Consonants /s/ versus /w/, 267 pairs     [sirewire.html]

The /s/ sound is spelled with <s> or <c>. The /w/ sound is spelled with <w>.

This is a contrast between a voiceless sibilant fricative and a voiced bilabial semivowel, and can only occur initially or medially. It does not cause problems.

The only taboo word pair is sank/wamk.

Interesting pairs include:

ceiling wheeling
lapsing lapwing
saviour wavier
sorrier warrior

The mean density value is %. The list makes semantic distinctions, a loading of %.

assay away
C we
C wee
  C's wees
cede weed
  ceded weeded
  ceding weeding
  cedes weeds
ceiling wheeling
cell well
  cells wells 
cent went
cert wert
cider wider
cinch winch
cite Wight 
cite white
  cites whites
citing whiting
city witty
cyst whist
lapsing lapwing
leeway lycée
psalter Walter 
sack whack
  sacked whacked
  sacking whacking
  sacks whacks
sacks wax
safe waif
  safes waifs
safer wafer
sag wag
  sagged wagged
  sagging wagging
  sags wags
sage wage
  sages wages
said wed
sail wail
  sailed wailed
  sailing wailing
  sails wails
sails Wales 
sail whale
  sails whales
sailor whaler
  sailors whalers
sake wake
  sakes wakes
sale wail
  sales wails
sales Wales
sale whale
  sales whales
sane wain
sane wane
sane Wayne 
sang whang
sank wank
sate wait
  sated waited
  sates waits
  sating waiting
sate weight
  sates weights
  sating weighting
  sated weighted
save waive
  saved waived
  saves waives
  saving waiving
save wave
  saved waved
  saves waves
  saving waving
saver waiver
  savers waivers
saver waver
  savers wavers
saviour wavier
savour waver
  savoured wavered
  savouring wavering
  savours wavers
savour waiver
  savours waivers
saw war
  saws wars
  sawed warred
sawhorse warhorse
  sawhorses warhorses
sawn warn
saxes waxes
say way
say weigh
  saying weighing
scent went
sea wee
  seas wees
seal wheel
  seal wheels
  sealing wheeling
  sealed wheeled
sealed weald
sealed wield
Sean shorn
sear Wear 
seared weird
sears weirs
sedge wedge
  sedges wedges
see wee
  seeing weeing
  sees wees
seed weed
  seeded weeded
  seeding weeding
  seeds weeds
seedy weedy
  seedier weedier
  seediest weediest
seedling wheedling
seek weak
seek week
  seeks weeks
seeker weaker
seine wain
  seines wains
seine wane
  seined waned
  seines wanes
  seining waning
seine Wayne
seize wees
seize wheeze
  seized wheezed
  seizes wheezes
  seizing wheezing
sell well
  sells wells 
  selling welling
send wend
  sending wending
  sent went
  sends wends
sends wens
senior weenier
sense whence
Sept wept
set wet
  sets wets
  setting wetting
  settings wettings
setter wetter
sew woe
  sews woes
sew whoa  
side wide
  sides wides
sigh why  
sigh Y 
  sighs Y's 
sighs wise
sight white
  sights whites
sighting whiting
sight Wight
sign whine
  signed whined
  signing whining
  signs whines
Sikh weak
Sikh week
  Sikhs weeks
silly willy
  sillies willies
silt wilt
  silted wilted
  silting wilting
  silts wilts
simper whimper
  simpered whimpered
  simpering whimpering
  simpers whimpers
simple wimple
  simples wimples
since wince
sink wink
  sinking winking
  sinks winks
sip whip
  sipped whipped
  sips whips
  sipping whipping
sir were
sir whirr
  sirs whirrs
sire wire
  sired wired
  sires wires
  siring wiring
sit whit
sit wit
  sits wits
site white
  sites whites
site Wight
siting whiting
size Y's
size wise
so woe
so whoa
soak woke
soar war
  soaring warring
  soars wars
  soared warred
soared ward
sod wad
  sodded wadded
  sodding wadding
  sods wads
soft waft
sold wold
son one 
  sons ones 
son won  
sop whop
  sopped whopped
  sopping whopping
  sops whops
sore war
  sores wars
sorely Warley 
sorrier warrior
sort wart
  sorts warts
sorter water
  sorters waters
sot watt
sots watts
sou woo
  sous woos
sought wart
sound wound
sow woe
  sows woes
sow whoa
sow wow
  sowed wowed
  sows wows
sowed woad
sun one
  suns ones
sun won  
sunder wonder
  sundered wondered
  sundering wondering
  sunders wonders
surd whirred
Surrey worry
Susie woozy
sword ward
  swords wards
sylph Wilf 
unsound unwound

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2010.