Vowels 2 and 17, /ɪ/ and //   98 pairs     [fillfoul.html]

Vowel /ɪ/ is generally spelled <i> or <y>. The // diphthong is <ou> or <ow>. The homograph gill turns up in the pairs gill/ghoul and gill/jowl, and the homograph house is in the pairs his/house and hiss/house.

The sounds are so far apart in the mouth that no learners will have problems with the contrast.

The only pairings with taboo words are shit/shout and tit/tout.

Interesting pairs include:

locket lockout
sinned sound

The mean density is 0.4%. The list makes 51 semantic contrast, giving a loading of 52%.

bid bowed
bit bout
  bits bouts
biz boughs
cissies souses
din down 
  dinned downed
  dinning downing
  dins downs
ditty doughty
fill foul
  filled fouled
  filling fouling
  fills fouls
filly foully
flit flout
  flits flouts
  flitted flouted
  flitting flouting
frizzy frowzy
gill ghoul
  gills ghouls
gill jowl
  gills jowls
gist joust
  gists jousts
grill growl
  grilled growled
  grilling growling
  grills growls
grille growl
  grilles growls
grinned ground
grist groused
hill howl
  hills howls
his house
hiss house
ill owl
ills owls
it out
kid cowed 
kill cowl 
  killing cowling 
  killings cowlings 
  kills cowls 
knit knout
  knits knouts
lid loud
lit lout
Lizzy lousy
locket lockout
lockets lockouts
mint mount
  minted mounted
  mints mounts
miss mouse
  missed moused
  misses mouses
  missing mousing
  missy mousy
Ms mows
myth mouth 
  myths mouths
pitch pouch
  pitched pouched
  pitches pouches
  pitching pouching
pit pout
  pits pouts
  pitting pouting
pitied pouted
rid rowed
shit shout
  shits shouts
  shitted shouted
  shitting shouting
sinned sound
skill scowl 
  skilled scowled 
  skills scowls 
skit scout 
  skits scouts 
spit spout
  spits spouts
  spitted spouted
  spitting spouting
sprit sprout
  sprits sprouts
tin town
  tins towns
tinny townee
tit tout
  tits touts
viz vows
whiz wows
writ rout 
  writs routs 
Geographical: Outside English-speaking countries, most visitors are from Sauddi Arabia, Hong Kong, Ecuador, Germany, Vietnam, Malaysia, Yemen, India and Spain. Average 4 visitors per month.

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2011