The /ʃ/ sound is spelled with <sh>, <su> in assure and <ch> in chaise. The /ʤ/ sound is spelled with <j> or <ge>.
This is a contrast between a voiceless fricative and a voiced affricate, both in the same region of the mouth. It is a known problem for many learners, including speakers of French, German, Dutch, Scandinavian languages, Spanish, Greek and Thai.
One taboo word pair is shag/jag.
Interesting pairs include:
The mean density value is 1.8%. The lists make 60 semantic distinctions, a loading of 48%.
assure adjure assured adjured assures adjures assuring adjuring bash badge bashes badges basing badging bashed badged cache cadge caches cadges caching cadging cached cadged cash cadge cashes cadges cashing cadging cashed cadged chaise J's chaise jays chef Geoff chute jute hashes Hadjis languish language languishes languages leash liege leashes lieges mannish manage marsh Marge marshy Margie mash Madge ravish ravage ravishes ravages ravishing ravaging ravished ravaged roughish roughage schist gist schists gists shack jack shacked jacked shacking jacking shacks jacks shade jade shaded jaded shades jades shag jag shagged jagged shagging jagging shags jags shaggy jaggy shaggier jaggier shaggiest jaggiest shah jar shahs jars shake Jake shakes jakes shale gaol sham jam shammed jammed shamming jamming shams jambs shames James shape jape shapes japes shard jarred she G shear jeer sheared jeered shearing jeering shears jeers sheer jeer sheep jeep shell gel shelled gelled shelling gelling shells gels sherry jerry sherries jerries shingle jingle shingled jingled shingles jingles shingling jingling shin gin sins gins shinned ginned shinning ginning shin jinn shins jinns ship gyp shipped gypped shipping gypping ships gyps shirk jerk shirked jerked shirking jerking shirks jerks shoe Jew shoes Jews shone John shoo Jew shoos Jews shoot jute shore jaw shored jawed shores jaws shored jawed shortish shortage shot jot shots jots Shotts jots show Joe shown Joan showy Joey shudder judder shuddered juddered shuddering juddering shudders judders shunter junta shunters juntas shut jut shuts juts shutting jutting slush sludge splosh splodge sploshes splodges surer juror surest jurist
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2010.