Consonants /k/ versus /g/, 444 pairs     [capgap.html]

The /k/ sound is spelled with <c> or <k> initially, and usually <ck> medially or finally though we also see <c> in sac and <cc> in baccy (short for tobacco, now mainly remembered from Rudyard Kipling's line "Brandy for the parson and baccy for the clerk"). Another exception is <ch> in anchor and in the RP-modified pronunciation of loch. (Many RP speakers will use a velar fricative in this word.) The /g/ sound is usually spelled with <g>, <gg> or <gh> in ghost, in the loan word ghee and the place name Ghent.

As usual, I have included inflected forms such as sacks/sags and sacked/sagged even though they are not strictly minimal. See the main page for an explanation.

The two sounds are both velar stops, and the contrast is simply a matter of voicing. It is a known difficulty for Dutch and German learners, and may cause problems elesewhere, especially in syllable-final position.

Taboo word pairs include coon/goon, fuck/fug, knickers/niggers and shack/shag.

Interesting pairs include:

bicker bigger
calorie gallery
candour gander
clamorous glamorous
cutlass gutless
discussed disgust
lacquered laggard
vicar vigour

The mean density value is 3.4%. The list makes 221 semantic distinctions, a loading of 53%.

 
akin agin 
anchor anger
  anchored angered
  anchoring angering
  anchors angers
ankle angle 
  ankles angles 
baccy baggy
back bag
  backing bagging
  backs bags  
  backed bagged
banker Bangor 
beck beg
burke berg 
bicker bigger
brick brig 
broke brogue 
buck bug
  bucking bugging
  bucks bugs	
  bucked bugged
Buckie buggy
cab gab
cable gable
  cabled gabled
  cables gables
cache gash
  cached gashed
  caching gashing
cad gad
  cads gads
Cain gain
caff gaff
  caffs gaffs
cage gage
  caged gaged
  cages gages
  caging gaging
calk gawk
  calks gawks
call gall
  called galled
  calling galling
  calls galls
call Gaul 
  calls Gauls 
calorie gallery
  calories galleries
calyx Gaelics 
came game
camp gamp
  camps gamps
candour gander		
cane gain
  caned gained
  canes gains
  caning gaining
cap gap
  caps gaps
cape gape
  capes gapes
carat garret
  carats garrets
card guard
  carded guarded
  carding guarding
  cards guards
carry gharry
  carries gharries
carrot garret
  carrots garrets
carter garter
  carters garters
cash gash
  cashing gashing
cat gat 
cater gaiter
  caters gaiters
caught ghat
cause gauze
cave gave
cawed gaud	 
cawed gored
chord gaud
  chords gauds
chord gored
chuck chug
  chucking chugging
  chucks chugs	 
  chucked chugged
clad glad
clamour glamour
  clamorous glamorous
Clare glare
class glass
  classed glassed
  classes glasses
  classing glassing
classy glassy
  classier glassier
  classiest glassiest
clean glean
  cleaned gleaned
cleaner gleaner
  cleaners gleaners
cleanse glens
clew glue
  clewed glued
  clewing gluing
  clews glues
clock clog
  clocking clogging
  clocks clogs
close glows
clue glue
  clued glued
  clueing gluing
  clues glues
Co go
coal goal
  coals goals
coaled gold
coarse gorse
coast ghost
  coasted ghosted
  coasting ghosting
  coasts ghosts
coat goat
  coats goats
coatee goatee
  coatees goatees
cob gob
  cobs gobs
cobble gobble
  cobbled gobbled
  cobbles gobbles
  cobbling gobbling
cobbler gobbler
  cobblers gobblers
cock cog
  cocks cogs
cod god
  cods gods
code goad
  coded goaded
  codes goads
  coding goading 
cold gold  
collie golly
come gum
  comes gums
  coming gumming
con gone
conger conker
  congers conkers
coo goo
cool ghoul
  cools ghouls
cool Goole 
coon goon
  coons goons
cord gaud
  cords gauds
cord gored
cordon Gordon 
core gore
  coring goring
  cores gores
  cored cored
cored gaud
corgi Gorky 
cork gawk
  corks gawks
Corp gawp
corpse gawps
cosh gosh
cot got
could good
course gorse
court ghat
  courts ghats
coven govern
  covens governs
crÍpe grape	   
  crÍpes grapes
crab grab
  crabbed grabbed
  crabbing grabbing
  crabs grabs
crack crag
  cracks crags
craft graft
  crafts grafts
cram gram
  crams grams
crammer grammar
  crammers grammars
crane grain
  craned grained
  cranes grains
cranny grannie
  crannies grannies
crate grate
  crated grated
  crates grates
  crating grating
crate great  
  crates greats
crater grater
  craters graters
crater greater  
crave grave
  craves graves
craze grays
craze graze
  crazed grazed
  crazes grazes
  crazed grazed
crazier grazier
creak Greek 
  creaks Greeks 
crease grease
  creased greased
  creases greases
  creasing greasing
crease Greece
creed greed
creep grippe
  creeps grippes
crew grew
Crewe grew
Crieff grief
crime grime
  crimed grimed
  crimes grimes
  criming griming
cripes gripes
crone groan
  crones groans
crouch grouch
  crouched grouched
  crouches grouches
  crouching grouching
croup group
  croups groups
crow grow
  crowing growing
  crows grows
crowned ground
crumble grumble
  crumbled grumbled
  crumbles grumbles
  crumbling grumbling
crypt gripped
cull gull
  culled gulled
  culling gulling
  culls gulls
cunning gunning
curd gird
  curds girds
curdling girdling
curl girl
  curls girls
curt girt
cut gut
  cuts guts
  cutting gutting
cutlass gutless
cutter gutter
  cutters gutters
Dakar dagger
decree degree
  decrees degrees
delegacy delicacy
  delegacies delicacies
delegate delicate
Dick dig
dicker digger
  dickers diggers
dinky dinghy 	   
discussed disgust
dock dog
  docking dogging
  docks dogs   
  docked dogged
duck Doug 
duck dug
echo ego
  echoes egos	
encage engage
  encages engages
  encaging engaging
  encaged engaged    
flak flag 
flock flog
  flocking flogging
  flocks flogs	
  flocked flogged
frock frog		   
  frocks frogs
fuck fug
  fucks fugs
hack hag
  hacks hags
hackle haggle
  hackles haggles
hock hog
  hocking hogging
  hocks hogs 
  hocked hogged
hunger hunker
  hungers hunkers
irk erg 
jack jag
  jacking jagging
  jacks jags
Jackie jaggy
K gay
  K's gays
K's gaze  
kaffir gaffer 
  kaffirs gaffers 
kail Gael 
kail gale 
Kate gait  
Kate gate
Kay gay
key ghee 
Kent Ghent 
kiddy giddy 
kilt gilt 
  kilts gilts
knack nag
  knacks nags
knacker nagger
  knackers naggers
knickers niggers
Kremlin gremlin
  Kremlins gremlins
lack lag
  lacking lagging
  lacks lags	
  lacked lagged
lacquered laggard
lax lags	
league leak
  leagues leaks
league leek
  leagues leeks  
loch log
  lochs logs
lock log  
  locking logging	
  locked logged
  locks logs
luck lug
mac mag
  macs mags
meeker meagre 
muck mug
  mucking mugging
  mucks mugs  
  mucked mugged
mucky muggy
  muckier muggier
  muckiest muggiest
nickel niggle
  nickelled niggled
  nickels niggles
ochre ogre
peck peg
  pecking pegging
  pecks pegs 
  pecked pegged
pick pig
  picking pigging
  picks pigs
pluck plug
  plucking plugging
  plucks plugs
prick prig
  pricks prigs
puck pug	 
  pucks pugs
rack rag
  racking ragging
  racks rags
rankle wrangle
  rankled wrangled
  rankles wrangles
  rankling wrangling
rick rig
  ricking rigging
  ricks rigs 
  ricked rigged
ruck rug
  rucks rugs
sac sag
  sacs sags
sack sag
  sacking sagging
  sacks sags   
  sacked sagged
shack shag
  shacking shagging
  shacks shags 
  shacked shagged
slack slag
  slacks slags
smock smog
snack snag
  snacks snags	
  snacking snagging
  snacked snagged
snicker snigger
  snickered sniggered
  snickering sniggering
  snickers sniggers
stack stag
  stacks stags
tack tag
  tacking tagging
  tacks tags   
  tacked tagged
Tech teg
tingle tinkle
  tingled tinkled
  tingles tinkles
  tingling tinkling
tuck tug
  tucking tugging
  tucks tugs 
  tucked tugged
vicar vigour
whack wag 
  whacking wagging 
  whacks wags  
  whacked wagged
wick Whig 	   
  wicks Whigs
wick wig
  wicks wigs  

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, April 2012.