The /ɔ/ vowel is usually spelled <or>, <our>, and <oar>, but we also see <al> in talk, <au> in haul, <aw> in awe and <ar> after <w> in sward and war. The /eɪ/ diphthong is usually spelled <aCe>, <ai> or <ay> but we also see <ey> in obeyed, <ei> in feign, <ea> in the archaic yea, and the letter names A, J and K. Note that I have included two pairings with the word overwrought since this dictionary treats overate and overrate as homophones.
This is a contrast between a long vowel and a diphthong, well separated in the mouth. It causes no problems.
Interesting pairs include:
The density figure is 6.91%. The set makes 170 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 53.1%.
aboard obeyed abort abate aborted abated aborting abating aborts abates abroad abrade all ail aught eight auk ache auks aches awe A awes A's awed aid awl ail awls ails bald bailed balk bake balked baked balking baking balks bakes ball bail balling bailing balls bails bauble babel baubles babels bawd bade bawd bayed board bade board bayed boar bay boars bays boar bey boars beys boars baize bore bay bores bays bored bayed bore bey bores bey bores baize bought bait bourn bane brawl braille brawn brain brawny brainy brawnier brainier brawniest brainiest broad braid broads braids calk cake calked caked calking caking calks cakes call kail caught Kate cause K's caw K caws K's claw clay coarse case corbel cable corbels cables cork cake corks cakes corking caking corked caked corm came corn cane corned caned corning caning corns canes Corp cape corpse capes course case coursed cased courses cases coursing casing coursings casings court Kate crawfish crayfish crawfishes crayfishes crores craze daw day Dawley daily dawn Dane dawns Danes dawn deign dawned deigned dawning deigning dawns deigns daws days daws daze deform defame deformed defamed deforming defaming deforms defames defraud defrayed draw dray drawer dray drawers drays drawn drain fall fail falling failing falls fails faugh fey faun fain faun feign fauns feigns fawn fain fawn feign fawned feigned fawning feigning fawns feigns flaw flay flawed flayed flaws flays for fey force face forced faced forces faces forcing facing ford fade forded faded fording fading fords fades fork fake forked faked forking faking forks fakes form fame formed famed fort fate forts fates four fey fours feys fours phase fraud frayed fraught freight Gaul Gael Gauls Gaels gauze gays gawp gape gawped gaped gawping gaping gawps gapes ghat gait ghats gaits gnaw nay gnaw née gnaw neigh gnawed neighed gnawing neighing gnaws neighs gorge gage gorged gaged gorges gages gorging gaging gorge gauge gorged gauged gorges gauges gorging gauging hall hail halls hails hall hale haughty Haiti haul hail hauled hailed hauling hailing haulks hails haul hale haw hay hawk hake haws haze jaw J jaws J's jawed jade laud lade lauding lading lauds lades laud laid law lay lawn lain lawns lanes laws lays lord lade lords lades lord laid Maud made maul mail mauled mailed mauling mailing mauls mails maw may maws Mays morn main morns mains Morse mace norm name norms names orb Abe orgies ages outlaw outlay outlaws outlays overwrought overate overwrought overrate pall pail palls pails pall pale palled paled palling paling palls pales Paul pail Paul pale pauper paper paupers papers pause pays paw pay pawed paid pawing paying paws pays pawn pain pawned pained pawning paining pawns pains porpoises papacies port pate raw ray roar ray roars rays roared raid roars raise saw say sawing saying sawn sane scald scaled scorn skein scorns skeins shawl shale shored shade slaw slay sore say spawn Spain spore spay spores spays sport spate sports spates stalk stake stalked staked stalking staking stalks stakes stall stale stalled staled stalling staling stalls stales store stay stored staid stores stays straw stray strawed strayed strawing straying straws strays sward suede sward swayed swore sway sworn swain talk take talking taking talks takes talker taker talkers takers tall tail taller tailor taunt taint taunted tainted taunting tainting taunts taints thorn thane thorns thanes torpor taper torpors tapers trawl trail trawled trailed trawling trailing trawls trails trawler trailer trawlers trailers walk wake walked waked walking waking walks wakes wall wail walled wailed walling wailing walls wails walls Wales war way wars ways war weigh wars weighs ward wade warded waded warding wading wards wades ward weighed warder wader warders waders warn wane warned waned warning waning warns wanes warn wain warns wains wart wait warts waits water waiter waters waiters wharf waif wharfs waifs wharves waives wharves waves yaw yea yaws yeas
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2009