Consonants /b/ versus /h/, 337 pairs     [bumshums.html]

The spelling of /b/ is always <b> and /h/ is alwys <h> in this list since all the contrasts are in syllable-initial position. The /h/ sound does not occur finally. Notice that the homograph bow enters contrasts with hoe and how.

The contrast is between a voiced plosive and a voiceless fricative, maximally separated in the mouth. There is little risk of confusion.

There is one mildly taboo word pair in bum/hum.

Interesting pairs include:

bandstand handstand
barber harbour
basin hasten
bollard hollered

The mean density value is 4.7%. The list makes 173 semantic distinctions, a loading of 52%.

abed ahead
B he
baa ha
baa'd hard
back hack
  backed hacked
  backing hacking
  backs hacks
backband backhand
bad had
badges Hadjis 
bag hag
  bags hags
bail hail
  bailed hailed
  bailing hailing 
  bails hails 
bail hale  
bait hate
  baited hated
  baiting hating
  baits hates
bake hake
bald hauled
bale hail
  bales hails 
  baled hailed
  baling hailing
bale hale
balk hawk
  balked hawked
  balking hawking
  balks hawks
ball hall
  balls halls
ball haul
  balling hauling
  balled hauled
  balls hauls
bally Halle 
balm harm
band hand
  banded handed
  banding handing
  bands hands
bandy handy
  bandier handier
  bandiest handiest
bandstand handstand
  bandstands handstands
bang hang
  banging hanging
  banged hanged
  bangs hangs
bank hank
  banks hanks
banker hanker
  bankers hankers
banned hand	  
bar ha
barber harbour
  barbers harbours
bard hard
bare hair
  bares hairs
bare hare
  bares hares
  bared hared
  baring haring
bare Herr 
bark hark
  barked harked
  barking harking
  barks harks
barred hard
barrelled Harold 
barrier harrier
  barriers harriers
barrow harrow 
  barrows harrows
Barry Harry
based haste
bash hash
  bashes hashes
  bashing hashing
  bashed hashed
basin hasten
  basins hastens
baste haste
bat hat
  bats hats
batch hatch
  batches hatches
batter hatter
  batters hatters
bawd hawed
bawd hoard
  bawds hoards
bawd horde
  bawds hordes  
bawl haul
  bawled hauled
  bawling hauling
  bawls hauls
bay hay
bays haze
be he
bear hair
  bears hairs
bear hare
  bearing haring
  bears hares  
bear Herr
beat heat
  beating heating
  beats heats
beau ho
beau hoe
  beaux hoes
Beccles heckles
beck heck
  becks hecks
bed head
  bedded headed
  bedding heading
  beds heads
bedroom headroom
bee he
beep heap
  beeps heaps
beer hear
  beers hears
beer here  
beet heat
  beets heats
beeves heaves
bell hell
  bells hells
belle hell
  belles hells
belled held
Belper helper
ben hen
  bens hens
Bern Herne
bevy heavy
bey hay
beys haze
bhang hang
  bhangs hangs
bide hide
  bides hides
  biding hiding
  bidden hidden
  bid hid
bier hear
  biers hears
bier here  
bight height
  bights heights
bike hike
  biked hiked
  bikes hikes
  biking hiking
Billy hilly
bind hind
  binds hinds
binge hinge
  binges hinges
bird heard
bird herd
  birds herds
bitch hitch
  bitched hitched
  bitches hitches
  bitching hitching
blackball Blackhall 
boar haw
  boars haws
boar hoar	
boar whore
  boars whores
board hawed
board hoard
  boarded hoarded
  boards hoards
  boarding hoarding
board horde
  boards hordes  
  boarded hoarded
  boarding hoarding
boarder hoarder
  boarders hoarders	    
boast host 
  boasted hosted
  boasting hosting
  boasts hosts
bob hob
  bobs hobs
bobby hobby
  bobbies hobbies
bode hoed
bog hog
  bogged hogged
  bogging hogging
  bogs hogs
bold hold
bolder holder
bole hole
  boles holes
bollard hollered
bolster holster
  bolsters holsters
bone hone
  boned honed
  bones hones
  boning honing
Bonn Hon
boo Hoo 
book hook
  booked hooked
  booking hooking
  books hooks
bookie hooky
bookworm hookworm
  bookworms hookworms
boom whom
boos who's
boos whose
boot hoot
  booted hooted
  booting hooting
  boots hoots
booze who's
booze whose
border hoarder
  borders hoarders
bore haw		
  bores haws
bore hoar	
bore whore
  bores whores
  boring whoring  
  bored whored
bored hawed
bored hoard
bored horde
Boris Horace
born horn
borne horn
bough how
boughs house
boulder holder
  boulders holders
bound hound
  bounded hounded
  bounding hounding
  bounds hounds
Bourne horn
bow ho
bow hoe
  bowing hoeing
  bowed hoed
  bows hoes
bow how   
bowl hole
  bowls holes
  bowling holing
  bowled holed
bowled hold
box hocks
buff huff
  buffed huffed
  buffing huffing
  buffs huffs
bug hug
  bugged hugged
  bugging hugging
  bugs hugs
built hilt
bulk hulk
  bulking hulking
  bulks hulks
bum hum
  bummed hummed
  bumming humming
  bums hums
bump hump
  bumped humped
  bumping humping
  bumps humps
bun Hun 
bunch hunch
  bunched hunched
  bunches hunches
  bunching hunching
bung hung
bunk hunk
  bunks hunks
bunker humker
  bunkers hunkers
bunny honey
  bunnies honeys
bunting hunting
bur her
burr her
  burrs hers
burble herbal
bustle hustle
  bustled hustled
  bustles hustles
  bustling hustling
but hut
butt hut
  butts huts
  butted hutted
buy hi
buy hie
  buying hieing
  buys hies  
buy high
buyer higher
buyer hire
  buyers hires
by hi
by hie
by high
bye hi
bye hie
  byes hies
bye high
byroad highroad
  byroads highroads
byway highway
  byways highways
hotbed hothead
  hotbeds hotheads

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2010.