Vowels 18 and 20, /ɪə/ versus /ʊə/    27 pairs      [beerboor.html]

The /ɪə/ diphthong is spelled <eer> or <ear>. The /ʊə/ diphthong is spelled <ure>, <our> or <oor>.

This is a contrast between two diphthongs with widely different starting positions and a difference of lip rounding. It is not a problem for learners.

The density figure is 2.56%. The set makes 15 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 55%.

ameer amour
  ameers amours
beer boor
  beers boors
bier boor
  biers boors  
dear dour
  dearly dourly
deer dour
geared gourd
leer lure
  leered lured
  leering luring
  leers lures
mere moor 
  meres moors 
peer poor
pier poor
shear sure
sheer sure
  sheerer surer
  sheerest surest
spear spoor
  spears spoors
tear tour
  tears tours
year you're

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009
updated Chiang Mai, 2024