Vowels 6 and 18, /ɒ/ versus /ɪə/    27 pairs      [wadweird.html]

The /ɒ/ vowel is spelled <o>, or <a> after <w> or <qu> in wad and quad. The /ɪə/ diphthong is spelled <ear>, <eir>, <eer>, or <ir> in the loan word kirsch. The dictionary search also found the pair proton/protean, but it is questionable whether protean contains the /ɪə/ diphthong or is a three-syllable word.

This contrast is between a short back vowel and a front centering diphthong. It is not a problem for any learners.

Interesting pairs include:

porridge peerage
quarry query
warrior wearier

The density value is small at 0.67%. The pairs make 21 semantic contrasts, giving a high loading of 77.8%.

body beardie
  bodied bearded 
clod cleared 
cosh kirsch
Dolly dearly
fosse fierce 
god geared
horror hearer 
  horrors hearers 
Molly merely
nod neared 
oz ears 
pod peered 
porridge peerage 
proton protean 
quad queered
quarry query
  quarried queried
  quarries queries
  quarrying querying
rod reared
shod sheared 
wad weird
wadi weirdie
  wadis weirdies
warrior wearier
was weirs

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2009