The /i/ vowel, as well as its common spellings of <ee> and <ea>, appears often in this list in the name of the alphabet characters B, E, G, P, T and V, since it is here in contrast with a long vowel which can appear in an open syllable. The /ɑ/ vowel is most often spelled with <ar> (remember that this dictionary records British Received Pronunciation which does not have post-vocalic [r]), but we also see a wide range of less usual spellings such as <aa> in kraal, <a> in demand and fast, <al> in psalm, <er> in clerk, <ear> in heart, <au> in laugh, and <aCe> in vase. It is also in the letter name R.
The two vowels, in spite of their similarity of length, are so far apart in articulation that it is almost inconceivable that they could be confused. All the minimal pairs show the contrast occurring on the stressed syllable.
Three pairs of potentially embarrassing rude word contrasts show up: feet and fart, pee and pa, and pees and parse.
Interesting pairs include:
The mean density is 5.9%. The 316 pairs make 196 semantic contrasts, giving a semantic loading of 62%.
aether Arthur B baa B's baas B bah B bar B's bars be baa being baaing be bah be bar bee baa bees baas bee bah bee bar bees bars bead baa'd bead bard beads bards bead barred beak bark beaks barks beak barque beaks barques beaker barker beakers barkers beam balm beam barm bean barn beans barns beat Bart beater barter beaters barters been barn beet Bart Beith bath beta barter betas barters breeze bras careen Koran careens Korans cheat chart cheated charted cheating charting cheats charts cheese chars cheetah charter cheetahs charters chic shark chief chaff chiefs chaffs clique clerk cliques clerks creel kraal creels kraals deacon darken deacons darkens dealing darling dealings darlings dean darn deans darns demeaned demand dreamer drama dreamers dramas E ah E are E's ares E R E's R's each arch ease ares ease R's eat art eats arts EC RC eke arc ekes arcs eke ark ekes arks ether Arthur feast fast feasted fasted feasting fasting feasts fasts feat fart feats farts fee fa fee far feet fart femur farmer femurs farmers G jar G's jars gee jar grease grass greased grassed greases grasses greasier grassier greasiest grassiest greasing grassing greasy grassy greaves graves greets Graz grief graph griefs graphs grieve grave grieves graves he ha heap harp heaped harped heaping harping heaps harps heat hart heats harts heat heart heated hearted heats hearts heath hearth heaths hearths heave halve heaved halved heaves halves heaving halving heed hard keel Carl keen Calne keen khan keens khans keep carp keeping carping keeps carps key car keys cars keyed card kilo Carlow kneeled gnarled lea la leach larch leaches larches lead lard leading larding leads lards leader larder leaders larders leaf laugh leafed laughed leafing laughing leafs laughs leagues Largs leak lakh leaks lakhs leak lark leaked larked leaking larking leaks larks lean Larne lean larn leaned larned leaning larning leans larns leased last least last lee la leech larch leeches larches Leeds lards leek lakh leeks lakhs leek lark leeks larks Leigh la lemur lama lemurs lamas lemur llama lemurs llamas lever larva lever lava lieder larder lief laugh liege large Lima lama Lima llama lists lasts me ma me mar mead marred meal marl mealie Mali mealy Mali meat mart meats marts meed marred meek Mach meek marque meek mark meeker marker meet mart meets marts mete mart metes marts meter martyr meters martyrs metre martyr metres martyrs mi ma mi mar overreach overarch overreached overarched overreaches overarches overreaching overarching P pa P pah P par P's pars P parr P's parrs P's parse pea pa pea pah pea par peas parrs peas pars peas pars pea parr peas parrs peace pass peaceable passable peaceably passably peacetime pastime peach parch peached parched peaches parches peaching parching peak park peaked parked peaking parking peaks parks peaky parky peas parse pease parrs pease pars pease parse peat part peaty party pee pa pee pah pee par pees pars pee parr pees parrs peek park peeked parked peeking parking peeks parks peeler parlour peelers parlours pees parse peke park pekes parks Peking parking Pete part piece pass pieced passed pieces passes piecing passing pique park piqued parked piques parks piquing parking quay car quays cars re rah reader RADA reefed raft seam psalm seams psalms seem psalm seems psalms she shah sheep sharp ski scar ski'd scarred skis scars sleeve Slav sleeves Slavs speak spark speaking sparking speaks sparks speed sparred stealing starling steed starred steeling starling Steve starve T ta T tar T's tars tea ta tea tar teas tars tease tars teat tart teats tarts tee ta tee tar teed tarred tees tars teen tarn teens tarns teeter tartar teeters tartars ti ta ti tar V's vase ye yah zee czar zees czars
Geographical: Most visitors other than from English-speaking countries were from Hong Kong, Philippines, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Germnay, Ecuador, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Norway, Indonesia, Jordan, Turkey, South Korea and Chile. Average 50 visitors per month.
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2011