Consonants /g/ versus /Ɵ/, 73 pairs     [gumthumb.html]

The spelling of /g/ is <g> or <gg>, but we also see <gu> in rogue. The /Ɵ/ sound is spelled <th> throughout.

This is a contrast between a voiced stop and a voiceless fricative, well separated in the mouth. It does not cause any problems.

I was tempted to include the pair egg/Eth, though it was not in the dictionary, but Eth (short for Ethel) is now an unusual name, remembered chiefly from the character Eth Glum in the 1950s radio show Take it from Here. Other interesting pairs include:

Gertie thirty
legal lethal
plaguing plaything

The figure for the mean density is 1.9%. The set makes 43 semantic contrasts, a loading of 62%.

Aga Arthur
auger author
  augers authors	
beg Beth  
berg berth
  bergs berths
berg birth
  bergs births  	
boggy bothy
clog cloth
  clogs cloths	
digger dither
  diggers dithers  
Doug doth
dug doth
eager aether 
eager ether
erg earth 
frog froth
  frogs froths
gain thane
  gains thanes
gaud thawed 
gauze thaws
Gertie thirty
ghat thought
  ghats thoughts
gird third
  girds thirds
goal thole
  goals tholes
gong thong
  gongs thongs
gore thaw
gore Thor
grace Thrace
grill thrill
  grilled thrilled
  grills thrills
  grilling thrilling
groan throne
  groans thrones
groat throat
  groats throats
grove throve
grow throe
  grows throes
grow throw
  growing throwing
  grows throws
  grew threw
  grown thrown
grown throne  
gum thumb
  gummed thumbed
  gumming thumbing
  gums thumbs
guy thigh
  guys thighs
hag hath
legal lethal
overgrown overthrown
pig pith
piggy pithy
  piggier pithier
  piggiest pithiest
plaguing plaything
rogue wroth
Whig with
Whig withe
wig with
wig withe
  wigs withes

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, September 2010.