Consonants // versus /l/, 52 pairs     [thylie.html]

The // sound is spelled with <th> or <the>. The /l/ sound is spelled with <l> or <ll>.

This is a contrast between a dental fricative and a lateral continuant, both voiced and fairly close together in the mouth. Although the individual sounds may not occur or may have restricted environments in many languages, the contrast does not cause problems.

Interesting pairs include:

bothered bollard
southern sullen

Since /l/ is a fairly common sound while / is rare, the mean density value is low at 0.4%. The list makes 34 semantic distinctions, a loading of 65%.

 	
bathe bail 
  bathed bailed 
  bathes bails 
  bathing bailing 
booth buhl
bothered bollard 
lithe lisle 		
mother mullah
  mothers mullahs
scathing scaling 
seethe seal 
  seethed sealed 
  seethes seals 
  seething ceiling 
sheathed shield
southern sullen
teethe teal 
tether teller 
  tethers tellers 
that lat 
thee Leigh 
thee lea
thee lee
their lair 
  theirs lairs 
their layer 
  theirs layers 
then Len 
there lair
there layer
these leas 
they lay 
thine line 
though lo 
though low
those lows 
thy lie 
tithe tile 
  tithes tiles 
with will 
withy willy
  withies willies 
Worthing whirling 
wreathe real
wreathe reel
  wreathed reeled 
  wreathing reeling 
  wreathes reeels
writhe rile 
  writhed riled 
  writhes riles 
  writhing riling 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2010.