The /k/ sound is spelled with <c>, <cc>, <k>, <ch> in ached, and <q> in the letter name Q and the word queue. The /n/ sound is spelled <n>, <nn> or occasionally <gn> as in gnome.
The contrast is between a voiceless velar stop and a voiced bilabial nasal continuant. It does not cause many listening problems except when the sounds are buried in clusters such as <cts> versus <nts>.
The words college and knowledge are often used as rhymes in comic verse. There are a number of compounds with the prefixes ex and in which amke minimal pairs, such as expected/inspected. I left out with some regret the pair snooker/schooner which reverses the two sounds. Other interesting pairs include:
Taboo word pairs include: cock/con, cock/knock, fuck/fun.
The mean density value is 2.5%. The list makes 328 semantic distinctions, a loading of 55%.
ached ain't act ant acts ants acuity annuity alike align altercation alternation altercations alternations back ban backed banned backing banning backs bans backed bant backer banner backers banners bake bane bakes banes balk Bourne bark barn barks barns barrack baron barracks barons beak bean beck Ben bike bine bloke blown brake brain braking braining brakes brains break brain breaks brains breaking braining buck bun bucks buns Buckie bunny burke burn burked burnt burking burning cab nab cabs nabs caber neighbour cabers neighbours cache gnash cached gnashed caches gnashes caching gnashing cairn Nairn cake cane caking caning cakes canes calk corn calking corning calks corns came name can nan cans nans Cannock cannon canny nanny cap knap capping knapping caps knaps capped knapped cap nap caps naps capping napping capped napped cape nape capes napes Capt knapped care ne'er cash gnash cashes gnashes cashing gnashing cashed gnashed cat gnat cats gnats catty natty cattier nattier cattiest nattiest caught naught cause gnaws cave knave caves knaves caw gnaw cawed gnawed cawing gnawing caws gnaws caw nor Celt knelt chick chin chicks chins clack clan clacks clans cloak clone cloaks clones Co know Co no coal knoll coals knolls coarse Norse coat note coated noted coating noting coats notes cob knob cobs knobs cobble knobble cobbled nobbled cobbles knobbles cobbling nobbling cock con cocks cons cocked conned cocking conning cocked cont cock knock cocks knocks cocker knocker cockers knockers cocky Connie cod nod codded nodded cods nods codding nodding coddle noddle coddles noddles code node codes nodes coke cone coking coning colic Colin college knowledge Colne coke comb gnome combs gnomes come numb comes numbs coming numbing comely numbly commination nomination comminations nominations convection convention coo gnu coos gnus cook nook cooks nooks cope nope core gnaw cores gnaws core nor cork corn corks corns corker corner corkers corners corm norm corms norms cortical nautical cosh nosh coshes noshes coshing noshing cosy nosey cosier nosier cosies noses cosiest nosiest cot knot cots knots coterie notary coteries notaries court naught courts naughts courtier naughtier cow now crake crane crakes cranes croak crone croaks crones cub nub cubs nubs cull null cumber number cumbered numbered cumbering numbering cumbers numbers curse nurse cursed nursed curses nurses cursing nursing cursory nursery curve nerve curved nerved curves nerves curving nerving cut nut cuts nuts cute newt cuter neuter dark darn deck den decks dens decked dent decks dense detection detention Dick din dicker dinner dickers dinners dike dine diking dining dikes dines dissect descent dissects descents dissect dissent dissected dissented dissecting dissenting dissection dissension dissections dissensions dock don docking donning docks dons Dorking dawning drake drain drakes drains duck done duck dun ducking dunning ducks duns ducked dunned ducks dunce duke dune eke e'en exception inception exceptions inceptions excise incise excised incised excises incises excising incising excision incision excisions incisions excite incite excited incited excites incites exciting inciting excitement incitement excitements incitements expand inspanned expect inspect expected inspected expecting inspecting expects inspects expire inspire expired inspired expires inspires expiring inspiring fake fain fake feign faking feigning faked feigned fakes feigns faked faint flak flan flicked Flint folk phone fork faun forking fawning fuck fun Greek green Greeks greens hairlike hairline hawk horn hawking horning hawked horned hawks horns hawked haunt heck hen hecks hence hock Hon invective inventive Iraq Iran irk earn irking earning irks earns irked earned Jack Jan jacket Janet Jake Jane jerky journey Joan joke jockey Johnny K nay K née K neigh K's neighs kail nail keel Neil keel kneel Keith 'neath kettle nettle kettles nettles key knee keys knees kick kin kick nick kicked nicked kicking nicking kicks nicks kill nil kine nine kip nip kipped nipped kipping nipping kipper nipper kippers nippers kit knit kitted knitted kitting knitting kits knits kit nit kits nits kite knight kites knights knocks nonce lake lain lake lane lakes lanes lakh Larne lakhs lance lark Larne larking larning leak lean leaking leaning leaks leans lectern Lenten leek lean leeks leans licked lint lifelike lifeline like line like lines liked lined liking lining likings linings lucre lunar lurk learn lurked learnt lurking learning lurks learns mac man make main makes mains Max manse meek mean meeker meaner meekest meanest meekly meanly mica myna Mike mine mix mince mixed minced mixes minces mixing mincing mixer mincer mixers mincers moke moan mucky money oak own oaks owns oaked owned ochre owner pack pan packing panning packs pans packed panned packed pant pact pant pacts pants peck pen pecking penning pecks pens pecked penned pecks pence pecked pent pectic pectin pick pin picking pinning picks pins picked pinned pick-up pin-up pick-ups pin-ups pike pine pikes pines placket planet plackets planets pocks ponce poke pone poky pony pork pawn pox ponce pricked print pricks prince psych sign psychs signs psychologist Sinologist psychologists Sinologists psychology Sinology puck pun puckish punish Q knew Q new Q's news quaint quaked quirk quern quirks querns queue knew queue new queues news queued nude quick quin rack ran racked rant rake rain raking raining rakes rains raked rained rake reign raking reigning rakes reigns raked reigned rake rein raking reining rakes reins raked reined Reich Rhine ricks rinse rock Ron rocky Ronnie ruck run rucking running rucks runs rucked runt sake sane scale snail scales snails scare snare scared snared scares snares scaring snaring scoop snoop scooped snooped scooping snooping scoops snoops score snore scored snored scores snores scoring snoring scorer snorer scorers snorers Scot snot scout snout scouts snouts scuff snuff scuffed snuffed scuffing snuffing scuffs snuffs scuffle snuffle scuffled snuffled scuffles snuffles scuffling snuffling secs sense sect cent sects cents sect scent sects scents sect sent sector centre sectors centres seek scene sex sense sexed sensed sexes senses sexing sensing sexual sensual sexuality sensuality shock shone shrike shrine shuck shun shucks shuns shucking shunning shucked shunned shucked shunt sic sin sick sin sicking sinning sicked sinned sicks sins sicks since sicker sinner skied snide skiff sniff skiffs sniffs skiffle sniffle skip snip skipped snipped skipping snipping skips snips skis sneeze slake slain soak sown socket sonnet sockets sonnets Southwark southern spake Spain specked spent spick spin spike spine spikes spines spiky spiny spikier spinier spikiest spiniest spook spoon spooks spoons stacks stance stake stain staking staining stakes stains staked stained stack Stan stoke stone stoking stoning stokes stones stoked stoned stuck stun suck son suck sun sucking sunning tack tan tacking tanning tacks tans tacked tanned talk torn talked taunt talkie tawny tannic tannin Tech ten techs tense text tensed thick thin thicker thinner thickest thinnest thickly thinly thick-skinned thin-skinned tic tin tick tin ticks tins ticked tinned ticking tinning ticked tint tike Tyne tocsin toxic toque tone tuck ton tucks tons tuck tonne tucks tonnes tuck tun tucks tuns Turk tern Turks terns Turk turn Turks turns turkey tourney turkeys tourneys tweak 'tween unexpired uninspired uric urine vac van wake Wayne wake wane waking waning wakes wanes walk warn walking warning walks warns walked warned weak wean week wean weeks weans wick whin wicks whins wick win wicks wins wicked whinnied wicker winner wicks wince worked weren't wrack ran wreck Rennes wreck wren wrecks wrens wrecked rent York yawn
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, July 2010.