Vowels 4 and 18, // versus /ɪə/    24 pairs      [badbeard.html]

The // vowel is spelled <a> followed by two consonants or by one consonant in a monosyllable. The /ɪə/ diphthong is spelled <ear>, <eer>, and <er> in the words hero and peri.

This contrast is between a short vowel and a diphthong with the sounds well separated in the mouth, so it should not cause any problems.

There is one pair involving a mildly taboo word: phallus/fearless.

Interesting pairs include:

barrier beerier
harrow hero

The density value is low at 0.56%. The pairs make 22 semantic contrasts, giving a high loading of 91.7%.

as ears
bad beard
barrier beerier
Barry beery
cache kirsch
Chad cheered
Chas Cheers
clad cleared
dally dearly
fad feared
gad geared
harrow hero
  harrows heroes
has hears
jazz jeers
lad leered
pad peered
parry peri
  parries peris
parry peri
phallus fearless 
rally really
sad seared
shad sheared

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2009