Minimal Pair List Diphthong /eə/ versus null, 53 pairs

   Minimal pair: Diphthong /eə/ versus null, 53 pairs

The /eə/ sound is spelled with <air> or <aer>.

As /eə/ is fairly rare, only occurring in 962 words in the dictionary, this was a fairly easy list to work out manually. Most of the words arise from compounds beginning air- . Two pairs arise from deleting a suffix -aire . There are very few others since the /eə/ vowel is usually the nucleus of a stressed syllable. I am not quite sure of the status of sierra/sirrah , particularly since sirrah is rather archaic.

The density value is 5.5%. The set makes 31 sematic distinctions, giving a loading of 58%.

aerate rate
  aerated rated
  aerating rating
  aerates rates
airbed bed
  airbeds beds
airborne born
aircraft craft
aircrew crew
airfield field
  airfields fields
airflow flow
airframe frame
  airframes frames
airing ring
  airings rings
airline line
  airlines lines
airliner liner
  airliners liners
airmail mail
airmail male
airport port
  airports ports
airraid raid
  airraids raids
airship ship
  airships ships
airstrip strip
  airstrips strips
airtight tight
airway way
  airways ways
airway weigh
  airways weighs
airwoman woman
  airwomen women
airworthy worthy
bearing bring
  bearings brings
concessionaire concession
  concessionaires concessions
corsair course
heirloom loom
  heirlooms looms
impair imp
  impairs imps
Kildare killed
questionnaire question
  questionnaires questions
sierra sirrah
  sierras sirrahs
staring string