 
  snips slips 
snob slob 
  snobs slobs 
snog slog 
  snogged slogged 
  snogging slogging 
  snogs slogs 
snood slewed 
snoop sloop 
  snoops sloops 
snooze slews 
snorter slaughter 
  snorters slaughters 
snot slot 
snow sloe 
  snows sloes
snow slow
  snowed slowed 
  snowing slowing 
  snows slows
snuff slough 
  snuffed sloughed 
  snuffing sloughing 
  snuffs sloughs 
snug slug 
  snugs slugs 
sonny sully
  sonnies sullies
soundness soundless
sown sole 
spend spelled
spent spelt
spin spill
  spinning spilling
  spins spills
spinach spillage
spoon spool
  spoons spools
stain stale
  stained staled
  staining staling
  stains stales
stainless staleness
stint stilt
  stinted stilted
  stints stilts
stone stole
  stones stoles
ten tel
ten tell
  tens tells
tenner teller
  tenners tellers
tighten title
  tightened titled
  tightens titles
tin till
  tins tills
  tinned tilled
  tinning tilling
tine tile
  tined tiled
  tines tiles
tinned tilde
tint tilt
  tinted tilted
  tinting tilting
  tints tilts
Titan title
  Titans titles
tone toll
  toned tolled#
  tones tolls
  toning tolling
toned told
torn tall
train trail
  trained trailed
  training trailing
  trains trails
trainer trailer
  trainers trailers
tune tulle
twin twill
  twinned twilled
  twins twills
Tyne tile
vain vale	 
vain veil
vane vale 
  vanes vales
vane veil
  vanes veils
vaunt vault
  vaunted vaulted
  vaunting vaulting
  vaunts vaults
vaunter vaulter
  vaunters vaulters
vein vale
  veins vales
vein veil
  veins veils
  veined veiled
venom vellum
vent veld
Vernon vernal
vine vile
wain wail
  wains wails
wain whale
  wains whales  
wains Wales
wane wail
  waned wailed
  waning wailing
  wanes wails
wane whale
  wanes whales
wanes Wales  
wanna wallah
warn wall
  warned walled
  warning walling
  warns walls
Wayne wail
Wayne whale
wean weal
wean wheel
  weans wheels
  weaned wheeled
  weaning wheeling
weaned weald
weaned wield
wen well
  wens wells
wend weld
  wended welded
  wending welding
  wends welds
went welt
whin will
  whins wills
whine while
  whined whiled
  whines whiles
  whining whiling
whine wile
  whines wiles
whinny Willy
whinnies willies
Wigan wiggle
wind willed
win will
  wins wills
  winning willing
wine while
  wines whiles
wine wile
  wines wiles
Winnie Willie
winnow willow
  winnows willows
written Writtle
yawn yawl
  yawns yawls
yearning yearling
  yearnings yearlings
yen yell
  yenned yelled
  yenning yelling
  yens yells

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2010.