The vowel /i/ appears in its usual range of spellings, including the letter names B, C, E, P and T. The /aɪ/ 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:
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 writhingGeographical: 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.