Vowels 3 and 9, /e/ versus /u/    134 pairs      [jetjute.html]

The /e/ vowel is spelled <e>, or <ea> in bread. The vowel /u/ is usually spelled with <oo>, with alternatives <uCe> in June, <ew> in slewed, <ou> in wound and <ui>in fruit and juice.

The contrast is between a short and a long vowel and the sounds are a long way apart in the mouth, so this is not a problem for learners.

The only pair involving a taboo word is ken/coon.

Interesting pairs include:

Betty booty
jelly Julie
Jessie juicy
lemming looming

The mean density is 1.7%. The pairs make 80 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 60%.

bed booed
bell buhl
bell boules
ben boon
  bens boons
best boost
  bested boosted
  besting boosting
  bests boosts
bet boot
  bets boots
  betted booted
  betting booting
Betty booty
bled blued
bread brewed
Des do's
Fed food
fell fool
  felled fooled
  felling fooling
  fells fools
fettle footle
fleck fluke
  flecks flukes
phlegm flume
fret fruit
  fretful fruitful
  fretfully fruitfully
  frets fruits
  fretted fruited
  fretting fruiting
gel joule
  gels joules
gen June 
  gens Junes 
guess goose 
head who'd
hell who'll
hem whom
hep hoop
jelly Julie 
Jess juice
Jessie juicy
jet jute
ken coon
  kens coons 
kept cooped 
leapt looped
lemming looming
Len loon
Lenny loony
lens loons
Les loos	  
Les lose
less loose
  lessen loosen
  lessened loosened
  lessening loosening
  lessens loosens
  lesser looser
lest loosed
let loot
  lets loots
  letting looting
let's loots
letter looter
  letters looters
many moony
Med mood
men moon
mend mooned
mess moose
  messes mooses
Met moot
ness noose
  nesses nooses
nest noosed
pedal poodle
  pedals poodles
pep poop
  peps poops
read rood
read rude
red rood
  reds roods
red rude  
  redder ruder
  reddest rudest
ready Rudy 
ref roof
reft roofed
Rennes rune
rest roost
  rested roosted
  resting roosting
  rests roosts
retell retool
  retelling retooling
  retells retools
Sept souped
shed shooed
shred shrewd
skep scoop 
  skeps scoops 
sled slewed
speck spook
  specks spooks
spell spool	   
  spelling spooling
  spelled spooled
  spells spools
spend spooned
step stoop
  stepped stooped
  stepping stooping
  steps stoops
steppes stoops
swept swooped
tell tool
  telling tooling
  tells tools
tress truce
  tresses truces
wed wooed
wend wound
  wended wounded
  wending wounding
  wends wounds   
  wren rune
wrens runes
yell you'll
yes use 
  yeses uses 
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John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2011