The spelling of /t/ is <t> or <tt> and we also see silent letter combinations such as <bt> in debt. The /l/ sound is <l> or <ll>. Inflected forms with -s have been included even where not strictly minimal. See the discussion under "Problems" on the main page. This does in once case give rise to an anomaly when forts enters pairs with falls and false. Overall the /l/ sound is problematic since its greater length makes many minimal contrasts apparently differ in syllable count. This reaches an extreme when the /l/ is fully syllabic. The computer identified several pairs in which /t/ was contrasted with syllabic /l/, e.g. dismissed/dismissal and regent/regional. I have left these in the list though with misgivings.
Notice how the two pronunciations of ate make pairs with ail and the letter name L, the homograph tear makes pairs with lair and leer and the homograph palling makes pairs with patting and porting.
The contrast is between a voiceless plosive and a voiced lateral continuant, fairly close together in the mouth. It is not a problem for learners.
Taboo word pair include shat/shall, shitting/shilling and tits/tills.
Interesting pairs include:
The mean density value is 2.7%. The list makes 410 semantic distinctions, a loading of 56%.
animate animal ate ail ate L at Al atom alum atone alone attack alack attics Alex aught all bait bail baiting bailing baits bails bait bale baiting baling baits bales battered ballad batty bally Bertie burly bet bell bets bells betting belling bet belle bets belles betide belied betted bellied Betty belly bight bile bite bile boat bole boat bowl boats bowls boater bowler boaters bowlers boot buhl bought ball bought bawl brought brawl Brit brill busting bustling caitiff caliph caitiffs caliphs caught call cart Carl carat carol carats carols carrot carol carrots carols casting castling certainty certainly cetaceous salacious chateaux shallows chit chill chits chills cottar choler cottars cholers city silly cities sillies coat coal coating coaling coats coals cot col cots cols cottage college cottages colleges cutter colour cutters colours conceit conceal conceits conceals coot cool coots cools corporate corporal court call courting calling courts calls cut cull cutting culling cuts culls curt curl date dale dates dales darting darling debt dell debts dells detectable delectable diet dial dieting dialling diets dials dismissed dismissal dispersed dispersal dote dole doting doling dotes doles dot doll dotting dolling dots dolls dotty dolly duty duly eating Ealing eat eel eight ail electorate electoral fate fail fates fails fête fail fêting failing fêtes fails fort fall forts falls forts false feat feel feats feels feet feel fight file fighting filing fights files fit fill fitting filling fittings fillings foot full footer fuller footers fullers freight frail freighter frailer gâteaux gallows gait Gael gait gale gate Gael gates Gaels gate gale gates gales garter gala garters galas GATT gal ghat Gaul ghat gall gazette gazelle jet gel jets gels jetting gelling girt girl goat goal goats goals graduate gradual grate grail grates grails great grail grit grill gritting grilling gut gull gutting gulling Haiti highly hat Hal hate hail hates hails hating hailing hate hale haughtier haulier heat heal heats heals heating healing heat heel heats heels heating heeling heater healer heaters healers hector heckler hectors hecklers hit hill hits hills hotter holler hoot who'll hooter hula hooters hulas hut hull huts hulls hurt hurl hurting hurling hurts hurls it ill jetted jellied jetty jelly jetties jellies jotted jollied jute jewel jute joule Kate kail kit kill kitting killing kits kills knit nil light lisle literate literal lot loll lots lolls mate mail mating mailing mates mails mart marl meat meal meats meals meaty mealie meatier mealier meatiest mealiest meet meal meets meals might mile mitre miler mitres milers mitt mill mitts mills mite mile mites miles moat mole motor molar motors molars mute mule mutt mull mutter mullah mutters mullahs net nell nesting nestling nit nil note knoll notes knolls nut null nuts nulls numerate numeral ought all ought awl out owl overwrought overall overtook overlook overstepped overslept pat pal pats pals patting palling patted pallid pate pail pates pails pate pale pates pales port pall ports palls porting palling port Paul patter pallor party parley parties parleys parted parleyed pastorate pastoral patty pally pert pearl peter peeler peters peelers pit pill pits pills pitting pilling pot poll pottered pollard potty Polly potty poly potties polys property properly put pull puts pulse quit quill quits quills Quito kilo quoit coil quoits coils rate rail rates rails rating railing ratings railings ratted rallied ratty rally refit refill refitting refilling regent regional rehearsed rehearsal repeat repeal repeating repealing resting wrestling reversed reversal right rile rights riles righting riling rite rile rites riles rota roller rotas rollers rotor roller rotors rollers root rule rooting ruling roots rules rote rôle rote roll rusting rustling safety safely sate sail sating sailing sates sails sate sale sates sales skate scale skating scaling skates scales scoot school scooting schooling scoots schools scout scowl scouting scowling scouts scowls scut scull scuts sculls scutting sculling scut skull scuts skulls seat seal seats seals seating sealing seating ceiling set cell sets cells set sell setting selling sets sells setter cellar setters cellars secretariat secretarial shat shall sheet she'll shitting shilling Shirley shirty short shawl shorts shawls sit sill sits sills skit skill skits skills skirt skirl skirts skirls smite smile smiting smiling smites smiles spit spill spitting spilling squatted squalid squatter squalor stab slab stabs slabs stack slack stacked slacked stacking slacking stacks slacks stag slag stags slags stain slain stake slake staked slaked stakes slakes staking slaking stash slash stashed slashed stashes slashes stashing slashing state slate stated slated states slates stating slating state stale stating staling states stales stance slants starting starling starve Slav starves Slavs stave slave staved slaved staves slaves staving slaving stay slay staying slaying stays slays stay sleigh stays sleighs staying sleighing stayed sleighed stayer slayer stayers slayers stead sled staid sleighed stepped slept Steve sleeve stick slick sticks slicks sticker slicker stickers slickers sting sling stinging slinging stings slings stinger slinger stingers slingers stink slink stinks slinks stinking slinking stunk slunk stir slur stirred slurred stirring slurring stirs slurs stoat stole stow sloe stows sloes stow slow stows slows stowing slowing stowed slowed stop slop stopped slopped stopping slopping stops slops stuff slough stuffed sloughed stuffing sloughing stuffs sloughs stung slung stump slump stumped slumped stumping slumping stumps slumps sty sly stymie slimy sweat swell sweating swelling sweats swells T lea T's leas T lee ta la tab lab tabs labs table label tabled labelled tables labels tabling labelling tabor labour tabors labours taste laced tack lack tacked lacked tacks lacks tacking lacking tacky lackey tactic lactic tag lag tagged lagged tagging lagging tags lags take lake takes lakes tame lame tamed lamed tames lames taming laming tamely lamely tameness lameness tamer lamer tamest lamest tamp lamp tamps lamps tanned land tank lank tap lap tapped lapped tapping lapping taps laps tarred lard tarn larn tarns larns tarry Larry tare lair tares lairs tare layer tares layers tat lat Tate late tatter latter torn lawn tawse laws teach leach teaches leaches teaching leaching teach leech teaches leeches tern learn terns learns taught tall taut tall tauter taller tautest tallest tatted tallied tatty tally tea lea teas leas tea lee tear lair tears lairs tear layer tears layers tear leer tears leers teat teal Ted lead Teds leads tee lea tees leas tee lee temperate temporal tether leather tethers leathers teg leg tegs legs ten Len tend lend tending lending tends lends tender lender tenders lenders tens lens tent lent Tess less test lest Thai lie Thais lies Thame lame tibia Libya tick lick ticked licked ticking licking ticks licks ticker liquor tickers liquors tie lie ties lies tying lying tighten lighten tightened lightened tightening lightening tightens lightens tight light tighter lighter tightest lightest tightly lightly tightness lightness tights lights tight tile tights tiles tike like tikes likes lied Lille tilt lilt tilted lilted tilting lilting tilts lilts timber limber timbered limbered timbers limbers timbering limbering thyme lime time lime times limes timed limed timing liming tine line tined lined tines lines tint lint tip lip tipped lipped tips lips tipping lipping tire liar tires liars tittle little tizzy Lizzy toe lo toe low toes lows toeing lowing toadied loaded tome loam tone loan toned loaned toning loaning tones loans tone lone toad lode toads lodes toad lowed tog log togged logged togging logging togs logs to lieu to loo too lieu too loo tongs longs took look tomb loom tombs looms toot loot tooted looted toots loots tooting looting top lop tops lops topped lopped topping lopping tope lope toped loped topes lopes toping loping tor law tors laws tor lor tor lore tore law tore lor tore lore tossed lost tot lot tots lots tottery lottery tow lo tow low tows lows towing lowing towed lowed tower lour towered loured towering louring towers lours tout lout touts louts tuck luck tough luff toughs luffs tuft luffed tug lug tugged lugged tugging lugging tugs lugs tut lull tutting lulling tummy lumme tongue lung tongues lungs tour lure toured lured tours lures touring luring tuck luck tucks luxe two lieu two loo twos loos tit till tits tills titter tiller titters tillers tote toll tots tolls toting tolling toot tool tooting tooling toots tools trait trail traits trails traitor trailer traitors trailers Turk lurk Turks lurks turn learn turned learned turning learning turns learns turner learner turners learners Tyne line uncertainty uncertainly unwitting unwilling unwittingly unwillingly vote vole votes voles wafting waffling wait wail waits wails waiting wailing wait whale waits whales waits Wales waiter whaler waiters whalers wart wall warts walls waltz warts weight wail weights wails weighting wailing weight whale weights whales weights Wales wet well wets wells wheat weal wheat wheel wetting welling wert whirl whit will white while whiting whiling white wile whites wiles wit will wits wills Wight while witty Willie wittingly willingly writ rill write rile writes riles writing riling wrote rôle wrote roll yet yell
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, February 2010.