Vowels 8 and 16, /ʊ/ versus /əʊ/    29 pairs      [cookcoke.html]

The /ʊ/ vowel is usually spelled <oo>, <u>, and <oul> in should. The /əʊ/ diphthong is spelled <oCe>, <oa> or <ow>. The computer also found the pair luring/lowering, but I have taken that out since the /ʊə/ diphthong in luring is best treated as a distinct phoneme, and some speakers would use a palatal glide in any case.

This is a contrast between a short vowel and a diphthong, fairly close in their starting positions in the mouth. There is some likelihood of confusion though not associated with any one group of learners.

The density figure is 1.48%. The set makes 18 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 62%.

brook broke 
bull bole 
  bulls boles 
cook coke 
  cooked coked 
  cooking coking 
  cooks cokes
cooks coax 
could code 
crook croak
  crooked croaked 
  crooking croaking 
  crooks croaks 
full foal 
good goad 
  goods goads 
gulden golden 
hood hoed 
hooks hoax 
pull pole 
  pulled polled 
  pulling polling 
  pulls poles 
putsch poach
putsches poaches 
should showed 
stood stowed
took toque
wood woad 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009