Minimal Pair List Vowels 8 and 17, /ʊ/ versus / aʊ / 14 pairs

   Minimal pair: Vowels 8 and 17, /ʊ/ versus / aʊ / 14 pairs

The /ʊ/ vowel is usually spelled <oo>, <u>, and <oul> in could . The / aʊ / diphthong is spelled <ou> or <ow>. The computer also found the pairs luring/louring and tour/tower , but I have taken them out since the / ʊə / diphthong in tour and luring is best treated as a distinct phoneme, and some speakers would use a palatal glide in luring in any case.

This is a contrast between a short vowel and a diphthong, fairly close in their starting positions in the mouth. There is some likelihood of confusion though not associated with any one group of learners.

The density figure is 0.71%. The set makes 6 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 42.9%.

could cowed
full foul 
  fuller fouler 
  fullest foulest 
  fullness foulness 
  fully foully 
fuller fowler
  fullers fowlers 
poorhouse powerhouse
  poorhouses powerhouses
put pout 
  puts pouts
putsch pouch
  putsches pouches