Diphthong /ɪə/ versus null, 53 pairs     [fakir.html]

The /ɪə/ sound is spelled with <ear>, <eer> or <ir>.

There is a problem distinguishing /ɪə/ as a diphthong, acting as a syllable nucleus from an unstressed /ɪə/ making two syllables usually in a derivation such as cheekier from cheeky. Often the decision is borderline. Is sightseer two syllables or three? I have tried to limit the search to the first type. However, since this often carries stress, there were very few cases where it could be dropped. In some cases, such as peeress/press, it could be argued that there has been a shift of stress so the pair is not minimal.

The density value is irrelevant, since the base list of words containing the sequence of sounds /ɪə/ contains far too many non-diphthongal items.

buccaneer Buchan
cashier cash   
charioteer chariot
  charioteers chariots	  
earache rake  
eardrum drum	
  eardrums drums
earmark mark
  earmarks marks
earphone phone
  earphones phones
earpiece piece
  earpieces pieces
earpiece peace
earring ring
  earings rings
earshot shot
earwax wax
earwig wig
  earwigs wigs
emir M
  emirs M's
endear end
  endears ends
engineer engine
  engineers engines
fakir fake
  fakirs fakes	
gadgeteer gadget
  gadgeteers gadgets
marketeer market
  marketeers markets    
nadir neighed
pamphleteer pamphlet
  pamphleteers pamphlets
peeress press
  peeresses presses
pierrot pro
pierrots prose
privateer private
  privateers privates
profiteer profit
  profiteers profits
racketeer racket
  racketeers rackets   
reindeer rained
reindeer reigned
reindeer reined  
sightseer sights
sightseer sites
steering string
veneer Ven.
vizier viz.                         

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2010
updated Chiang Mai, 2024