Minimal Pair List Vowels 5 and 11, /ɑ/ versus /3/ 156 pairs

The /ɑ/ vowel is usually spelled <ar> but we also find <ear> in heart , <aa> in baa , <a> in lakh and the letter name R . The /3/ vowel is spelled <er>, <ir>, <ur> or <ear>. In this dictionary it is also given as the pronunciation of the exclamation Ugh! , but that could be disputed.

This contrast is between two long vowels which are fairly close together in the mouth. It is potential source of confusion, though not associated with particular group of learners.

The only pair involving taboo words is arse/erse .

Interesting pairs include:

argent urgent
carnal colonel
carton curtain
pasha Persia
starling Stirling

The density value is 5.06%. The pairs make 80 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 51.3%.

ah ugh
arc irk
  arcs irks 
ark irk
  arks irks
argent urgent
argot ergo
arse Erse 
baa burr
  baas burrs
baa'd bird
bar burr
  bars burrs
barbel burble
  barbels burbles
bark burke
  barked burked
  barking burking
  barks burkes
barley burly 
barn burn
  barns burns
Bart Bert 
bath berth
  bathed berthed
  bathing berthing
  baths berths
bath birth
  baths births
barn Berne
barn burn
  barns burns
Cali curly
calve curve
  calved curved
  calves curves
  calving curving
car cur
  cars curs
card curd
  cards curds
Carl curl
carnal Colonel
cart curt
carton curtain
  cartons curtains
cast cursed
Charles churls
dark dirk
dart dirt
  darted dirtied
derby derby
  derbies derbies
far fir
far fur
farm firm
  farmed firmed
  farming firming
  farms firms
farmer firmer
farthest furthest
fast first
  fasts firsts
father further
  fathered furthered
  fathering furthering
  fathers furthers
gargle gurgle
  gargled gurgled
  gargles gurgles
  gargling gurgling
guard gird 
  guarded girded 
  guarding girding 
  guards girds 
hard heard
hart hurt
  harts hurts
harts Hertz
heart hurt
  hearts hurts  
hearts hertz
lakh lurk
  lakhs lurks
lark lurk
  larked lurked
  larking lurking
  larks lurks
larch lurch
  larches lurches
larn learn
  larned learned
  larning learning
  larns learns
Mach murk
mark murk
mar myrrh
Marge merge
palm perm
  palmed permed
  palming perming
  palms perms
pa per
par per		 
parr per
pa purr
  pas purrs
par purr
  pars purrs
parr purr
  parrs purrs    
parch perch
  parched perched
  parches perches
  parching perching
park perk
  parked perked
  parking perking
  parks perks
parky perky
parley pearly
parson person
  parsons persons
parsonage personage
  parsonages personages
part pert
  partly pertly
pass purse
  passed pursed
  passes purses
  passing pursing
pasha Persia
quark quirk
  quarks quirks
R err
  R's errs
scarf scurf
shark shirk
  sharks shirks
spar spur
  sparred spurred
  sparring spurring
  spars spurs
star stir
  starred stirred
  starring stirring
  stars stirs
starling Stirling 
suave swerve
tarn tern
  tarns terns
vast versed
yarn yearn
  yarned yearned
  yarning yearning
  yarns yearns