Consonants /k/ versus /h/, 331 pairs     [cathat.html]

Since /h/ only occurs initially, the /k/ sound is spelled with <c> or <k> except in the letter name Q and the word queue. The /h/ sound is spelled <h> throughout.

The contrast is between a velar stop and a glottal fricative, both voiceless. The /h/ sound may cause some problems among learners who articulate /h/ too strongly, turning it into a velar fricative, but in general it does not cause many listening problems.

A familiar alliterative expression using this contrast is "horses for courses". Other interesting pairs include:

carolled Harold
comfrey Humphrey
courtier haughtier

Taboo word pairs include: cock/hock and cunt/hunt.

The mean density value is 2.8%. The list makes 153 semantic distinctions, a loading of 46%.

 
cache hash
  cached hashed
  caches hashes
  caching hashing
cackles hackles
cad had
cadges Hadjis 
cadre harder
caisson hasten
  caissons hastens
cake hake
calf half
calk hawk
  calked hawked
  calking hawking
  calks hawks
call hall
  calls halls
call haul
  called hauled
  calling hauling
  calls hauls
callow hallow
calm harm
  calmed harmed
  calming harming
  calms harms
calve halve
  calved halved
  calves halves
  calving halving
cam ham
  cams hams
camper hamper
  campers hampers
candid handed
candle handle
  candles handles
candy handy
canker hanker
  cankered hankered
  cankering hankering
  cankers hankers
canned hand
cap hap
  capping happing
  caps haps
  capped happed
card hard
cardboard hardboard
care hare
  cared hared
  caring haring
  cares hares
care hair
  cares hairs
care Herr 
careless hairless
carolled Harold 
carp harp
  carped harped
  carping harping
  carps harps
carry harry
  carried harried
  carries harries
  carrying harrying
carrier harrier
  carriers harriers
cart hart
  carts harts
cart heart
  carted hearted
  carts hearts
carton hearten
  cartons heartens
cased haste
cash hash
  cashed hashed
  cashes hashes
  cashing hashing
cassock hassock
  cassocks hassocks
cat hat
  cats hats
catch hatch
  catches hatches
  catching hatching
cause haws
caw haw
  cawed hawed
  cawing hawing
  caws haws
choler holler
  cholers hollers
chord hoard
  chords hoards
chord horde
  chords hordes
Co ho
Co hoe
coal hole
  coals holes
  coaling holing
  coaled holed
coaled hold
coaming homing
coarse hoarse
  coarsely hoarsely
  coarseness hoarseness
  coarser hoarser
  coarsest hoarsest
coarse horse
coast host 
  coasted hosted
  coasting hosting
  coasts hosts
coax hoax
  coaxed hoaxed
  coaxes hoaxes
  coaxing hoaxing
cob hob
  cobs hobs
cobble hobble
  cobbled hobbled
  cobbles hobbles
  cobbling hobbling
cock hock
  cocked hocked
  cocking hocking
  cocks hocks
cocky hockey
cod hod
  cods hods
code hoed
cog hog
  cogs hogs
cold hold
  colds holds
cold holed
colder holder
collar holler
  collared hollered
  collaring hollering
  collars hollers
collie holly
comb home
  combs homes
come hum
  comes hums
  coming humming
comfrey Humphrey 
con Hon 
cone hone
  coned honed
  cones hones
  coning honing
conk honk
  conked honked
  conking honking
  conks honks
coo Hoo 
coo who
cook hook
  cooked hooked
  cooking hooking
  cooks hooks
cooker hooker
  cookers hookahs
cookie hooky
cool who'll
cooler hula
coolers hulas
coop hoop
  cooped hooped
  cooping hooping
  coops hoops
coos whose
coot hoot
  coots hoots
cop hop
  copping hopping
  cops hops
  copped hopped
cope hope 
  coped hoped
  copes hopes
  coping hoping
copper hopper
  coppers hoppers
Copt hopped
cord hoard
  cords hoards
  corded hoarded
  cording hoarding
cord horde
  cords hordes
core hoar
cork hawk
  corked hawked
  corking hawking
  corks hawks
corker hawker
  corkers hawkers
corm haulm
corn horn
  corned horned
  corning horning
  corns horns
cornet hornet
  cornets hornets
corny horny
  cornier hornier
  corniest horniest	 
corse hoarse  
corse horse
  corses horses
Corsham Horsham
cosier hosier
cosies hoses
cot hot
  cots hots
cottar hotter
could hood
course hoarse
course horse 
  courses horses 
  coursing horsing
  coursed horsed
courtier haughtier
cove Hove 
cow how
coward Howard 
cows house
cowl howl
  cowling howling
  cowls howls
  cowled howled
cub hub
  cubs hubs
cuddle huddle
  cuddled huddled
  cuddles huddles
  cuddling huddling
cuff huff
  cuffed huffed
  cuffing huffing
  cuffs huffs
cull hull
  culled hulled
  culling hulling
  culls hulls
cunt hunt	
  cunts hunts
cur her
  curs hers
curb herb 
  curbs herbs
curd heard
curd herd
  curds herds
curdle hurdle
  curdling hurdling
  curdles hurdles
  curdled hurdled
curl hurl
  curled hurled
  curling hurling
  curls hurls
curry hurry
  curried hurried
  curries hurries
  currying hurrying
curse hearse
  curses hearses
curt hurt
cut hut
K hay
K's haze
kail hail 
Kate hate
Katie Haiti 
keel heal
  keeled healed 
  keeling healing 
  keels heals
keel heel
  keels heels
  keeled heeled
  keeling heeling
keener Heanor 	 
keep heap
  keeping heaping 
  keeps heaps
kelp help 
ken hen
  kens hens 
key he 
kick hick 
  kicks hicks 
kilt hilt 
  kilts hilts 
kind hind 
  kinds hinds 
kirtle hurtle 
  kirtles hurtles 
kiss hiss 
  kissed hissed 
  kisses hisses 
  kissing hissing 
kit hit 
  kits hits 
  kitting hitting 
kite height 
  kites heights 
kobo hobo 
  kobos hoboes 
overcall overhaul
  overcalled overhauled
  overcalling overhauling
  overcalls overhauls
Q hew
  Q's hews
  queued hewed 
  queueing hewing 
Q hue
  Q's hues  
Q Hugh 
racecourse racehorse
  racecourses racehorses
uncooked unhooked

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, May 2010.