Consonants /b/ versus //: 46 pairs     [busthus.html]

The spelling of /b/ is either <b> or <bb>. The // sound is spelled <th>.

Both sounds are voiced but they differ in manner and place of articulation. It is unlikely to be a listening problem, although many speakers will have difficulty articulating the // sound if it does not occur in their own language especially in syllable-final clusters in words such as bathes. For some reason the computer identified an unusually large number of contracted forms such as they'll and that'd in this list. Notice the homograph bow which appears in two different contrasts.

Interesting pairs include

battered that'd
blabber blather

The mean density value is 0.8% though with a wide disparity in the frequency of the sounds. The list makes 35 semantic distinctions, a loading of 76%.

babe bathe
  babes bathes
bail they'll
bale they'll
barbs baths
bare their
  bares theirs	 
bare there  
bat that
bats that's
battered that'd
battle that'll
bay they
bayed they'd
bear their
  bears theirs
bear there  
beau though
beaux those
be thee
bee thee
bees these
ben then
bine thine
blabber blather
  blabbered blathered
  blabbering blathering
  blabbers blathers
boob booth
  boobs booths
bough thou
bourbon burthen
  bourbons burthens
bow thou
bow though
bows those
bus thus
buy thy		
by thy
bye thy
dibber dither
  dibbers dithers
larboard lathered
lobe loathe 
  lobed loathed 
  lobes loathes 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2010.