Vowels 14 and 17, /aɪ/ versus /aʊ/    192 pairs      [nighnow.html]

The /aɪ/ diphthong is spelled <iCe>, <i>, <y> and <ey> in eye, besides occurring in the letter names I and Y. The /aʊ/ diphthong is spelled <ou> or <ow>.

This is a contrast between two closing diphthongs with similar starting positions but different directions of movement. It is not a problem for learners.

Interesting pairs include:

alliance allowance
confined confound

The density figure is 8.95%. The set makes 105 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 55%.

aisle owl
  aisles owls
alliance allowance
  alliances allowances
ally allow 
  allied allowed
  allies allows
  allying allowing 
arise arouse
  arises arouses
  arising arousing
ayah hour
  ayahs hours
bide bowed
bight bout
  bights bouts
bind bound
  binding bounding
  binds bounds
binder bounder
  binders bounders
brine brown
  brines browns
briny brownie
buy bough 
  buys boughs  
buy bow
  buys bows  
  buying bowing 
buyer bower 
  buyers bowers 
by bough
by bow
bye bough
  byes boughs
bye bow
  byes bows  
confined confound
cried crowd
dial dowel
  dials dowels
diary dowry
  diaries dowries
dice douse
  diced doused
  dices douses
  dicing dousing
die dhow
  dies dhows 
dine down 
  dined downed
  dines downs
  dining downing
dire dower
dormice dormouse
dries drowse
dyer dower
  dyers dowers 
espies espouse	 
eye ow
eyelet owlet
  eyelets owlets
file foul
  filed fouled
  files fouls
  filing fouling
find found
  finding founding
  finds founds
finder founder
  finders founders
flier flour
  fliers flours
flier flower
  fliers flowers
flight flout
  flighted flouted
  flighting flouting
  flights flouts
fry Frau 
Giles jowls
grind ground
  grinding grounding
  grinds grounds
hi how
hie how
hies house
high how
hind hound
  hinds hounds
hired Howard   
I ow
iced oust
I'll owl
ire hour 
isle owl
  isles owls
knight knout
  knights knouts
liar lour
  liars lours
lice louse
light lout
  lights louts
mice mouse
mind mound
  minds mounds
miser mouser
  misers mousers
my mow 
nice nous
nigh now
night knout
  nights knouts
nine noun
  nines nouns
pined pound
plant-lice plant-louse
ply plough 
  plied ploughed
  plies ploughs
  plying ploughing 
pride proud
pry prow 
  pries prows
pyre power 
  pyres powers 
rebind rebound
resigned resound
ride rowed
right rout
  righted routed
  righting routing
  rights routs
rind round
  rinds rounds
rise rouse
  rises rouses
  rising rousing
rye row 
shire shower
  shires showers
shrew-mice shrew-mouse
sigh sow
  sighs sows
signed sound
sire sour
  sired soured
  sires sours
  siring souring
sky scow 
  skies scows 
sly Slough 
spies spouse
spite spout
  spited spouted
  spites spouts
  spiting spouting
sprite sprout
  sprites sprouts
stride Stroud 
thy thou 
tight tout
  tights touts
tine town
  tines towns
tiny townee
tire tower
  tired towered
  tires towers
  tiring towering
titmice titmouse
trial trowel
  trials trowels
trite trout
Tyne town
tyre tower
  tyres towers
unbind unbound
unwind unwound
vial vowel
  vials vowels
vie vow
  vied vowed
  vies vows
  vying vowing 	 
vile vowel  
whined wound
wind wound
woodlice woodlouse
Y wow
  Y's wows

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009
updated Chiang Mai, 2024