Minimal Pair List Vowels 11 and 18, /3/ versus / ɪə / 45 pairs

   Minimal pair: Vowels 11 and 18, /3/ versus / ɪə / 45 pairs

The /3/ vowel is spelled with <er>, <ir>, <ear>, <ur>, and <or> in word . The / ɪə / diphthong is spelled <ere>, <eer>, <ear>, <eir> in weird and <ie> in lien . Notice the homograph Wear , here the name of a river.

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:

erring earring

The density figure is 1.46%. The set makes 24 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 53.3%.

bird beard 
  birds beards 
burr beer 
  burrs beers 
err ear 
  errs ears 
erring earring 
fir fear 
  firs fears 	   
fur fear
  furs fears 
furze fears   
gird geared 
her hear 
  hers hears 
learn lien
  learns liens
myrrh mere 
per peer   
per pier
purr peer
  purred peered 
  purring peering 
  purrs peers  
purr pier
  purrs piers  
purse pierce 
  pursed pierced 
  purses pierces 
  pursing piercing 
spur spear 
  spurred speared 
  spurring spearing 
  spurs spears 
stir steer 
  stirred steered 
  stirring steering 
  stirs steers 
were Wear 
were weir
whirr Wear
whirr weir
  whirrs weirs 	 
whirred weird 
word weird
wordy weirdie