Vowels 1 and 11, /i/ and /з/: 298 pairs    [weekwork.html]

The spellings of /i/, as well as the common <ee> and <ea>, here include the unusual <eo> in people and <ei> in conceit. We also see <i> in the proper name Tina. /з/ is normally spelled <ur> or <ir>, and we also see <er> in sterling, <our> in journey, <or> in world, and <ear> in earl.

A few learners may have problems, though in general the difference in tongue height is enough to keep these two vowels clearly distinguished.

Two mildly taboo word pairs are pee/purr and wee/whir.

Interesting pairs include:

femur firmer
fever fervour
people purple
seaman sermon
stealing sterling
Tina Turner
unfeeling unfurling
The density value is 6.4%. The 298 pairs make 160 semantic contrasts, giving a semantic loading of 54%.
B bur
  B's burs
B burr
  B's burrs
be bur
be burr
beach birch
  beached birched
  beaches birches
  beaching birching
bead bird
  beads birds
beagle burgle
  beagles burgles
  beagling burgling
beak burke
  beaks burkes
bean Bern 
bean burn
  beans burns
beano Brno 
beast burst
  beasts bursts
beat Bert 
beaten burton
bee bur
  bees burs
bee burr
  bees burrs
beech birch
  beeches birches
been Bern
been burn
beep burp
  beeps burps
beet Bert
Beith berth
Beith birth
bleat blurt
  bleated blurted
  bleating blurting
  bleats blurts
bleed blurred
C sir
C's sirs
cede surd
cedes surds
Celia surlier
cheap chirp
cheep chirp
  cheeped chirped
  cheeping chirping
  cheeps chirps
chic shirk
conceit concert
  conceited concerted
  conceits concerts
conceive conserve
  conceived conserved
  conceives conserves
  conceiving conserving
Dives divers
E err
  E's errs
E ugh
ease errs
eel earl 
  eels earls 
e'en earn
e'en urn
eke irk
  eked irked
  ekes irks
  eking irking
Ely early
feast first
  feasts firsts
fee fir
  fees firs
fee fur
  fees furs
fees furze
feel furl
  feeling furling
  feels furls
femur firmer
fever fervour 
field furled
fleet flirt
  fleeting flirting
  fleets flirts
genie journey
  genies journeys
he her
heal hurl
  healed hurled
  healing hurling
  heals hurls
heat hurt
  heating hurting
  heats hurts
heats hertz
heed heard
heed herd
  heeded herded
  heeding herding
  heeds herds
heel hurl
  heeled hurled
  heeling hurling
  heels hurls
Jeanie journey
keel curl 
  keeled curled 
  keeling curling 
  keels curls 
key cur
  keys curs 
keyed curd 
leach lurch
  leached lurched
  leaches lurches
  leaching lurching
leak lurk
  leaked lurked
  leaking lurking
  leaks lurks
lean learn
  leaned learned
  leaner learner
  leaning learning
  leans learns
leech lurch
  leeches lurches
leek lurk
  leeks lurks
me myrrh
Meath mirth
meek murk
mi myrrh
Nice nurse
niece nurse
  nieces nurses
OT hauteur
P per
P purr
  P's purrs
pea per
pea purr
peace purse
peach perch
  peached perched
  peaches perches
  peaching perching
peak perk
  peaked perked
  peaking perking
  peaks perks
peaky perky
  peakier perkier
  peakiest perkiest
peal pearl
  pealed pearled
  pealing pearling
  peals pearls
peal purl
  pealed purled
  pealing purling
  peals purls
peas purrs
pease purrs
peat pert
pee per
pee purr
  peed purred
  pees purrs
peek perk
  peeked perked
  peeking perking
  peeks perks
peel pearl
  peeled pearled
  peeling pearling
  peels pearls
peel purl
  peeled purled
  peeling purling
  peels purls
peke perk
  pekes perks
Peking perking
people purple
  peoples purples
Pete pert
piece purse
  pieced pursed
  pieces purses
  piecing pursing
pique perk 
  piqued perked 
  piques perks 
  piquing perking 
quay cur
  quays curs
queen quern
  queens querns
sea sir
  seas sirs
seaman sermon
seamen sermon
seat cert 
  seats certs
see sir
  sees sirs
seed surd
  seeds surds
seeker circa
seize sirs
semen sermon
sheet shirt
  sheeting shirting
  sheets shirts
siege serge
siege surge
  sieges surges
skeet skirt
  skeets skirts
speed spurred
stealing sterling
stealing Stirling
steed stirred
steeling sterling
steeling Stirling
teak Turk 
team term
  teamed termed
  teaming terming
  teams terms
teed turd
teem term
  teemed termed
  teeming terming
  teems terms
teen tern
  teens terns
teen turn
  teens turns
teeny tourney
theme therm
  themes therms
Tina turner
twee 'twere
unfeeling unfurling
venal vernal
Vigo Virgo
we were
we whir
weak work
  weaker worker
weal whirl
  weals whirls
weal whorl
  weals whorls
weald whirled
weald whorled
weald world
  wealds worlds
wee were
wee whir
  wees whirs
weed whirred
weed word
  weeded worded
  weeding wording
  weeds words
weedy wordy
  weedier wordier
  weediest wordiest
week work
  weeks works
weekday workday
  weekdays workdays
wheat wert 
wheel whirl
  wheeling whirling
  wheeled whirled
  wheels whirls
wheel whorl
  wheeled whorled
  wheels whorls
wheeled world
wheeze whirrs
wheeze whirs
wield whirled
wield whorled
wield world
  wields worlds
ye year

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, January 2011.