Consonants // versus /s/, 36 pairs     [theysay.html]

The // sound is spelled with <th>. The /s/ sound is spelled with <s>, <ss> or <ce>. The homograph sow makes pairs with though and thou.

This is a contrast between a voiced dental fricative and a voiceless sibilant, close together in the mouth. It is not a problem.

Thanks to the rarity of the // spund, the mean density value is very low at 0.2%. The list makes 30 semantic distinctions, a loading of 83%.

bathe base 
  bathing basing 
  bathed based
bather baser 
bathe bass
clothe close 
lathe lace 
leather lesser
lithe lice 
Louth louse
Lytham lissom
mouth mouse 
  mouthing mousing 
  mouthed moused
neither nicer
seethe cease 
  seething ceasing 
  seethed ceased
that sat 
thee C 
thee sea
thee see
thence sense 
these C's 
these seas
these sees
they say 
thine sign 
though sew
though so 
though sow
those sows 
thou sow 
thus suss 
thy sigh 
writhe rice 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2010.