Consonants // versus /w/, 27 pairs     [thenwen.html]

The // sound is spelled with <th>. The /w/ sound is spelled with <w>.

This is a contrast between a dental fricative and a bilabial semivowel, both voiced but well apart in the mouth. The contrast does not cause problems.

The contrast only occurs initially and is quite rare since only a few words, mainly finction words being with //. The mean density value is very low at 0.1%. The list makes 25 semantic distinctions, a loading of 93%.

thee we
thee wee
their ware 
  theirs wares
their wear 
  theirs wears	 
their where  
then wen		 
then when
thence whence	   
there ware
there wear
there where
thereabouts whereabouts
therefore wherefore
therewithal wherewithal
these wees
they way
thine whine
thine wine
thither whither
though whoa
though woe
those woes
thou wow
thy why
thy Y 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2010.