Vowels 5 and 9, /ɑ/ versus /u/    92 pairs      [barnboon.html]

The /ɑ/ vowel is usually spelled <ar> but we also find <ear> in heart, <a> in khan and the letter name R. The /u/ vowel is spelled <oo>, <ew>, <ui> in bruise, and <ou> in you.

This contrast is between two long back vowels which are fairly well separated in the mouth and distinguished by lip-rounding. It is unlikely to cause problems for learners.

There is one set of pairs involving a taboo word: khan/coon.

The density value is 2.21%. The pairs make 53 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 57.6%.

Accra accrue
baa boo
  baa'd booed
  baaing booing
  baas boos
balm boom
barb boob
  barbed boobed
  barbs boobs
barn boon
  barns boons
bath booth
  baths booths
blah blew
bra brew
  bras brews
bras bruise  
brass Bruce 
Cali coolie
Calne coon
card cooed
Carl cool
carp coop
  carped cooped
  carping cooping
  carps coops
car coo
  cars coos
cart coot
  carts coots
Chard chewed
char chew
  chars chews
  charred chewed
grave groove
  graves grooves
ha Hoo 
half hoof
  halves hooves
hard who'd
harm whom
harp hoop
  harped hooped
  harping hooping
  harps hoops
hart hoot	  
  harts hoots
heart hoot
  hearted hooted
  hearts hoots
jar Jew
  jars Jews 
khan coon
  khans coons
la lieu
lakh Luke 
larn loon
  larns loons
last loosed
ma moo
mar moo
  marred mood
  mars moos
march mooch
  marched mooched
  marches mooches
  marching mooching
Mars moos
mart moot
pa pooh
raft roofed
rah rue
R's ooze
scarp scoop
  scarps scoops
shah shoe
  shahs shoes
shard shooed
spark spook
  sparks spooks
ta too
ta two
tar two
  tars twos
tart toot
  tarted tooted
  tarting tooting
  tarts toots
Tsar zoo
  Tsars zoos
yah you
yard you'd

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2009