Consonants /g/ versus /f/, 244 pairs     [gofoe.html]

The spelling of /g/ is <g> or <gg>, but we also see <gh> in ghoul. The /f/ sound is spelled <f> or <ff>, but we also see <ph> in phrase and <gh> in cough.

This is a contrast between a voiced stop and a voiceless fricative, well separated in the mouth. It does not cause any problems.

The only taboo word pair is bugger/buffer.

Interesting pairs include:

degrade defrayed
elegant elephant
Gallic phallic
geisha facia
gunwale funnel
rugger rougher

The figure for the mean density is 3.3%. The set makes 123 semantic contrasts, a loading of 50%.

alga alpha
algae Alfie
big biff 
bug buff 
  bugging buffing 
  bugged buffed
  bugs buffs
bugger buffer 
  buggers buffers 
cog cough
  cogs coughs
degrade defrayed 
diagram diaphragm
  diagrams diaphragms
digger differ 
  diggers differs 
dog doff 
  dogging doffing 
  dogged soffed
  dogs doffs
egg F 
egging effing 
elegant elephant
Elgin elfin
gab fab 
gable fable 
  gabled fabled 
  gables fables 
gad fad 
  gads fads 
Gael fail 
  Gaels fails
gale fail
  gales fails
gag gaff 
  gagged fagged 
  gagging fagging 
  gags fags 
gain fain 
gain feign
  gained feigned 
  gaining feigning 
  gains feigns 
gait fate 
  gaits fates 
gate fate
  gates fates
  gated fated
gate fête
  gates fêtes  
  gated fêted 
  gating fêting 
Gallic phallic	
gall fall
  galling falling 
  galls falls
game fame 
  gamed famed 
gang fang 
  gangs fangs
garish fairish 
gat fat
gaud ford 
Gaul fall
  Gauls falls
gauze fours 
gawk fork 
  gawks forks 
gay fey 
  gays feys
gays phase
gaze phase
  gazed phased
  gazes phases
  gazing phasing
gear fear 
  geared feared 
  gearing fearing 
  gears fears 
geisha facia 
  geishas facias 
geld felled 
ghee fee 
gherkin firkin 
  gherkins firkins 
ghoul fool
  ghouls fools 
ghoulish foolish 
gig fig 
  gigs figs 
Gilbert filbert
gild filled 
gill fill 
  gills fills 
gillie filly 
  gillies fillies 
girl furl 
  girls furls 
girth firth
  girths firths 
glade flayed 
glare flair 
  glared flared 
  glares flairs 
  glaring flaring 
glaze flays 
glee flea 
  glees fleas 
glee flee 
  glees flees 
glint flint 
  glints flints 
gloat float 
  gloated floated 
  gloating floating 
  gloats floats 
gloom flume 
  glooms flumes 
glory Florrie 
gloss floss 
glow floe 
  glows floes 
glow flow  
  glowed flowed 
  glowing flowing 
  glows flows
glower flour 
  glowered floured 
  glowering flouring 
  glowers flours 
glower flower 
  glowered flowered 
  glowering flowering 
  glowers flowers 
glue flew 
glue flue
  glues flues 
go foe 
  goes foes 
goal foal 
  goals foals 
gob fob 
  gobs fobs 
gold foaled 
golly folly 
gooey phooey
gore for 	  
gore fore
gore four
  gores fours
gored ford
gorge forge
  gorged forged 
  gorges forges 
  gorging forging 
gorse force 
gowned found 
grade frayed 
grail frail 
grate freight 
  grated freighted 
  grates freights 
  grating freighting 
grater freighter 
  graters freighters 
gray fray 
  graying fraying 
  grays frays 
  grayed frayed
graze frays
graze phrase
  grazed phrased
  grazes phrases
  grazing phrasing
greed freed 
Greek freak
  Greeks freaks
grill frill 
  grilled frilled 
  grills frills 
grizzle frizzle 
  grizzled frizzled 
  grizzles frizzles 
  grizzling frizzling 
grog frog 
groom Frome 
ground frowned 
grow fro 
grows froze 
grumpy frumpy 
  grumpier frumpier 
  grumpiest frumpiest 
grunt front 
  grunted fronted 
  grunting fronting 
  grunts fronts 
guild filled
guile file 
Guinness finis
gun fun 
gunned fund 
gunny funny 
gunwale funnel 
  gunwales funnels 
gusty fusty 
gut phut
Guy fie
hug huff 
  hugging huffing 
  hugged huffed
  hugs huffs
league leaf 
  leaguing leafing
lug luff 
  lugging luffing 
  lugged luffed
  lugs luffs
mug muff 
  mugging muffing 
  mugs muffs
pug puff 
  pugs puffs
rig riff 
  rigs riffs
rug rough 
  rigs roughs
rugger rougher 
slug slough 
  slugging sloughing 
  slugs sloughs
  slugged sloughed
snug snuff 
snuggle snuffle 
  snuggled snuffled 
  snuggles snuffles 
  snuggling snuffling 
staggered Stafford 
tog toff 
tug tough 
Whig whiff 
wriggle riffle 
  wriggled riffled 
  wriggles riffles 
  wriggling riffling 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, August 2010.