What a difference a "k" makes. Just had the happy circumstance of seeing two words in close proximity to one another. "now" and "know". You'll note that know is just now with a "k" added a-front. Say them out loud. NAOWWW. NOOOOO. The "n" sound is the same so all the change is in that vowel sound. Take away the "n" and the "kn" and you're left with the same "ow". But the sound of them? Sooooo different.
And as an added bonus, listen to the sound of "know" and then remove both the "k" and the "w". And the sound of what's left changes by how much ...? Think about it. "know" sounds like NO. Remove the "k" and now sounds like NAOW. Remove the "w" and it's back to NO.
Ahhh, English. It's just SO hyperfrenestenic.