The schwa has many spellings. The /eɪ/ diphthong is spelled <aCe>, <ai> and <ei> in villein, <é> in several French loan words, and occurs in the letter names A and K. The majority of the words in this list arise from homographs of words ending in <ate> which can function as noun/adjective or as verb with different pronunciations.
This is a contrast between a short vowel which is always unstressed and a diphthong. It is not in itself a problem for learners.
Interesting pairs include:
The density figure is 0.9%. The set makes 57 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 63%.
a A advocate advocate advocates advocates agglomerate agglomerate aggregate aggregate aggregate aggregate aggregates aggregates animate animate appropriate appropriate approximate approximate articulate articulate aspirate aspirate aspirates aspirates associate associate associates associates certificate certificate certificates certificates confederate confederate confederates confederates conglomerate conglomerate conglomerates conglomerates cooper coupé coopers coupés cos K's degenerate degenerate degenerates degenerates delegate delegate delegates delegates deliberate deliberate desolate desolate duplicate duplicate duplicates duplicates elaborate elaborate 'em aim estimate estimate estimates estimates expatriate expatriate expatriates expatriates graduate graduate graduates graduates incarnate incarnate incorporate incorporate inebriate inebriate inebriates inebriates initiate initiate initiates initiates intimate intimate intimates intimates kaffir café kaffirs cafés lama lamé Lisa lycée Madame Mesdames Monsieur Messieurs moderate moderate moderates moderates murmured mermaid parka parquet patter pâté patters pâtés pontificate pontificate pontificates pontificates precipitate precipitate predicate predicate predicates predicates quadruplicate quadruplicate quadruplicates quadruplicates regenerate regenerate reincarnate reincarnate reticulate reticulate senoras senores server survey servers surveys subordinate subordinate subordinates subordinates sunder sundae sunders sundaes sunder Sunday sunders Sundays syndicate syndicate syndicates syndicates the they triplicate triplicate triplicates triplicates underestimate underestimate underestimates underestimates villain villein villains villeins violet violate violets violates
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009