Consonants /t/ versus /n/, 687 pairs     [tagnag.html]

The spelling of /t/ is <t>, <tt>, <te>, or <th> in Thai. The /n/ sound is <n> or <nn> and occasionally in combination with silent letters such as <kn> in know or <gn> in impugn. Inflected forms with -s have been included even where not strictly minimal. See the discussion under "Problems" on the main page. This does, however, create an anomaly when a plural form like wits enters pairs with both wins and wince.

The contrast is between a voiceless plosive and a voiced nasal continuant, close together in the mouth. It is not a problem for learners.

The computer missed out a number of pairs owing to inconsistency about transcribing syllabic -n with or without an unstressed vowel before it. I have restored some of these where I have noticed them, eg vital/vinyl.

Taboo word pairs are coot/coon, shit/shin and tit/tin.

Other interesting pairs include:

auditory ordinary
cartage carnage
courtier cornea
fettle fennel
goblet goblin
kettle kennel
listing listening
looter lunar
mature manure (mature is often assimilated to /mə'ʧʊə/ making this non-minimal)
motto mono
otter honour
photograph phonograph
scooter schooner
softer softener
starling snarling
stature snatcher (possible difference in stress)
teacher Nietzsche
terse nurse
traitor trainer
violets violence

The mean density value is 2.4%. The list makes 390 semantic distinctions, a loading of 57%.

alight align
  alighting aligning
  alights aligns
Ascot Askern 
at Ann 
ate N 
Attic Alnwick 
auditory ordinary
bait bane
ballots balance 
Bart barn
bat ban 
  batting banning 
  bats bans
batter banner 
  batters banners 
beat bean 
  beats beans
beat been
beet bean
  beets beans  
begat began 
begot begone 
Bert Bern 
Bertie Bernie 
bet ben 
  bets bens
Betty Benny 
bight bine
bit bin 
  bits bins
bite bine
boat bone
  boating boning
  boats bones
boater boner
  boaters boners
boot boon 	  
  boots boons
bought born
bought borne
bouts bounce 
brat bran 
bright brine
brought brawn 
but bun 
butt bun
  butts buns
cannot cannon 
carat Carron 
carrot Carron
cart Calne 
cartage carnage 
cat can		  
  cats cans
catty canny 
  cattier cannier 
  cattiest canniest 
caught corn
chaplet chaplain 
charts chance 
chattel channel 
  chattels channels 
chit chin 
  chits chins
cleat clean 
clout clown 
  clouting clowning 
  clouts clowns
coat cone 
  coating coning
  coats cones
commute commune 
  commuting communing 
  commutes communes
concert concern 
  concerting concerning 
  concerts concerns
coot coon 
  coots coons
cot con 
cots Cons 
court corn
  courts corns
  courting corning 
courtier cornea
  courtiers corneas 
courtier cornier 	 
crate crane 
  crating craning 
  crates cranes
cutting cunning 
Cypriot Cyprian 
dart darn 
  darting darning 
  darts darns
darts dance 
date Dane 
  dates Danes
date deign
  dating deigning
  dates deigns
debt den
  debt dens
debts dense
doormat doorman 
dot don 
  dotting donning 
  dots dons
doublet Dublin 
doubt down 
  doubting downing
  doubts downs
doughty downy
drought drown
  droughts drowns
eat e'en 
elate Elaine   
faster fastener 
fasting fastening 
fat fan 
  fats fans
  fatting fanning 
fate fain 	
fate feign
  fates feigns
fatty Fanny 
fête feign
  fêtes feigns
  fêting feigning
fettle fennel 
fight fine
  fighting fining
  fights fines
fighter finer
flat flan 
  flats flans
float flown
flouts flounce 
fort fawn 
  forts fawns
gait gain 
gamut gammon 
garter garner 
  garters garners 
gate gain
  gates gains
  gating gaining 
goblet goblin
  goblets goblins
got gone 
gotta gonna 
gout gown
grate grain   
  grates grains
great grain
greet green 
  greets greens
grit grin 
  gritting grinning 
  grits grins
groat groan 
  groats groans
gut gun 
  guts guns
  gutting gunning 
gutter gunner 
  gutters gunners 
haughty horny
  haughtier hornier
  haughtiest horniest
headlight headline
  headlights headlines
helot Helen 
hot Hon 
hurt Herne 
hut Hun 
hutted honeyed 
impute impugn 
  imputing impugning 
  imputes impugns
innate inane 
  innately inanely 
insets incense 
it in 
jet gen 
  jets gens
  jetting genning 
jetty jenny 
  jetties jennies 
jot John 
jute June
kettle kennel 
  kettles kennels 
kilt kiln 
kirtle colonel 
  kirtles colonels 
kit kin 
kite kine 
knight nine
  knights nines
knots nonce 
knout noun	 
  knouts nouns
late lain 
let Len 
lettered Leonard 
lied lean 
light line 
  lights lines
lighter liner
  lighters liners
lighting lining
linnet linen 
listing listening 
litre leaner 
loot loon 
  loots loons
looter lunar
mat man
  mats mans
mate main
  mates mains
matter manner 
  mattered mannered 
  matters manners 
matting manning 
mature manure 
  matured manured 
  matures manures 
  maturing manuring 
meat mean 
  meats means
meaty meanie 
meet mean
  meets means
  meeting meaning 
  meetings meanings 
met men
meter meaner 
might mine
mite mine
  mites mine
mitre miner 
  mitres miners 
mitts mince 
moat moan 
  moats moans
moot moon 
  moots moons
  mooting mooning 
mortar mourner
  mortars mourners
motto mono 
mullet mullein 
natty nanny 
night nine
  nights nines
night-light night-line
note known 
nut none 
oat own
otter honour 
  otters honours 
outs ounce
pat pan
  pats pans
  patting panning
pate pain
pet pen
  pets pens
  petting penning
pets pence
petty Penny
photograph phonograph
  photographs phonographs
phut fun 
pit pin
  pits pins
  pitting pinning
pithead pinhead
  pitheads pinheads
pity pinny
  pities pinnies
plait plan
  plaiting planning
  plaits plans
plate plain
  plating plaining
  plates plains
platter planner
  platters planners
port pawn
  porting pawning
  ports pawns
pots ponce
pouts pounce
proletariat proletarian
putt pun
  putting punning
  putts puns
quit quin
  quits quins
quits quince
quoit coign 
rat ran
rate rain
  rating raining
  rates rains
rate reign
  rating reigning
  rates reigns
ret Rennes
right Rhine
rite Rhine
root rune
  roots runes
rot Ron
rote roan
route rune
  routes runes
rut run
  rutting running
  ruts runs
salute saloon
  salutes saloons
sate sane
sating seining
scat scan
scatter scanner
  scatters scanners
scooter schooner
  scooters schooners
Scot scone
  Scots scones
Scots sconce
seat scene
  seats scenes
seat seen  
sets sense
sheet sheen
shit shin
  shitting shinning
  shits shins
short shorn
shot shone
shut shun
  shuts shuns
  shutting shunning
sidelight sideline
  sidelights sidelines
sit sin
  sits sins
  sitting sinning
sits since
sitter sinner
  sitters sinners
skate skein
  skates skeins
skit skin
  skits skins
skylight skyline
  skylights skylines
slate slain
softer softener
spat span
  spats spans
  spatting spanning
spate Spain
spatter spanner
  spatters spanners
spirt spurn
  spirting spurning
  spirts spurns
spit spin
  spits spins
  spitting spinning
spite spine
  spites spines
sport spawn
  sporting spawning
  sports spawns
stack snack
  stacks snacks
stag snag
  stags snags
stair snare
  stairs snares
stake snake
  staked snaked
  stakes snakes
  staking snaking
stale snail
  stales snails
stared snared
  staring snaring
starling snarling
state stain
  stating staining
  states stains
stateless stainless
stature snatcher
steer sneer
  steered sneered
  steering sneering
  steers sneers
stet Sten
stick snick
  sticks snicks
  sticking snicking
sticker snicker
  stickers snickers
stiff sniff
  stiffs sniffs
stitch snitch
  stitched snitched
  stitches snitches
  stitching snitching
stoat stone
  stoats stones
stoop snoop
  stooped snooped
  stooping snooping
  stoops snoops
store snore
  stored snored
  stores snores
  storing snoring
stout snout
stow snow
  stowed snowed
  stowing snowing
  stows snows
straight strain
strait strain
  straits strains
stub snub
  stubbed snubbed
  stubbing snubbing
  stubs snubs
stuff snuff
  stuffed snuffed
  stuffing snuffing
  stuffs snuffs
stutter stunner
  stutters stunners
suitor sooner
summat summon
swat swan
  swatting swanning
  swats swans
T knee
  T's knees
tab nab 
  tabs nabs 
tabor neighbour 
  tabors neighbours 
tack knack 
  tacks knacks 
Taffy NAAFI 
tag nag 
  tagged nagged 
  tagging nagging 
  tags nags 
tail nail 
  tailed nailed 
  tailing nailing 
  tails nails 
taker nacre 
tame name
  tamed named 
  tames names 
  taming naming 
tamely namely 
tap knap 
  tapped knapped 
  tapping knapping 
  taps knaps 
tap nap 
  tapped napped 
  tapping napping 
  taps naps 
tape nape 
  tapes napes 
tare ne'er 
tart tarn
  tarts tarns
tat tan
  tats tans
  tatting tanning
tat gnat
  tats gnats 
tatter natter
  tattered nattered 
  tatters natters
tatter tanner
  tatters tanners
tatty natty 
  tattier nattier 
  tattiest nattiest 
  tattily nattily 
taught nought
taught torn
tawse gnaws 
tea knee
  teas knees   
teacher Nietzsche  
teal kneel  
tear near 
  tears nears 
tech neck
  techs necks 
Ted Ned 
Teddy Neddy 
tee knee
  tees knees
  teed knead 
  teeing kneeing
teeter neater 
teeth 'neath 
tell nell 
  tells nells
telly Nelly 
terse nurse
Tess ness
test nest 
  tested nested 
  testing nesting 
  tests nests 
tether nether 
Texas nexus
text next 
Thai nigh
Thame name
that than
thought thorn
  thoughts thorns
throat throne
  throats thrones
tick nick
  ticked nicked 
  ticking nicking 
  ticks nicks 
tickers knickers 
tickle nickel 
  tickled nickelled 
  tickles nickels 
tie nigh 
tiff niff 
  tiffs niffs 
tight knight
  tights knights 
tight night  
  tights nights
tighter nitre 
tightly knightly 
tightly nightly
tine nine
  tines nines 
tip nip 
  tipped nipped 
  tipping nipping 
  tips nips 
tipple nipple 
  tipples nipples 
tire nigher 
tit tin	 
  tits tins
to gnu 
toad node 
  toads nodes 
toddle noddle 
  toddles noddles 
toe know 
  toeing knowing 
  toes knows 
toe no
toll knoll 
  tolls knolls 
tome gnome 
  tomes gnomes 
ton none
ton nun
  tons nuns
took nook 	 
too gnu
tope nope 
tor gnaw
  tors gnaws
tor nor 
tore gnaw
tore nor
torch nautch
  torches nautches 
tort nought
tort torn
tosh nosh 
  toshes noshes 
tot knot 
  tots knots
  totted knotted 
  totting knotting 
total tonal
  totality tonality
tote note
  toted noted 
  totes notes 
  toting noting
tote tone	  
  totes tones
  toting toning
tout knout
  touts knouts 
tout town
  touts towns
tow know
  towing knowing
  tows knows
tow no  
town noun
  towns nouns
toys noise 
trait train
traitor trainer
  traitors trainers
tribute tribune
  tributes tribunes
tub nub
  tubs nubs
tun none
tun nun
  tuns nuns
turbot turban
  turbots turbans
turves nerves 
tut nut
  tuts nuts
  tutted nutted
tut ton
  tuts tons
tut tun
  tuts tuns  
tutor tuna
  tutors tunas
tutor tuner
  tutors tuners
tweet 'tween
twit twin
  twitting twinning  
  twits twins
two gnu
  twos gnus 
untamed unnamed
vat van
veto vino
  vetoes vinoes
violets violence   
vital vinyl
wait wane
  waiting waning
  waits wanes
wart warn
  warts warns
watt wan
wet wen	
  wets wens
wets whence
wheat wean 
whet wen
  whets wens
whit whin
white wine
  whites wines
white whine
  whites whines
  whiting whining
whiter whiner
Wight whine
Wight wine
wit win
  wits wins
wits wince
witty whinny
write Rhine
writs rinse
wrote roan
yacht yon
yet yen

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, February 2010.