Vowels 5 and 16, /ɑ/ versus /əʊ/    201 pairs      [farmfoam.html]

The /ɑ/ vowel is usually spelled <ar> but we also find <a> in ta, <aa> in baa and the letter name R. The /əʊ/ diphthong is spelled <oCe>, <o>, <oa>, <oe>, <eau> in beau, and occurs in the letter name O.

This contrast is between a long vowel and a diphthong. The starting tongue positions are fairly close and confusions are possible, though not associated with any particular group of learners.

Interesting pairs include:

ardour odour
behalves behoves
darling doling
Martian motion

The density value is 4.85%. The pairs make 102 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 50.7%.

Aachen oaken
ah O 
aha oho
alms ohms
arc oak
  arcs oaks
ardour odour
  ardours odours
arm ohm
  arms ohms
Art oat
arts oats
baa beau	 
  baas beaux
baa bow
  baas bows
  baaing bowing
  baa'd bowed  
baa'd bode	 
bar beau
  bars beaux
bar bow
  bars bows
  barred bowed
barred bode    
barman bowman
  barmen bowmen
barn bone
  barns bones
barter boater
  barters boaters
behalves behoves
blah blow
cadre coda
  cadres codas
calm comb
  calmed combed
  calming coaming
  calms combs
calmer coma
calmer comber
Calne cone
calve cove
  calves coves
card code
  carded coded
  carding coding
  cards codes
Carl coal
carp cope
  carped coped
  carping coping
  carps copes
cart coat
  carted coated
  carting coating
  carts coats
cast coast
  casts coasts
  casting coasting
caste coast
  castes coasts
caster coaster
  casters coasters
chars chose
class close
  classes closes
clerk cloak
  clerked cloaked
  clerking cloaking
  clerks cloaks
crossbars crossbows
darling doling
dart dote
  darted doted
  darting doting
  darts dotes
fa foe
farm foam
  farmed foamed
  farming foaming
  farms foams
foremast foremost
ghastly ghostly
grass gross
  grassed grossed
  grasses grosses
  grassing grossing
grave grove
  graves groves
Graz groats
guard goad 
  guarded goaded 
  guarding goading 
  guards goads 
ha ho
halve Hove 
hard hoed
harks hoax
harm home
  harmed homed
  harming homing
  harmless homeless
  harms homes
harp hope 
  harped hoped
  harping hoping
  harps hopes
karma coma 
  karmas comas 
khan cone
  khans cones 
la lo
lard load
  larded loaded
  larding loading
larn loan
  larned loaned
  larning loaning
  larns loans
lath loath
laugh loaf
  laughed loafed
  laughing loafing
  laughs loafs
ma Mo 
mar mow
  mars mows
  marred mowed
marred mode
mark moke
  marks mokes
marl mole
mart moat
  marts moats
Martian motion
  Martians motions
martyr motor
  martyred motored
  martyring motoring
  martyrs motors
mast most
parch poach
  parched poached
  parches poaches
  parching poaching
park poke
  parked poked
  parking poking
  parks pokes
parka poker
  parkas pokers
parky poky
parlour polar
pars pose
parrs pose
parse pose
  parsed posed
  parses poses
  parsing posing
passed post
pastor poster
  pastors posters
past post
  pasts posts
postcard postcode
  postcards postcodes
R's O's 
rah roe
rah row
scarp scope
shah shew
  shahs shews
shard shewed
smart smote
spark spoke
  sparks spokes
sparred Spode 
star stow
  starred stowed
  stars stows
stark stoke
starkers stokers
start stoat
  starts stoats
starve stove
  starves stoves
ta toe
tar toe
  tars toes
tar tow
  tars tows  
  tarred towed
tarred toad
tardy toady
tarn tone
  tarns tones
tart tote
  tarted toted
  tarting toting
  tarts totes
topmast topmost

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2009