The /ʊ/ vowel is usually spelled <oo>, <u>, and <oul> should.The /eɪ/ vowel is spelled <aCe> or <ai>, and turns up as <ê> in the loan word fête. Notice that the contrast signals a tense change in forsook/forsake and in took/take and its compounds.
This is a contrast between a short vowel and a diphthong. There is very little likelihood of confusion.
Interesting pairs include:
The density figure is 3.37%. The set makes 34 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 51.5%.
betook betake book bake booked baked booking baking books bakes brook brake brooked braked brooking braking brooks brakes bull bail bulls bails bully bailey bullies baileys cook cake cooked caked cooking caking cooks cakes crook crake crooks crakes foot fate foots fates foot fête footed fêted footing fêting foots fêtes forsook forsake full fail hook hake look lake looks lakes mistook mistake overtook overtake partook partake pud paid pull pail pulls pails pull pale pulled paled pulling paling pulls pales put pate puts pates retook retake rook rake rooked raked rooking raking rooks rakes shook shake should shade soot sate sooted sated sooting sating soots sates stood staid took take undertook undertake wood wade wooded waded would wade woofer wafer woofers wafers wool wail wools wails wools Wales Worcester waster worsted wasted
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009