Vowels 9 and 18, /u/ versus /ɪə/    53 pairs      [loonlien.html]

The /u/ vowel is spelled <oo>, <ew>, <u> and <o> in who. The /ɪə/ diphthong is spelled <eerCe> or <ear> and <eir> in weird.

This is a contrast between a long vowel and a diphthong, widely separated in starting position and distinguished by lip-rounding. It is not a problem for any learners.

The density figure is 1.31%. The set makes 32 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 60.4%.

boo beer
  boos beers 
boo bier
  boos biers
booze beers
booze biers  
booed beard 
chew cheer
  chews cheers 
  chewed cheered 
clew clear
  clewed cleared 
  clews clears 
clue clear
  clues clears
  clued cleared
do dear
  do's dears 
do deer
  do's deers
food feared 
gnu near
  gnus nears
Jew jeer
  Jews jeers
loon lien 
  loons liens 
lieu leer
loo leer
  loos leers 
moo mere
  moos meres 
ooze ears 
rood reared 
rue rhea 
  rues rheas
ruse rheas  
rule real 
shoe shear
  shoes shears 
shoe sheer
shoo shear
  shoos shears  
  shooed sheared
snood sneered 
snooze sneers 
too tear
two tear
  twos tears 
who's hears 
woo weir
  woos weirs 
wooed weird 

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009