Vowels 1 and 14, /i/ versus //    525 pairs     [deeddied.html]

The vowel /i/ appears in its usual range of spellings, including the letter names B, C, E, P and T. The // vowel is most commonly <iCe> as in bite, <y> final as in fly and sky, but is also <igh> in night, <ai> in Thai, and <uy> in buy.

Notice the homograph lied, which appears on one side in the pair lead/lied meaning told falsehoods, and on the other in the pair lied/light where it means German song. Note the pairs emphases/emphasize and syntheses/synthesize, where a latinate plural contrasts with a verb-forming suffix. The alumnae/alumni contrast also depends on how one has been taught to pronounce latin plurals.

Since this contrast is between a simple vowel and a diphthong, it is unlikely to pose difficulties for learners.

The only mildly taboo word pairs are pee/pie and wee/why.

Interesting pairs include:

deleted delighted
fleeting flighting
meteor mightier
overseas oversize
receipt recite

The mean density value is 7.7%. The 525 pairs make 282 semantic contrasts giving a semantic loading of 54%.

aeon ion
  aeons ions
aeon iron
  aeons irons
alee ally
alumnae alumni
B buy
  B's buys
B by
B bye
  B's byes
be buy
  being buying
be by
be bye
bead bide
  beading biding
  beads bides
beak bike
  beaks bikes
bean bine
  beans bines
beat bight
  beats bights
beat bite
  beating biting
  beats bites
bee buy
  bees buys
bee by
bee bye
  bees byes
been bine
beet bight
  beets bights
beet bite
  beets bites
bleat blight
  bleated blighted
  bleating blighting
  bleats blights
breed bride
  breeds brides
C sigh
  C's sighs
C's size
cedar cider
  cedars ciders
cede side
  ceded sided
  cedes sides
  ceding siding
cede sighed
cleave Clive 
creaky crikey
cream crime
  creamed crimed
  creaming criming
  creams crimes
creased Christ 
creed cried
creeps cripes
D Di
D die
  D's dies
D dye
  D's dyes
dean dine
  deans dines
dean dyne
  deans dynes
decree decry  
  decreed decried
  decreeing decrying
  decrees decries
deed died
deed dyed
deem dime
  deems dimes
delete delight
  deleted delighted
  deletes delights
  deleting delighting
E I
  E's I's
E ay
  E's ays
E aye
  E's ayes
E eye
  E's eyes
ease ayes
ease ays
ease eyes
ease I's
east iced
eel I'll 
eel aisle
  eels aisles 
eel isle
  eels isles
eland island
  elands islands
emphases emphasize
eon ion
  eons ions
eon iron
  eons irons
Eva Ivor
eve I've
feat fight
  feats fights
fee fie
feel file
  feeling filing
  feelings filings
  feels files
feet fight
feoff fife 
  feoffs fifes 
fever fiver
  fevers fivers
fief fife
  fiefs fifes
field filed
fiend find
  fiends finds
fiend fined
flea fly
  fleas flies
flee fly
  fleeing flying
  flees flies
fleet flight
  fleets flights
fleeting flighting
free fry
  freed fried
  freeing frying
  frees fries
  freer frier
freer friar
freeze fries
frieze fries
genteel gentile
ghee guy 
grippe gripe
grippes gripes 
he hi
he hie
  he's hies
  he'd hied
he high
heat height
  heats heights
heave hive
  heaved hived
  heaves hives
  heaving hiving
heed hide
  heeding hiding
  heeds hides
heed hied
keen kine
keened kind
knee nigh
lea lie
  leas lies
lea lye
  leas lyes
lead lied
leaf life
  leafless lifeless
leak like
  leaked liked
  leaking liking
  leaks likes
leal lisle
lean line
  leaned lined
  leaning lining
  leanings linings
  leans lines
leaner liner
lease lice
leave live
  leaves lives
lee lie
  lees lies
lee lye
  lees lyes
leek like
  leeks likes
Leigh lie
Leigh lye
Leon lion
lied light
lief life
Lille lisle
litre lighter 
  litres lighters 
me my
meal mile
  meals miles 
mean mine
  meaner miner
  meaning mining
  means mines
meaner minor
meaner mynah
meat might
  meaty mighty
  meatier mightier
  meatiest mightiest
meat mite
  meats mites
meek mike 
meeker mica
meet might
meet mite
  meets mites
mete might
mete mite
  metes mites
meteor mightier
meter mitre
  meters mitres
meter mitre
  meters mitres
metre mitre
  metres mitres
mi my
mien mine
  miens mines
neat knight 
neat night
neater nitre
neatly knightly 
neatly nightly
Nice nice
niece nice
overseas oversize
oversees oversize
P pi
  P's pis
P pie
  P's pies
pea pi
  peas pis
pea pie
  peas pies
peak pike
  peaks pikes
peal pile 
  pealed piled
  pealing piling
  peals piles
pease pies
pease pis
pee pi
  pees pis
pee pie
  peed pied
  pees pies
peek pike
  peeks pikes
peel pile
  peeled piled
  peeling piling
  peels piles
peep pipe
  peeped piped
  peeper piper
  peepers pipers
  peeping piping
  peeps pipes
peke pike
  pekes pikes
pique pike
  piques pikes
plea ply
  pleas plies
plead plied
please plies
pleat plight
  pleated plighted
  pleating plighting
  pleats plights
priest priced 
prima primer
re rye
re wry
read ride
  reader rider
  readers riders
  reading riding
  reading-lamp riding-lamp
  reading-lamps riding-lamps
  readings ridings
  reads rides
ream rhyme
  reams rhymes
ream rime
  reams rimes
reap ripe
  reaper riper
receipt recite
  receipted recited
  receipting reciting
  receipts recites
reed ride
  reeds rides
reef rife
reek Reich 
  reeks Reichs 
reel rile
  reeled riled
  reeling riling
  reels riles
reeve rive
  reeves rives
renal rhinal
reveal revile
  revealed reviled
  revealing reviling
  reveals reviles
Rheims rhymes
Rheims rimes
Rita writer
scene sign
  scenes signs
  scene-painter sign-painter
  scene-painters sign-painters
scene sine
  scenes sines
sea sigh
  seas sighs
Seaford ciphered
seaman Simon 
seamen Simon
seas size
seat cite
  seated cited
  seating citing
  seats cites
seat sight
  seated sighted
  seating sighting
  seats sights
seat site
  seated sited
  seating siting
  seats sites
see sigh
  seeing sighing
  sees sighs
seed side
  seeded sided
  seeding siding
  seeds sides
  seedsman sidesman
  seedsman sidesmen
  seedsmen sidesman
  seedsmen sidesmen
seedling sidling
seed sighed
seen sign
seen sine
sees size
seethe scythe 
  seethed scythed 
  seethes scythes 
  seething scything 
seize sighs
seize size
  seized sized
  seizes sizes
  seizing sizing
semen Simon
she shy
sheen shine
shriek shrike
  shrieks shrikes
ski sky
  ski'd skied
  skiing skying
  skis skies 
sleet sleight
  sleets sleights
sleet slight
  sleeted slighted
  sleeting slighting
  sleets slights
speak spike
  speaking spiking
  speaks spikes
speed spied
spree spry
steal stile
  steals stiles
steal style
  stealing styling
  steals styles
steamy stymie
steel stile
  steels stiles
steel style
  steeled styled
  steeling styling
  steels styles
streak strike
  streaking striking
  streaks strikes
sweep swipe
  sweeping swiping
  sweeps swipes
syntheses synthesize
T Thai
  T's Thais
T tie
  T's ties
tea Thai
  teas Thais
tea tie
  teas ties
teak tike
teal tile
team thyme
team time
  teamed timed
  teaming timing
  teamwork timework
  teams times
tease Thais
tease ties
teat tight
  teats tights
tee Thai
  tees Thais
tee tie
  teeing tying
  tees ties
teed tide
teed tied
teem thyme
teem time
  teemed timed
  teeming timing
  teems times
teen tine
teens tines
teeny tiny
  teenier tinier
  teeniest tiniest
teeter tighter
teethe tithe
  teethes tithes
thee thy
thesis phthisis
ti Thai
ti tie
treat trite
tree try
  treed tried
  treeing trying
  trees tries
'tween twine
unseated unsighted
unweaned unwind
V vie
  V's vies
veal vile
venous vinous
Venus vinous
visa visor
  visas visors
we why
we Y 
weal while
  weals whiles
weal wile
  weals wiles
weald whiled
weald wild
wean whine
  weaned whined
  weaning whining
  weans whines
wean wine
  weaned wined
  weaning wining
  weans wines
weaned wind
weaves wives
weaving wiving
wee why
  wees whys
wee Y
  wees Y's 
weed wide
weep wipe
  weeping wiping
  weeps wipes
wees wise
wheat wight 
wheat white
  wheaten whiten
wheel while
  wheeled whiled
  wheeling whiling
  wheels whiles
wheel wile
  wheels wiles
wheeled wild
wheeze whys
wheeze wise
wheeze Y's
wield whiled
wield wild
wreak Reich
  wreaks Reichs
wreathe writhe
  wreathed writhed
  wreathes writhes
  wreathing writhing
Geographical: Outside English-speaking countries, most visitors are from Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Thailand, Indonesia, Spain, Jordan, Turkey, Germany, South Korea, Yemen, France, Vietnam, Poland and Malaysia. Average 23 visitors per month.

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2011.