Vowels 13 and 19, // versus //     82 pairs       [aidaired.html]

The // diphthong is spelled <aCe>, <ai>, <ay> or <ey> in fey, and occurs in the letter names A and K. The // diphthong is spelled <air>, <ear>, <are>, and <eah> in yeah.

This is a contrast between two diphthongs. The starting positions are very close but the direction of movement is different. Confusions are possible, though not associated with any particular group of learners.

Interesting pairs include:

Bailey barely

The density figure is 8.52%. The set makes 52 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 63.4%.

A air
  A's airs
A Ayr
A ere
A heir
  A's heirs
aid aired
backstays backstairs 
Bailey barely
baize bares
bane bairn 
bay bare
  bays bares
  bayed bared
bay bear   
  bays bears
bey bare
  beys bares
bey bear
  beys bears  
blade blared
blaze blares 
cane cairn
  canes cairns 
chaise shares
day dare
  days dares 
fade fared
fey fair
flay flair
  flays flairs 
flay flare
  flayed flared 
  flays falres
glade glared
glaze glares 
hay hair
hay hare
haze hairs 
haze hares
K care
  K's cares
lade laird
lay lair
  lays lairs 
may mare
Mays mares
outweigh outwear
  outweighs outwears 
pay pair
  paid paired
  pays pairs 
phase fairs 
praise prayers
pray prayer
  prays prayers
repay repair
  repaid repaired
  repays repairs 
shade shared
spade spared
spay spare
  spays spares 
  spayed spared
staid stared
stay stare
  stays stares
  stayed stared
stay stair
  stays stairs 
sway swear
  sways swears
wade wared
way wear
  ways wears
way ware
  ways wares 
weigh ware
  weighs wares
weigh wear
  weighs wears
yea yeah

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009