Vowels 3 and 11, /e/ versus /3/    153 pairs      [bedbird.html]

The /e/ vowel is spelled <e>, <ea> in death, exceptionally with <a> in any and says, and occurs in the letter names L, N and X. The vowel /3/ is usually spelled with <er>, <ir>, <ur>, <ear> as in dearth, <or> in word and world and <ol> in colonel.

Interesting pairs include:

descend discerned
kennel colonel
overhead overheard
secular circular

The mean density is 2.2%. The pairs make 94 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 61%.

any Ernie 
beck burke
  becks burkes
bed bird
  beds birds
beg berg
  begs bergs
beggar burgher
  beggars burghers
belly Burley 
ben Bern
ben burn
  bens burns
bend burned
  bent burnt
Benny Bernie
best burst
  besting bursting
  bests bursts
Betty Bertie 
bled blurred
death dearth 
  deaths dearths 
Debbie derby
debt dirt
Dec dirk
deck dirk
  decks dirks
descend discerned
end earned
Ed erred
edge urge
  edged urged
  edges urges
  edging urging
  edgings urgings
egg erg
  eggs ergs
ego ergo
Ellie early
feather further
  feathered furthered
  feathering furthering
  feathers furthers
fell furl
  felled furled
  felling furling
  fells furls
fellow furlough
  fellows furloughs
fem firm
fen fern
  fens ferns
ferry furry
fez firs
gem germ
  gems germs
get girt
head heard
head herd
  headed herded
  heading herding
  heads herds
held hurled
hell hurl
  hells hurls
hen Herne 
inset insert 
  insets inserts 
intend interned
Jenny journey
jennies journeys
kennel colonel
  kennels colonels 
kettle kirtle
  kettles kirtles
L earl
lecher lurcher
  lechers lurchers
Len learn
lend learned 
lens learns 
Lent learnt
L's earls
messy mercy
Messrs mercers
metal myrtle
  metals myrtles
N earn
  N's earns
ness nurse
  nesses nurses
nest nursed
nestling nurseling
overhead overheard
peck perk
  pecked perked
  pecking perking
  pecks perks
pest pursed
pet pert 
S Erse 
says sirs
seabed seabird
  seabeds seabirds
secular circular 
sedge serge
  sedges surges
sever server 
  severs servers 
sled slurred
sped spurred
spend spurned
stead stirred
steady sturdy
  steadier sturdier
  steadiest sturdiest
  steadily sturdily
  steadiness sturdiness
Sten stern
swell swirl
  swelled swirled
  swelling swirling
  swells swirls
tech Turk
  techs Turks 
ten tern
  tens terns
ten turn
  tens turns
tend turned
tenner turner
  tenners turners
Tess terse
vest versed 
wed whirred
wed word
  wedded worded
  wedding wording
  weds words
weld whirled	  
weld world
  welds worlds
well whirl
  welling whirling
  wells whirls
went weren't
west worst
wet wert 
X irks
yelling yearling 
yen yearn 
  yens yearns

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2011,
updated Chiang Mai, 2024