Consonants /t/ versus /m/, 559 pairs     [tailmail.html]

The spelling of /t/ is <t>, <tt>, <te>, or <th> in Thai. The /m/ sound is <m> or <mm> or <mb> in comb. Inflected forms with -s have been included even where not strictly minimal. See the discussion under "Problems" on the main page. Notice how the homograph tear makes pairs with mare and mere.

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

Taboo word pairs are but/bum, fart/farm, shitter/shimmer and shat/sham.

The pair tarry/marry is picked up in Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe in the Act I duet "If we're weak enough to tarry ere we marry, you and I", which also forms the main melody in the overture. Other interesting pairs include:

artery armoury
Blighty blimey
detention dimension
ecstasies Xmases
fattish famish
idiot idiom
Saturn salmon
talcum Malcolm
tartar martyr
tedium medium
terrier merrier
toddle model

The mean density value is 2.6%. The list makes 286 semantic distinctions, a loading of 51%.

Albert album
art arm
artery armoury 
  arteries armouries 
arty army
at am 
ate M 
attain amain 
attend amend 
  attended amended 
  attending amending 
  attends amends 
Bart balm
beat beam 
  beats beams
  beating beaming 
Blighty blimey
boot boom 
  booting booming 
  boots booms
bruit broom   
  bruits brooms
brute broom
  brutes brooms
but bum 
butt bum
  butting bumming 
  butts bums
cart calm 	
  carts calms
  carting calming 
carter calmer 
carter karma
  carters karmas
cat cam 
  cats cams
caught corm
chart charm 
  charts charms
  charting charming 
charter charmer 
  charters charmers 
clatter clamour 
  clattered clamoured 
  clattering clamouring 
  clatters clamours 
coat comb
  coats combs
  coating combing
coating coaming 
  coatings coamings 	
court corm	   
  courts corms
cottar comma
  cottars commas 
cut come 
  cutting coming 
  cuttings comings 
  cuts comes
cutback comeback 
  cutbacks comebacks 
cutter comer 
  cutters comers 
date dame 
  dates dames
daughter dormer
  daughters dormers
detain demesne 
  detains demesnes 
detention dimension
  detentions dimensions
deter demur 
  deterred demurred 
  deterring demurring 
  deters demurs 
dote dome 
  dotes domes
drat drachm 
ecstasies Xmases 
eight aim 
eighty Amy 
entity enmity 
  entities enmities 
fart farm 
  farting farming 	
  farts farms
fate fame 
fattish famish 
fête fame
flute flume 
  flutes flumes
fort form  
  forts forms
fought form
freight frame 
  freighting framing 
  freights frames
fruit Frome 
gait game	 
gate game
  gates ganes
  gating gaming 
glitter glimmer 
  glittered glimmered 
  glittering glimmering 
  glitters glimmers 
gloating gloaming 
glut glum 
grit grim 
gut gum 		  
  guts gums
  gutting gumming 
harlot Haarlem 
hart harm 
  harts harms
hat ham 
  hats hams
hatter hammer 
  hatters hammers 
heart harm
  hearts harms
heartless harmless 
  heartlessly harmlessly 
hit him 
hit hymn
  hits hymns
  hitting hymning
hoot whom
hut hum 
idiot idiom 
inflate inflame 
  inflating inflaming 
  inflates inflames
jet gem 
  jets gems
jetty jemmy 
  jetties jemmies 
Kate came
lat lam 
late lame 
  lately lamely 
  later lamer 
  latest lamest 
letting lemming 
  lettings lemmings 
light lime
  lighting liming
  lights limes
litre lemur 
  litres lemurs 
loot loom 
  looting looming 
  loots looms
mate maim 
  mating maiming 
  mates maims
matey Mamie 
mat ma'am 
might mime
minute minim 
mite mime
  mites mimes
mutt mum 
mutter mummer 
  mutters mummers 
note gnome 
nought norm 
nut numb 
  nutting numbing 
  nuts numbs
oat ohm 
  oats ohms
opium opiate 
part palm 
  parting palming 
  parts palms
party palmy 
Pat Pam 
pert perm 
poet poem 
  poets poems
pot pom 
potty pommy 
  potties pommies 
rat ram 
  rats rams
  ratting ramming 
ratification ramification 
  ratifications ramifications 
ratify ramify 
  ratified ramified 
  ratifies ramifies 
  ratifying ramifying 
retain remain 
  retained remained 
  retaining remaining 
  retains remains 
retake remake 
  retakes remakes 
  retaking remaking 
right rhyme 
  righting rhyming 
  rights rhymes
right rime
rite rhyme
  rites rhymes  
rite rime
root rheum 
root rooms
  roots rooms
  rooting rooming 
rot rhomb 
  rots rhombs
rote Rome 
rote roam
rut rum 
  ruts rums
sat Sam 
sate same 
Saturn salmon 
scut scum 
seat seam 
  seating seaming 
  seats seams
seat seem
  seating seeming
  seats seems
shat sham 
shitter shimmer
  shitters shimmers
sitter simmer 
  sitters simmers 
skeet scheme 
skit skim 
  skits skims
skitter skimmer 
  skitters skimmers 
slat slam 
  slats slams
sleight slime 
slight slime
slit slim 
  slitting slimming 
  slits slims
slut slum 
  sluts slums
spat spam 
spirt sperm 
squirt squirm 
  squirting squirming 
  squirts squirms
stack smack 
  stacked smacked 
  stacking smacking 
  stacks smacks 
stall small 
  stalls smalls 
start smart 
  started smarted 
  starting smarting 
  starts smarts
starter smarter 
stash smash 
  stashed smashed 
  stashes smashes 
  stashing smashing 
steer smear 
  steered smeared 
  steering smearing 
  steers smears 
stet stem 
stile smile 
  stiles smiles 
stoat smote 
stock smock 
  stocking smocking 
  stocks smocks 
stoke smoke 
  stoked smoked 
  stokes smokes 
  stoking smoking 
stoker smoker 
  stokers smokers 
street stream 
  streets streams
strut strum 
  strutting strumming 
  struts strums
style smile
  styled smiled 
  styles smiles
  styling smiling 
T me 
ta ma 
ta mar
table Mabel 
tack mac 
  tacks macs
tag mag 
  tags mags 
tail mail 
  tailed mailed 
  tailing mailing 
  tails mails 
take make 
  takes makes 
  taking making 
  takings makings 
taker maker 
  takers makers 
take-up make-up 
talcum Malcolm 
tall mall
tall maul 
tallow mallow 
tame maim
  tamed maimed 
  tames maims 
  taming mating 
tammy mammy 
  tammies mammies 
tan man 
  tans mans
  tanned manned 
  tanning manning
tangle mangle 
  tangled mangled 
  tangles mangles 
  tangling mangling 
tango mango 
  tangos mangoes 
tanks Manx 
tanner manner 
  tanners manners 
tap map 
  tapped mapped 
  tapping mapping 
  taps maps 
taproot taproom 
tar ma 
tar mar
  tars mars
  tarred marred 
  tarring marring 
tare mare 
  tares mares 
tarry marry 
  tarried married 
  tarries marries 
  tarrying marrying 
tart mart 
  tarts marts 
tartar martyr 
  tartars martyrs 
task mask
  tasked masked 
  tasking masking 
  tasks masks 
tat mat
  tats mats 
  tatted matted 
  tatting matting 
tatter matter 
  tattered mattered 
  tatters matters 
tatty tammy 
tauter mortar 
tautest morticed 
tawse maws 
tax macs
tea me
teak meek 
tear mare
  tears mares
tear mere 
  tears meres 
teat team 		
  teats teams
Ted Med 
tedium medium 
tee me
teen mean
  teens means 
teeny meanie 
teeter meter 
  teeters meters 
teg Meg 
ten men 
tend mend 
  tended mended 
  tending mending 
  tends mends 
tender mender 
  tenders menders 
tension mention 
  tensions mentions 
tent meant 
terrier merrier 
Terry merry
terser mercer 
test messed 
Thai my
Thame maim
thyme mime 
tickle mickle 
ticks mix 
tie my 
tight thyme 
tight might	  
tight mite
  tights mites 
tighter mitre 
tightly timely
tike mike 
  tikes mikes 
tile mile 
  tiles miles 
tiled mild 
till mill
  tilling milling 
  tills mills 
  tilled milled 
tiller miller 
  tillers millers 
tilt milt 
time mime
  timed mimed 
  times mimes 
  timing miming 
tine mine
  tines mines 
tined mind 
tingle mingle 
  tingled mingled 
  tingles mingles 
  tingling mingling 
tint mint 
  tinted minted 
  tinting minting 
  tints mints 
tire mire 
  tired mired 
  tires mires 
  tiring miring 
to moo 
toad mode 
  toads modes 
toad mowed
toast most 
toddle model 
  toddled modelled 
  toddles models 
  toddling modeling
toddler modeler 
  toddlers modelers 
toe mow
  toeing mowing 
  toes mows 
  toed mowed
toil moil 
  toiled moiled 
  toiling moiling 
  toils moils 
old mould
toll mole 
  tolls moles 
tolled mould  
tone moan 
  toned moaned 
  tones moans 
  toning moaning 
too moo
toot moot
  tooted mooted 
  tooting mooting 
  toots moots 
toot tomb 
  toots tombs
top mop 
  topped mopped 
  topping mopping 
  tops mops 
tope mope 
  toped moped 
  topes mopes 
  toping moping 
toque moke 
  toques mokes 
tor maw
  tors maws
tor more 
tore maw
tore more
Torino merino
torn morn 
torn mourn
tot Tom 
tote moat
  toted moated 
  totes moats 
tote tome 
  totes tomes
tough muff 
  toughs muffs 
tour moor 
  toured moored 
  touring mooring 
  tours moors 
tow mow
  tows mows
  towed mowed
  towing mowing
tuck muck 
  tucked mucked 
  tucking mucking 
  tucks mucks 
tuft muffed 
tug mug 
  tugged mugged 
  tugging mugging 
  tugs mugs 
tulle mule 
tumble mumble 
  tumbled mumbled 
  tumbles mumbles 
  tumbling mumbling 
tummy mummy 
  tummies mummies 
tunic Munich 
tunny money 
  tunnies monies 
Turk murk
Turkey murky
turtle myrtle 
  turtles myrtles 
tusk musk 
tussle muscle 
  tussled muscled 
  tussles muscles 
  tussling muscling 
tut mutt 
  tuts mutts
tutor tumour 
  tutors tumours 
two moo
  twos moos 
Tyne mine
unattended unamended 
wart warm 
  warts warms
water warmer 
  waters warmers 
wert worm
whit whim 
wit whim
  wits whims
writ rim 	 
  writs rims
wrote Rome
wrote roam  

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, February 2010.