Vowels 8 and 10, /ʊ/ versus /ʌ/    20 pairs      [bookbuck.html]

The /ʊ/ vowel is spelled <u>, <oo>, and <ou> in could. The /ʌ/ vowel is spelled <u> throughout. Notice the homograph putting with its two meanings of "placing" and "hitting a golf ball on the green".

Both vowels are short and central in tongue position, though /ʊ/ is rounded. This is a recognised problem for speakers of Dutch and perhaps some other languages, but with so few minimal pairs, it is not very important. Some native speakers, especially from the north of England, do not make the disinction.

The density figure is 1.022%. The set makes 11 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 55%.

book buck
  booked bucked
  booking bucking
  books bucks
bookie Buckie
could cud
crooks crux
foot phut
look luck
looks luxe
put putt
  puts putts
  putting putting
rook ruck
  rooked rucked
  rooking rucking
  rooks rucks
shook shuck
stood stud
took tuck

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009