Vowels 5 and 7, /ɑ/ versus /ɔ/    225 pairs      [carcore.html]

The /ɑ/ vowel is usually spelled <ar> but we also find <a> in pa and <aa> in kraal, along with the letter name R. The /ɔ/ vowel has a number of spellings including <or> in order, <oar> in board, <our> in course, <au> in author and <aw> in dawn.

This contrast is between two long vowels whose tongue positions are fairly close but which are also distinguished by lip-rounding. Confusions are possible, and this is a known problem for Dutch learners among others.

There is one set of pairs involving a taboo word: fart/fort.

Interesting pairs include:

ardour order
artistic autistic
carcase caucus
department deportment
martyr mortar
starkers stalkers

The density value is 5.29%. The pairs make 130 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 59.4%.

afar afore
ah awe	 
ah or
ah ore
arc auk
  arcs auks
ardour order
  ardours orders
art aught
Arthur author
artistic autistic
baa'd bawd	
baa'd board
baa'd bored
baas boars
balk bark
balked barked
balks barks
bar boar   	
  bars boars
bar bore
  barred bored
  barring boring
  bars bores
barbel bauble
barbels baubles		 
bard bawd
  bards bawds
bard board
  bards boards    
bard bored  
Barking balking
barn Bourne   	
barred bawd
barred board  
barred bored
calm corm
  calms corms
Calne corn
car caw
  cars caws
car core
  cars cores
cars cause
carcase caucus
  carcases caucuses
card cawed
card chord
  cards chords
card cord
  cards cords  
  carded corded
  carding cording
Carl call
carp Corp 
carps corpse
cart caught
cart court
  carted courted
  carting courting
  carts courts
cast coursed
char chaw
  chars chaws
char chore
  chars chores
Chard chawed
Charlie Chorley
compartment comportment
  compartments comportments
darn dawn 
  darned dawned
  darning dawning
  darns dawns
depart deport
  departed deported
  departing deporting
  department deportment
  departs deports
discard discord
  discards discords
fa faugh
far faugh
far for		
far fore
farce force
  farces forces
farm form
  farmed formed
  farming forming
  farms forms
farmer former
fart fort
  farts forts
fast forced
garden Gordon
guard gaud 	 
  guards gauds
guardian Gordian 
ha haw
hard hawed
hard hoard
hard horde
harder hoarder
hark hawk
  harked hawked
  harking hawking
  harks hawks
harm haulm
hearten Houghton 
hearty haughty 
  heartier haughtier 
  heartiest haughtiest 
  heartily haughtily 
impart import
  imparted imported
  imparting importing
  imparts imports
jar jaw
  jarred jawed
  jars jaws
khan corn
  khans corns 
kraal crawl 
  kraals crawls 
la law
lard laud
  larded lauded
  larding lauding
  lards lauds
larn lawn
  larns lawns
ma maw
Mali Morley
mar maw
  mars maws
mar more
marl maul
marred Maud 
Mars maws
martyr mortar
  martyred mortared
  martyring mortaring
  martyrs mortars
pa paw		
pa pore
pa pour
par paw
  pars paws	 
par pore
  pars pores	 
  parred pored
  parring poring
par pour
  pars pours  
  parred poured
  parring pouring
pars pause
parr paw 
  parrs paws
parr pore	
  parrs pores
parr pour
  parrs pours
parrs pause
parch porch
  parches porches
park pork
parka porker
  parkas porkers
parky pawky
parse pause
  parsed paused
  parses pauses
  parsing pausing
parse paws
parse pores		 
parse pours
part port
  parted ported
  parting porting
  parts ports
partly portly  
R awe	 
R or
R ore	
  R's ores
rah raw
R's awes
sake Sauchie 
scar score
  scarred scored
  scarring scoring
  scars scores
shah shore
  shahs shores
shard shored
spar spore
  spars spores
stark stalk
starker stalker
starkers stalkers
starling stalling
star store
  starred stored
  starring storing
  stars stores
starry storey
starry story
tar tor
  tars tors
tars tawse
tarn torn
tarry Tory 
tart taut
  tartly tautly
  tartness tautness
tart taught
tartar tauter
yah yaw
yard yawed
yarn yawn
  yarned yawned
  yarning yawning
  yarns yawns

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2009