The /e/ vowel is spelled <e>, <ea> in dead and irregularly with <ei> in Leicester. The vowel /ʌ/ is usually spelled with <u>, or sometimes <ou> as in touch.
Both vowels are short and not all that far apart in the mouth. Confusions are possible in rapid speech, though no specific group of learners have more of a problem than the rest.
Confusions involving taboo words: beggar/bugger, Kent/cunt
Interesting pairs include:
The mean density is 2.8%. The pairs make 129 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 65%.
abet abut abets abuts abetted abutted abetting abutting Beccles buckles beck buck becks bucks bed bud bedded budded bedding budding beds buds beg bug begged bugged begging bugging begs bugs beggar bugger beggared buggered beggaring buggering beggars buggers beggary buggery ben bun bens buns bench bunch benches bunches Benny bunny Bess bus best bused best bust bested busted besting busting bests busts bet but bet butt bets butts betted butted betting butting better butter bettered buttered bettering buttering betters butters bled blood blent blunt Brent brunt Celt cult Celts cults check chuck checked chucked checking chucking checks chucks cheque chuck cheques chucks Czech chuck Czechs chucks checker chukker checkers chukkers crest crust crested crusted cresting crusting crests crusts dead dud deadly Dudley deafer duffer deb dub debs dubs Dec duck deck duck decked ducked decking ducking decks ducks dell dull dells dulls den done den dun dens duns dense dunce Des does desk dusk dredge drudge dredged drudged dredges drudges dredging drudging dregs drugs ember umber embers umbers empire umpire empires umpires entrained untrained Epping upping fen fun fend fund fended funded fending funding fends funds fennel funnel fez fuzz flecks flux flex flux flexes fluxes fled flood flesh flush geld gulled get gut gets guts getting gutting guessed gust guest gust guests gusts held hulled hell hull hells hulls hem hum hemmed hummed hemming humming hems hums hemp hump hen Hun hens Huns jest just jet jut jets juts jetted jutted jetting jutting kenning cunning Kent cunt kept cupped Kerry curry left luffed leg lug legging lugging legged lugged legs lugs Leicester lustre lest lust many money Med mud medal muddle medals muddles meddle muddle meddled muddled meddling muddling meddles muddles Meg mug memory mummery memories mummeries mess muss messed mussed messes musses messing mussing met mutt Nell null net nut nets nuts netted nutted peck puck pecks pucks pecker pucker peckers puckers peckish puckish pedal puddle pedalled puddled pedalling puddling pedals puddles peddle puddle peddling puddling peddled puddled peddles puddles peddler puddler peddlers puddlers peg pug pegs pugs pen pun penned punned penning punning pens puns pep pup peps pups pet putt pets putts petted putted petting putting petty puttee petty putty ready ruddy readier ruddier readiest ruddiest redder rudder ref rough ref ruff reft roughed Rennes run rent runt rents runts rest rust rested rusted resting rusting rests rusts restless rustless Rex rucks secs sucks sex sucks section suction sender sunder senders sunders sepal supple Sept supped settler subtler sped spud stead stud steady study steadied studded steadies studies steadying studying Sten stun Steyning stunning Tech tuck techs tucks ten ton tetchy touchy tetchier touchier tetchiest touchiest tetchily touchily tetchiness touchiness thresh thrush threshes thrushes treble trouble trebled troubled trebles troubles trebling troubling trek truck treks trucks tress truss tresses trusses wen one wens ones when one whence once wherry worry wherries worries wreck ruck wrecked rucked wrecking rucking wrecks rucks wren run wren runs wrestle rustle wrestled rustled wrestles rustles wrestling rustling wrestler rustler wrestlers rustlersGeographical: Outside English-speaking countries, most visitors are from Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Poland, Turkey, Malaysia, Lithuania, South Korea, Slovenia, Yemen, Portugal, Costa Rica, China and Spain. Average 15 visitors per month.
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2011