Minimal Pair List Vowels 10 and 11, /ʌ/ versus /3/ 134 pairs
The /ʌ/ vowel is always spelled with <u>. The /3/ vowel is spelled <er>, <ir> or <ur>. Notice the homograph furrier . I have doubts about the status of the pair cuss/curse , since these are really just variant spellings of the same word, but they have slightly different distributions.
This is a contrast between a short and a long vowel with similar tongue positions. Speakers who have post-vocalic -r, such as Scots and most American, will not treat this distinction as a vowel difference. It tends not to be too great a problem for learners, since most of them will treat /ʌ/ as a variant of /æ/ and will replace /3/ with some version of /e/ or /eə/.
Taboo word pairs include: bugger/burgher .
Interesting pairs include:
The density figure is 4.35%. The set makes 75 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 56%.
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