The /d/ sound is spelled with <d>, <dd> or <de>, and the /r/ sound is <r>, <wr>, <rr> or <rh>. Notice how the homograph row pairs with doe and dhow.
There can be no contrasts in syllable-final position. Otherwise the contrast is between a voiced stop and a voiced continuant which has several allophones, fairly close together in the mouth. It may be a problem for learners when the sounds are contrasted medially in which case the /r/ usually has the flap allophone, but in other environments there are fewer problems.
The length of the list is partly accounted for by the number of words made by combining the de- and re- prefixes with the same root which in turn leads to a lowish semantic loading since many of these sets are nouns and verbs with the same inflections.
Interesting pairs include:
The mean density value is 2.5%. The list makes 244 semantic distinctions, a loading of 49%.
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John Higgins, Shaftesbury, March 2010.