Vowels 5 and 18, /ɑ/ versus /ɪə/    62 pairs      [jarjeer.html]

The /ɑ/ vowel is usually spelled <ar> but we also find <a> in ma, <aa> in baa and the letter name R. The /ɪə/ diphthong is spelled <eer>, <ier>, or <ear> in geared. It is questionable whether the word Korean uses this diphthong or is a three-syllable word.

This contrast is between a long vowel and a diphthong. The starting tongue positions are well separated and confusions are unlikely.

Interesting pairs include:

farce fierce
Koran Korean
Mali merely
parlous peerless

The density value is 1.54%. The pairs make 32 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 51.6%.

baa beer
  baas beers
baa bier
  baas biers
baa'd beard
char cheer
  cahrred cheered
  charring cheering
  chars cheers 
far fear
farce fierce
guard geared 
jar jeer
  jarred jeered
  jarring jeering
  jarringly jeeringly
  jars jeers
Koran Korean
  Korans Koreans
lard leered
larn lien
  larns liens	
ma mere
  mas meres  
mar mere
  mars meres	
Mali merely
pa peer
  pas peers
pa pier
  pas piers    
par peer   	
  parred peered
  parring peering
  pars peers
parr peer
  parrs peers
parr pier
  parrs piers    
parlous peerless
pass pierce
  passed pierced
  passes pierces
  passing piercing
R ear
  R's ears
rah rhea
shah shear
  shahs shears
shah sheer  
shard sheared
spar spear
  sparred speared
  sparring spearing
  spars spears
star steer
  starred steered
  starring steering
  stars steers
tar tear
  tars tears
vase veers

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2009