Consonants /Ɵ/ versus /n/, 89 pairs     [bothbone.html]

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:

loathly lonely
mammoth mammon
theorist nearest

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.