Minimal Pair List Vowels 11 and 19, /3/ versus / eə / 54 pairs

   Minimal pair: Vowels 11 and 19, /3/ versus / eə / 54 pairs

The /3/ vowel is spelled with <er>, <ir>, <ear>, <ur>, and <yr> in myrrh . The / eə / diphthong is spelled <are>, <air> and <ayr>.

This is a contrast between a long vowel and a diphthong. The starting positions are well separated in the mouth, but there is a potential problem for learners who try to articulate the post-vocalic -r.

Interesting pairs include:

burly barely
furnace fairness

The density figure is 5.61%. The set makes 28 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 51.9%.

bird bared 
blur blare 
  blurred blared 
  blurring blaring 
  blurs blares 
burr bare 
  burrs bares
burly barely
burn bairn
  burns bairns 
cur care 
  curs cares 
curd cared 
err air
  erred aired 
  erring airing 
  errs airs 
err ere
err heir
  errs heirs  
err Ayr 
fir fair 
  firs fairs 
fur fair
  furs fairs
furze fairs  
furnace fairness 
furry fairy
heard hared 
her hair
  hers hairs 
myrrh mare 
per pair 
purr pair
  purred paired 
  purring pairing 
  purrs pairs 
spur spare 
  spurred spared 
  spurring sparing 
  spurs spares 
stir stair
  stirs stairs
stir stare
  stirred stared 
  stirring staring 
  stirs stares 
were ware 
were wear
whirr ware
  whirrs wares
whirr wear  
  whirring wearing 
  whirrs wears