The /Ɵ/ sound is spelled with <th>. The /n/ sound is spelled with <n> or <gn> in gnaw.
This is a contrast between a voiceless dental and alveolar fricative and a voiced nasal continuant, fairly close together in the mouth. It is not a problem, although the sound /Ɵ/ is difficult for many learners.
The contrast occurs in the set phrase kith and kin. Other interesting pairs include:
The mean density value is very low at 0.6%. The list makes 64 semantic distinctions, a loading of 72%.
bath barn baths barns Beith bean Beith been berth Bern berth burn berths burns berthed burnt berthing burning birth Bern birth burn births burns both bone breath Bren Cath Cannes Cath can death den deaths dens deaths dense doth done earth earn earthing earning earths earns earthy Ernie faith fain firth fern firths ferns forth faun forth fawn fourth faun fourth fauns fourth fawn fourth fawns Goth gone growth groan growths groans Keighley keenly Keith keen kith kin lath Larne loath loan loathly lonely loathlier lonelier loathliest loneliest mammoth mammon maths manse Meath mean myths mince oath own penn'orth pennon penn'orths penance Penrith Penrhyn pith pin pithy pinny plaything plaining ruth rune sheath sheen sooth soon strewth strewn swath sworn thaw gnaw thawed gnawed thawing gnawing thaws gnaws theorist nearest thews news thick nick thigh nigh thimble nimble thirst nursed thole knoll tholes knolls thought nought thoughts noughts thumb numb thumbed numbed thumbing numbing thumbs numbs truth Troon withe whin withes wince wraith rain wraiths rains wraith reign wraiths reigns wraith rein wraiths reins wrath Ron wroth roan
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2010.