Consonants // versus /h/, 20 pairs     [theyhay.html]

The // sound is spelled with <th>. The /h/ sound is spelled with <h>.

This is a contrast between a voiced dental fricative and a voiceless glottal fricative. Although both sounds may occur medially after prefixes, as in methinks or behind, the only observed pairs occur initially. The separate sounds may be a problem for learners, but the contrast is fairly infrequent.

The mean density value is 0.9%. The list makes 19 semantic distinctions, a loading of 95%.

that hat
thee he 
their hair
  theirs hairs 
their Herr 
them hem 
then hen 
thence hence 
there hair
there Herr
they hay 
this hiss 
thither hither 
though ho 
though hoe
those hoes 
thou how 
thy hi 
thy hie
thy high

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2010.