Consonants // versus /ʃ/, 13 pairs     [thyshy.html]

The // sound is spelled with <th>. The /ʃ/ sound is spelled with <sh>.

This is a contrast between a voiced dental fricative and a voiceless sibilant, fairly close together in the mouth. The separate sounds may be a problem for learners, but the contrast is so infrequent that it hardly matters.

One taboo word pairing is that/shat.

Thanks to the rarity of the // sound, the mean density value is very low at 0.4%. The list makes 11 semantic distinctions, a loading of 85%.

other usher
  others ushers
pother posher 
that shat 
thee she 
their share 
  theirs shares 
thine shine 
though show 
those shows 
thy shy 
with wish 
withies wishes 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2010.