Is "woman/women" the only English word group that undergoes a change - via conjugation, pluralization... whatever may be the cause - wherein a syllable of the polysyllabic word has spelling changes that do not have a significant change to its pronunciation (i.e. the "-man" and "-men" sound as "mun" in both cases), while simultaneously having another syllable that Does have a change in pronunciation, even though its spelling did not change (i.e. the "wom" pronounced as "woom" (or womb) and "wihm" (wim, whim) respectively)?

Mind you, "children" is not a correct answer because it begins as a (albeit, differently pronounced) single syllable/word and transforms into a polysyllabic word.

Edit: to clarify, I'm looking for specific words that follow the unusual pattern of the "woman/women" construct: a specific syllable changes pronunciation without a spelling change while another syllable changes spelling without a pronunciation change. One commenter @john Lawler pointed out the Umlaut factor in this word and sparked a notion to me that the answer might lie among German cognates, but in my life I've never found any words like this and that is why I ask the question. If you have evidence that this word group is not unique for this quality then please provide examples. Also, my curiosity is so piqued by Lawler's suggestion that I would welcome even German words that do this as examples, though I'd request a translation and phonetic transcription with that, please.

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    Your premise is wrong at least as far as most accents from Britain. The second syllable does change its pronunciation. – Chris H Dec 13 '15 at 14:06
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    @ Chris H: Okay, then I mean in the American pronunciation. Premise seems intact. But out of curiosity could you explain how the second syllable changes in Britain? Are you talking about how "woman" is woo-mun" but "women" is pronounced "wih-min"? If so I'd argue that I've heard British people (i've lived there) say "wooh-min" and "wih-min" and so the question is the same. Is there another word group that does this odd change where the spelling change and the pronunciation change are in direct opposition to the phonetic/spelling logic that is presented? – Jack Roy Dec 13 '15 at 14:31
  • There are certainly British accents that aren't as clear, or the pronunciation of both is shifted significantly - hence my "most". But you've transcribed the change right as far as I'm concerned. – Chris H Dec 13 '15 at 17:36
  • Umlaut is marked in the spelling in German. Your requirement is so particular that I doubt any other English word would meet it, but if there are other words, I'd guess the most likely way it would work is by "long"/"short" pronunciation of the same vowel letter (like genus-genera). – herisson Dec 13 '15 at 18:15
  • @sumelic Well there's no need for umlaut as shown by the example I propose. Any other word, for any reason that does what they (woman/women) do would satisfy. I've just had a notion for years that this word group is unique for what I've explained, but can't confirm it so I asked the question. From the response so far I'm starting to believe it is a unique pluralization at least, and likely a unique word altogether for this unique feature it has. Seems irrelevant - and it is - but it's not devoid of significance. Anyone I've pointed it out to is surprised, and sure there are more words like it. – Jack Roy Dec 13 '15 at 18:27

In American English, woman is pronounced /'wʊmən/, and women is pronounced /'wɪmən/.
The only difference between them is the vowels in the first stressed syllable, /ʊ/ and /ɪ/.

/ʊ/ and /ɪ/ are very similar; they're both high lax vowels. The only difference between the two vowels is that singular /ʊ/ is a back high lax vowel and plural /ɪ/ is a front high lax vowel.

This situation -- having a back vowel in the singular and a front vowel in the plural --
is not at all unusual in English. It's the result of the old Germanic process of Umlaut,
which fronts vowels to anticipate front vowels in an ending. The same thing happened to
goose ~ geese, only with the high tense vowels /u/ and /i/, instead of high lax vowels.
Details in the link.

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    I think you don't understand my question. I am aware of the vowel change. I want to know if there are other English word groups that undergo a vowel change without a spelling change (to that syllable) while simultaneously having a syllable that undergoes a spelling change that distinctly DOES NOT undergo a vowel change. I believe woman/woman is a unique word in this capacity. Though I think you're on to something with the German etymology. Are there any other 2 (or more) syllable cognates that do this same thing? – Jack Roy Dec 13 '15 at 17:05

Normally the pronounciation of "woman" and "women" would almost be the same. So it is not so astonishing that the speakers differentiate the pronunciation of the plural regardless of the spelling. In this case it is not the logic of spelling that matters but the practical need of differentiation of two words that originally were too similar in pronunciation.

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    I get what you mean. But I still contend that "woman/women" is a unique construct in that it undergoes a pronunciation change (to a specific syllable) with no spelling change, while simultaneously undergoing a spelling change (to another specific syllable) with no pronunciation change. That's jus friggin weird. – Jack Roy Dec 13 '15 at 17:55

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