Consonants /k/ versus /f/, 533 pairs     [catfat.html]

The /k/ sound is spelled with <c> or <k> initially, and usually <ck> or <ke> medially or finally though we also see <c> in tic and <cc> in accord. A special case is <ch> in the RP-modified pronunciation of the loan word Reich. (Many RP speakers will use a fricative in this word.) The /f/ sound is usually spelled with <f>, <ff> or <ph>, and <gh> in cough and tough.

The contrast is between a velar stop and a labio-dental fricative, both voiceless. It causes no problems.

Taboo word pairs include cart/fart.

Interesting pairs include:

callous phallus
chorister forester
chronology phrenology
circuit surfeit
cocky coffee
coroner foreigner
klaxon flaxen
tycoon typhoon

The mean density value is 3.7%. The list makes 257 semantic distinctions, a loading of 48%.

acclaim aflame
accord afford
  accorded afforded
  according affording
  accords affords
beak beef
  beaks beefs
buck buff
  bucked buffed
  bucks buffs
  bucking buffing
bucket buffet
  bucketed buffeted
  bucketing buffeting
  buckets buffets
cab fab
cable fable
  cabled fabled
  cables fables
cad fad
  cads fads
caddie faddy
cake fake
  caked faked
  cakes fakes
  caking faking
calk fork
  calked forked
  calking forking
  calks forks
call fall
  calling falling
  calls falls
callous phallus	 
callow fallow
callus phallus
calluses fallacies
calm farm
  calmed farmed
  calming farming
  calms farms
calmer farmer
calyx califs 
came fame
can fan
  canned fanned
  canning fanning
  cans fans
cane feign
  caned feigned
  canes feigns
  caning feigning
canny Fanny 
car far
care fair
  cares fairs
care fare
  cared fared
  cares fares
  caring faring
carer fairer
carrier farrier
  carriers farriers
cart fart
  carted farted
  carting farting
  carts farts
case face
  cased faced
  cases faces
  casing facing
  casings facings
cast fast
  casts fasts
  casting fasting
caste fast
  castes fasts
caster faster
cat fat
  cats fats
catty fatty
  cattier fattier
  cattiest fattiest
cattish fattish
caught fort
caught fought
cause fours
caw faugh
caw for
caw fore
caw four
  caws fours
cawed ford
Celt felt
chord ford
  chords fords
chorister forester
  choristers foresters
chronology phrenology
circuit surfeit
  circuits surfeits
clack flak
clacks flax
claim flame
  claimed flamed
  claiming flaming
  claims flames
clank flank
  clanked flanked
  clanking flanking
  clanks flanks
clan flan
  clans flans
clap flap
  clapped flapped
  clapping flapping
  claps flaps
clapper flapper
  clappers flappers
Clare flair
Clare flare
clash flash
  clashed flashed
  clashes flashes
  clashing flashing
clatter flatter
  clattered flattered
  clattering flattering
  clatters flatters
Claud flawed
Claud floored
clause flaws
clause floors
claw flaw
  claws flaws
claw floor
  claws floors
clay flay
cleat fleet 
  cleats fleets
Clem phlegm
clew flew
clew flue
  clews flues
click cliff 
  clicks cliffs
click flick
  clicked flicked
  clicking flicking
  clicks flicks
clinch flinch
  clinched flinched
  clinches flinches
  clinching flinching
cling fling
  clinging flinging
  clings flings
clip flip
  clipped flipped
  clipping flipping
  clips flips
clipper flipper
  clippers flippers
clock flock
  clocked flocked
  clocking flocking
  clocks flocks
clog flog
  clogged flogged
  clogging flogging
  clogs flogs
clone flown
close floes
close flows
clout flout
  clouted flouted
  clouting flouting
  clouts flouts
cluck fluff
  clucked fluffed
  clucking fluffing
  clucks fluffs
clung flung
clunk flunk
  clunked flunked
  clunking flunking
  clunks flunks
cluster fluster
  clustered flustered
  clustering flustering
  clusters flusters
clutter flutter
  cluttered fluttered
  cluttering fluttering
  clutters flutters
Clwyd fluid
Co foe
coal foal
  coaled foaled
  coaling foaling
  coals foals
coaming foaming
coarse force
coax folks
cob fob
  cobs fobs
cock cough
  cocked coughed
  cocks coughs
  cocking coughing
cocks fox
cocker coffer
  cockers coffers
cocky coffee
cog fog
  cogs fogs
coil foil
  coiled foiled
  coiling foiling
  coils foils
coke folk
cold fold
  colds folds
colder folder
collie folly
  collies follies
comb foam
  combed foamed
  combs foams
  combing foaming
concur confer
  concurred conferred
  concurring conferring
  concurs confers
cone phone
  coned phoned
  cones phones
  coning phoning
coney phoney
  coneys phoneys
conic phonic
conned fond
cont font
cool fool
  cooled fooled
  cooling fooling
  cools fools
cop fop
  cops fops
cord ford
  corded forded
  cording fording
  cords fords
core for
cored ford
cork fork
  corks forks
  corked forked
  corking forking
corm form
  corms forms
corn faun
  corns fauns
corn faun
  corned fawned
  corning fawning
  corns fawns
coroner foreigner
  coroners foreigners
corse force
  corses forces
corset faucet
  corsets faucets
count fount
  counts founts
course force
  coursed forced
  coursing forcing
  courses forces
court fort
  courts forts
court fought
cowl foul
  cowling fouling
  cowls fouls
cox fox
  coxed foxed
  coxes foxes
  coxing foxing
coy Fowey 
crank frank 
  cranked franked
  cranking franking
  cranks franks 
crate freight
  crated freighted
  crates freights
  crating freighting
crater freighter
  craters freighters
craze frays
craze phrase
  crazed phrased
  crazes phrases
creaky freaky
  creakier freakier
  creakiest freakiest
creed freed
Crieff creak
crier friar
  criers friars
cringe fringe
  cringed fringed
  cringes fringes
  cringing fringing
crock frock
  crocks frocks
crocked croft
crossed frost
crow fro
crown frown
  crowned frowned
  crowning frowning
  crowns frowns
crows froze
cry fry
  crying frying
  cries fries
  cried fried
cuddle fuddle
  cuddled fuddled
  cuddles fuddles
  cuddling fuddling
cue few
cues fuse
culminate fulminate
  culminated fulminated
  culminates fulminates
  culminating fulminating
culmination fulmination
  culminations fulminations
cur fir
  curs firs
cur fur
  curs furs  
curious furious
  curiously furiously
curl furl
  curled furled
  curling furling
  curls furls
cursed first
cuss fuss
  cusses fusses
cut phut
deck deaf
decked deft
decker deafer 
dicker differ
  dickered differed
  dickering differing
  dickers differs
dock doff
  docked doffed
  docking doffing
  docks doffs
elk elf 
flux fluffs 
Greek grief
  Greeks griefs
hark half 
harked haft 
incur infer
  incurred inferred
  incurring inferring
  incurs infers
K fey
K's phase
kail fail 
karma farmer
  karmas farmers 
Kate fête
keel feel
  keels feels
  keeling feeling
keeled field  
keened fiend 
ken fen
  kens fens 
kenned fend 
kennel fennel 
Kerry ferry
ketch fetch 
  ketches fetches 
Kettering fettering
kettle fettle 
key fee 
  keyed feed 
  keying feeing 
  keys fees
kicks fix 
kill fill
  kills fills
  killings fillings 
  killed filled
kind find 
  kinds finds 
kind fined
kinder finder 
kine fine 
kissed fist 
kit fit
  kits fits 
  kitted fitted 
  kitting fitting 
kite fight 
  kites fights 
klaxon flaxen 
lakh laugh
  lakhs laughs
lark laugh
  larked laughed
  larking laughing
  larks laughs
leak leaf
  leaked leafed 
  leaking leafing 
  leaks leafs 
leaky leafy 
  leakier leafier 
  leakiest leafiest 
leek leaf
licked lift
like life 
locked loft
luck luff
luxe luffs 
muck muff
  mucked muffed
  mucks muffs
muckle muffle
murky murphy
nick niff
  nicks niffs
oak oaf 
  oaks oafs 
Oct oft
pickle piffle
  pickled piffled
  pickles piffles
  pickling piffling
puck puff
  pucks puffs
Q few
Q's fuse
queue few
queues fuse
queued feud 
quick quiff
recur refer
  recurred referred
  recurring referring
  recurs refers
reek reef 
  reeked reefed 
  reeking reefing 
  reeks reefs 
Reich rife
rick riff
  ricks riffs
  ricked riffed
ricked rift
ruck rough 
  rucked roughed 
  rucking roughing 
  rucks roughs 
sake safe 
  sakes safes 
sicked sift
silk sylph
  silks sylphs
snick sniff
  snicked sniffed
  snicking sniffing
  snicks sniffs
soaker sofa
  soakers sofas
socked soft
spook spoof 
  spooks spoofs 
stark staff 
stick stiff
  sticks stiffs
sticker stiffer
strike strife 
stuck stuff
Styx stiffs
succour suffer
  succoured suffered
  succouring suffering
  succours suffers
suck sough 
  sucked soughed 
  sucking soughing 
  sucks soughs 
tacky Taffy 
tic tiff
  ticks tiffs
truckle truffle 
  truckles truffles
tuck tough 
  tucks toughs 
tucked tuft
tucker tougher 
Turk turf
  Turks turfs
tycoon typhoon
  tycoons typhoons
uncurl unfurl
  uncurled unfurled
  uncurling unfurling
  uncurls unfurls
wake waif 
  wakes waifs 
walk wharf
  walks wharfs
wick whiff 
  wicks whiffs 
wreck ref 		
  wrecks refs
  wrecking reffing
wrecked reft 
X F's 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, April 2010.