Consonants /d/ versus /l/, 585 pairs     [wardwall.html]

The /d/ sound is spelled with <d>, <dd> or <de>, and the /l/ sound is <l> or <ll>. Notice how the homograph do makes pairs with with low and loo.

The contrast is between a voiced stop and a voiced lateral continuant, fairly close together in the mouth. It may be a problem for learners when the sounds are contrasted medially, but not generally in other environments.

The /l/ sound in RP is usually a clear /l/ initially or medially and a dark /l/ when final in the syllable. It may also be syllabic, occurring after another consonant without an intervening vowel. The computer identified many pairs contrasting /d/ with syllabic /l/, as in arrived/arrival. I have removed all of these, since they would not be perceived as minimal, nor would they be a problem for any learners.

The only mildly taboo word pair is peed/peal.

Interesting pairs include:

comedian chameleon
dafter laughter
dental lentil
devil level
dipstick lipstick
humidity humility
meadow mellow
overawed overall
reddish relish
Spaniard spaniel

The mean density value is 2.6%. The list makes 335 semantic distinctions, a loading of 57%.

ad Al 	   
add Al
Adam alum
aid ail
  aiding ailing
  aids ails
assayed assail 
awed all   
awed awl
baseboard baseball 
  baseboards baseballs 
bawd ball 
  bawds balls 
bayed bail 
bed bell 
  bed bells
bed belle  
  beds belles
bedded bellied
bedding belling
bid bill
  bids bills
  bidding billing
bide bile
blackboard blackball 
  blackboards blackballs 
board bawl
  boards bawls
  boarding balling 
boardroom ballroom 
  boardrooms ballrooms 
bode bole
  bodes boles
bode bowl
  bodes bowls
booed buhl
braid braille
broad brawl 
  broads brawls 
broader brawler 
buoyed boil 
card Carl 
cawed call 
cedar sealer
  cedars sealers
cede seal
  cedes seals	   
  ceding sealing
ceding ceiling
chards Charles 
chid chill
chord call
  chords calls 
cicada cicala
  cicadas cicalas
cod col
  cods cols
coda cola
  codas colas
code coal 
  codes coals 
comedian chameleon 
  comedians chameleons 
concede conceal 
  concedes conceals 
  conceding concealing 
cooed cool
cord call
  cords calls
  cording calling 
cowed cowl
creed creel
  creeds creels
cud cull
curd curl
  curds curls
D lea
  D's leas
D lee
dab lab 
  dabs labs
dace lace
dad lad
  dads lads
daddy dally
  daddies dallies
daddy laddy
  daddies laddies
daft laughed
dafter laughter
daisy lazy
  daisies lazes
Dakar lacquer
dam lam
  dams lams
  dammed lammed
  damming lamming
dam lamb
  dams lambs
  dammed lambed
  damming lambing
dame lame
  dames lames
damn lam	   
  damns lams
  damned lammed
  damning lamming
damn lamb
  dammed lambed
  damming lambing
  damns lambs
damp lamp
  damps lamps
dance lance
  danced lanced
  dances lances
  dancing Lancing 
dancer lancer
  dancers lancers
Dane lain
Dane lane
  Danes lanes
dank lank
dare lair
  dares lairs
dare layer
  dares layers	 
  dared layered
dared laird
dark lakh
darn Larne 
darn larn
  darned larned
  darning larning
  darns larns
dash lash
  dashed lashed
  dashes lashes
  dashing lashing
date late
Dave lave
daw law
  daws laws
dawn lawn
  dawns lawns
day lay
  days lays
days laze
daze lays
daze laze
  dazed lazed
  dazing lazing
dead dell
deaden leaden
Deal Lille
dear leer
  dears leers
debt let
  debts lets
debtor letter
  debtors letters
deed deal
  deeds deals 
defied defile
deft left
deign lain
deign lane
  deigns lanes
  deigned laned
  deigning laning
den Len 
Denny Lenny
dens lens
dent Lent 
  dents Lents 
dental lentil
Des Les
devil level
  devilled levelled
  devilling levelling
  devils levels
Devon leaven
Di lie
dice lice
dicker liquor
dickers liquors
did dill  
die lie
  died lied
  dies lies
  dying lying
dike like
  diked liked
  dikes likes
  diking liking
dime lime
  dimes limes
dim limb
  dimmed limbed
  dimming limning
  dims limbs
din Lynn 
dine line
  dined lined
  dines lines
  dining lining
diner liner
  diners liners
dint lint
dints Linz 
dipstick lipstick
  dipsticks lipsticks
dire liar
dirk lurk
  dirks lurks
dive live
  dives lives
dizzy Lizzy 
do loo
  do's loos
do lo
do low
dock lock
  docked locked
  docking locking
  docks locks
docker locker
  dockers lockers
docket locket
  dockets lockets
dodder dollar
  dodders dollars
dodge lodge
  dodged lodged
  dodges lodges
  dodging lodging
dodger lodger
  dodgers lodgers
doe lo
doe low
  does lows
doffed loft
dog log
  dogged logged
  dogging logging
  dogs logs
doll loll
  dolled lolled
  dolling lolling
  dolls lolls
dolly lolly
  dollies lollies
dome loam
doom loom
  doomed loomed
  dooming looming
  dooms looms
door law
  doors laws 
door lor
dope lope
  doped loped
  dopes lopes
  doping loping
Dora Laura
doss loss
  dosses losses
dossed lost
dost lust
dot lot
  dots lots
doubt lout
  doubts louts
Doug lug
dour lure
douse louse
dove love
  doves loves
dowel dowered
dower lour
  dowered loured
  dowering louring
  dowers lours
duck luck
ducks luxe
ducky lucky
dud dull
  duds dulls
dude lewd
dug lug
  dugs lugs
dull lull
  dulled lulled
  dulling lulling
  dulls lulls
dummy lumme
dump lump
  dumped lumped
  dumping lumping
  dumps lumps
dumpy lumpy
  dumpier lumpier
  dumpiest lumpiest
dung lung
dust lust
  dusts lusts
  dusted lusted
  dusting lusting
duster lustre
dusty lusty	 
  dustier lustier
  dustiest lustiest
dye lie
  dyes lies
  dyeing lying
dyer liar
  dyers liars
Ed L
Eddie Ellie
erred earl 
fade fail
  fades fails
  fading failing
fed fell
feed feel
  feeding feeling
  feeds feels
feeder feeler
  feeders feelers
fired phial
fired file
flayed flail 
food fool
  foods fools
footboard football 
  footboards footballs 
ford fall 
  fording falling 
  fords falls 
frayed frail 
gad gal
  gads gals
gaud Gaul 
  gauds Gauls 
giddy gillie
gird girl
  girds girls
goad goal
  goads goals
grade grail
  grades grails
grid grill
  grids grills
guide guile
had Hal 
hawed hall 	  
hawed haul
head hell
heard hurl
he'd he'll
heed heal
  heeding healing 
  heeds heals 
heed heel
  heeds heels
herd hurl
  herding hurling
  herds hurls
hid hill
hoard hall
  hoards halls
hoard haul
  hoarding hauling 
  hoards hauls 
hoed hole
hoed whole
horde hall
  hordes halls
horde haul
  hordes hauls  
howdah howler
  howdahs howlers
humidity humility
I'd I'll
id ill
ides aisles 
jade gaol 
  jades gaols 
Judy Julie
keyed keel 
kid kill
  kidding killing
  kids kills
knead Neil 
knead kneel
  kneading kneeling
  kneads kneels
lied lisle
made mail
made male	  
maid mail
  maids mails
maid male
  maids males  
Mandy manly
marred marl 
Maud maul
Maudie Morley
mead meal
  meads meals
meadow mellow
  meadows mellows
mewed mule
mid mill
misdeed misdeal 
  misdeeds misdeals 
misdeed mislead
  misdeeds misleads
Mod moll
  Mods molls
mode mole
  modes moles
modify mollify
  modifying mollifying
  modification mollification
  modified mollified
  modifies mollifies
mud mull
  muds mulls
Ned Nell
Neddy Nelly
need Neil 
need kneel
  needing kneeling
  needs kneels
neighed nail 
node knoll 
  nodes knolls 
overawed overall 
pad pal
  pads pals
  padding palling
padded pallid
Paddy pally
paid pail
paid pale
pall pawed
pall poured
Paul pawed 
Paul poured
peed peal 
peed peel
pod poll
  pods polls
proud prowl
prouder prowler
pud pull
  puds pulls
pudding pulling
purred pearl 
quid quill
  quids quills
raid rail
  raiding railing
  raids rails
read reel
  reading reeling
  reads reels
reared real 
record recall 
  recording recalling 
  records recalls 
reddish relish
rid rill
  rids rills
ride rile
  rides riles
  riding riling
road rôle
  roads rôles 
rood rule
  roods rules
rude rule
ruder ruler
Ryde rile
said cell 
said sell
scud scull
  scudding sculling
  scuds sculls
seed seal
  seeds seals	
  seeding sealing
seeding ceiling  
sewed Seoul 
sewed sole
sewed soul
shad shall
shade shale
shadow shallow
  shadowed shallowed
  shadowing shallowing
  shadows shallows
she'd she'll
shed shell
  shedding shelling
  sheds shells
shored shawl 
showed shoal
skid skill
  skids skills
sodded solid
sowed Seoul
sowed sole 
sowed soul
Spaniard spaniel
  Spaniards spaniels
sped spell
staid stale
  staidness staleness
steed steal 
  steeds steals 
stored stall 
stowed stole 
strode stroll
Ted tel
Ted tell
  Teds tells
Teddy telly
  teddies tellies
teed teal 
they'd they'll
tide tile
  tides tiles
  tiding tiling
toad toll
  toads tolls
towered towel 
toyed toil 
trade trail
  trades trails
  trading trailing
trader trailer
  traders trailers
undock unlock
  undocked unlocked
  undocking unlocking
  undocks unlocks
unwed unwell
vied vile
void voile
wade wail
  wading wailing
  wades wails
wader whaler
  waders whalers
wades Wales 
wadi Wally 
ward wall 
  warding walling 
  wards walls 
we'd we'll
wed well
  wedding welling
  weds wells
weed weal
weed wheel
  weeds wheels  
  weeding wheeling
whirred whirl 
who'd who'll
wide while 
widow willow
  widows willows	   
wood wool
  woods wools
woody woolly
  woodier woolier
  woodiest wooliest
word whirl
  wording whirling 
  words whirls 
would wool 
yawed yawl
you'd you'll

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, March 2010.