Consonants /ʃ/ versus /r/, 234 pairs     [shotrot.html]

The /ʃ/ sound is spelled with <sh> and <ch> in chef. The /r/ sound is spelled with <r>, <rr> or <wr>.

This is a contrast between a voiceless alveolar fricative and a voiced retroflex continuant. It can only occur initially or medially. It is not a problem, though the /r/ sound may be difficult for some learners.

One problem with this set is that the affricate /ʧ/ is sometimes rendered as /t/ plus /ʃ/. In that case there would be minimal pairs with the cluster /tr/, such as chain/train or chuckle/truckle. There are 49 such pairs which are listed separately. I have included them in the statistics since they do sound fairly similar.

Taboo word pairs include shag/rag, shat/rat and shit/writ.

Interesting pairs include:

cautious chorus
cushier courier
shamble ramble
showman Roman

The mean density value is 1.5%. The lists make 118 semantic distinctions, a loading of 51%.

caches carries
cautious chorus
chaise raise
  chaises raises
chaise rays
chef ref
chic reek
chute root
  chutes roots
chute route
  chutes routes
coshes corries 
cushier courier 
flushes flurries 
gashes gharries
hashes harries 
hushes hurries 
machine marine
  machines marines
mashes marries 
quashes quarries 
schist wrist 
  schists wrists
shack rack 
  shacked racked 
  shacking racking 
  shacks racks 
shack wrack 
shade raid 
  shaded raided 
  shades raids 
  shading raiding 
shaft raft 
  shafts rafts 
shag rag 
  shagged ragged 
  shagging ragging 
  shags rags 
shah rah 
shake rake 
  shakes rakes 
  shaking raking 
shale rail 
sham ram 
  shammed rammed 
  shamming ramming 
  shams rams 
shamble ramble 
  shambled rambled 
  shambles rambles 
  shambling rambling 
shandy randy 
shank rank 
  shanks ranks 
shape rape 
  shaped raped 
  shapes rapes 
  shaping raping 
share rare 
  sharing raring 
shat rat 
shatter ratter 
  shatters ratters 
shave rave 
  shaved raved 
  shaves raves 
  shaving raving 
  shavings ravings 
shaven raven 
shaver raver 
  shavers ravers 
she re 
sheaf reef
  sheaves reeves 
shear rear 
  sheared reared 
  shearing rearing 
  shears rears 
sheer rear  
sheathe wreathe
  sheathed wreathed
  sheathes wreathes
  sheathing wreathing
shed read 
shed red
  sheds reds
shedding Reading 
sheds reds 
shied Ryde 
shield reeled 
shies rise 
shift rift 
  shifts rifts 
shine Rhine 
ship rip
  shipped ripped 
  shipping ripping 
  ships rips 
shire wrier
shit writ
  shits writs
shiver river 
  shivers rivers 
shoal rôle 
  shoals rôles 
shoal roll 
  shoals rolls 
  shoaled rolled 
  shoaling rolling 
shock rock
  shocked rocked 
  shocking rocking 
  shocks rocks 
shocker rocker 
  shockers rockers 
shod rod 
shoe roo
shoe rue 
  shoeing ruing 
  shoes rues 
shoes ruse
shone Ron 
shoo roo
shoo rue
  shoos rues
  shooing ruing
  shooed rued
shooed rood 
shook rook 
shoot root
  shooting rooting 
  shoots roots
shoot route
  shoots routes
shore roar 
  shored roared 
  shores roars 
  shoring roaring 
short wrought
shorten Wroughton 
shot rot 
  shots rots
Shotton rotten
Shotts rots
shout rout 
  shouted routed 
  shouting routing 
  shouts routs 
show roe 
  shows roes
show row
  showing rowing 
  shows rows
  showed rowed
showed road 
shown roan 
shows rose 
showboat rowboat 
  showboats rowboats 
showman Roman 
shuck ruck 
  shucked rucked 
  shucking rucking 
  shucks rucks
shudder rudder 
  shudders rudders 
shuffle ruffle 
  shuffled ruffled 
  shuffles ruffles 
  shuffling ruffling 
shun run
  shunning running 
  shuns runs 
shunt runt 
  shunts runts 
shut rut 
  shuts ruts 
  shutting rutting 
shy rye 
shy wry
  shyer wrier
  shyest wriest
  shyly wryly
slurry slushy
Washington Warrington 
The following 49 words would count as minimal if the affrciate /ʧ/ was analysed as a cluster of two sounds.
chase trace
  chased traced
chad trad
chain train
  chains trains
  chained trained
  chiaining training
champ tramp
chance trance
  chances trances
  chanced tranced
  chancing trancing
chap trap
  chaps traps
  chapped trappped
cheat treat
  cheats treats
  cheated treated
  cheating treating
check trek 
  checks treks
  checked trekked
  checking trekking	  
cheese trees  
cheque trek        
  cheques treks
chess tress
chick trick
  chicks tricks
chill trill
  chills trills
  chilling trilling
  chilled trilled
chip trip
  chips trips
  chipped tripped
  chipping tripping
chuck truck  
  chucks trucks
  chucked trucked
  chucking trucking	   
chuckle truckle  
chew true
chews trews
chump trump
  chumps trumps
chunk trunk
  chunks trunks
unchained untrained        

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2010.