Minimal Pair List Vowels 8 and 11, /ʊ/ versus /3/ 46 pairs

   Minimal pair: Vowels 8 and 11, /ʊ/ versus /3/ 46 pairs

The /ʊ/ vowel is spelled <u>, <oo>, <ou> in could and <or> in worsted (the fabric). The /3/ vowel is spelled <ur>, <er>, <ear>, <ir> and <or> in word and worsted (beaten). Notice the homograph worsted .

This is a contrast between a short and a long vowel, both central in tongue position, though /ʊ/ is rounded. It is not a problem for learners.

The density figure is 2.35%. The set makes 27 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 58.7%.

book burke
  booked burked
  booking burking
  books burkes
bully Burley 
cook kirk
  cooks kirks
Cookham Kirkham
could curd
full furl
good gird 
  goods girds 
hood heard 
hood herd
  hooded herded 
  hooding herding 
  hoods herds 
look lurk
  looked lurked
  looking lurking
  looks lurks
pud purred 
pull pearl 
  pulled pearled 
  pulling pearling 
  pulls pearls 
pulley pearly 
puss purse
pussies purses
pussy Percy    
put pert 
putsch perch
  putsches perches 
shook shirk 
stood stirred 
took Turk 
wood whirred 
wood word
  woods words
wooded worded
woody wordy
  woodier wordier
  woodiest wordiest
wool whirl 
  wools whirls 
worsted worsted