Minimal Pair List Consonants /b/ versus /z/: 87 pairs

   Minimal pair: Consonants /b/ versus /z/: 87 pairs

The spelling of /b/ is either <b> or <bb>. The /z/ sound is spelled <s>, <se>, <z> or <zz>.

The contrast is between a stop and a fricative, both voiced but well separated in the mouth so that confusions are unlikely.

Interesting pairs include

corbel causal
quibbling quisling
sibling sizzling

The mean density value is surprisingly low at 0.6%. The explanation would seem to be that both sounds can occur syllable-initial and syllable final, but there are relatively few words in English with a final /b/ (171 in this dictionary) whereas final /z/ is extremely common as a plural marker. Similarly, while /b/ as a word initial is found in nearly 1300 words, initial /z/ occurs less than 50 times. The list makes 57 semantic distinctions, a loading of 66%.

Abe A's 
B zee
baa Tsar
  baas Tsars 
babble Basil 
babe baize
babe bays
bar Tsar   
  bars Tsars
barb baas 
barb bars
barbel Basel 
bed Z 
  beds Z's
Ben Zen
best zest
bib biz
blurb blurs
bone zone
  boned zoned
  bones zones
  boning zoning
boo zoo
  boos zoos
boob boos
boob booze
  boobed boozed
  boobing boozing
booby boozy
  boobies boozes
boom zoom
  boomed zoomed
  booming zooming
  booms zooms
corbel causal 
cube Q's 
cube queues
curb curs
dabble dazzle
  dabbled dazzled
  dabbles dazzles
  dabbling dazzling
daub daws
deb Des 
describe descries
dribble drizzle
  dribbled drizzled
  dribbles drizzles
  dribbling drizzling
dub does 
Feb fez
fib fizz
  fibbed fizzed
  fibbing fizzing
glebe glees
globe glows
herb hers
jab jazz
  jabbed jazzed
  jabbing jazzing
jujube jujus
knobble nozzle
  knobbles nozzles
Kobe cosy
labour laser
  labours lasers
Lib Liz
lobe lows
lube lose
ob oz
orb awes 
orb oars
probe pros
quibbling quisling
rabble razzle
rebound resound
  rebounded resounded
  rebounding resounding
  rebounds resounds
robe rose 
robin rosin
  robins rosins
rubies ruses
sibling sizzling
sibyl sizzle
  sibyls sizzles
tribe tries