The /aɪ/ diphthong is spelled <iCe>, <i>, <y> and <ey> in eye, besides occurring in the letter names I and Y. The /ɪə/ diphthong is spelled <ear>, <eer>, <ere> or <eir> in weir. One interesting point arises with the pairs wire/weir and wired/weird which are not strictly minimal though they would be in a rhotic accent.
This is a contrast between two diphthongs with different starting positions and different directions of movement. It is not a problem for learners.
Interesting pairs include:
The density figure is 2.01%. The set makes 47 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 58%.
arise arrears bide beard bided bearded bides beards biding bearding buy beer buys beers buy bier buys biers by beer by bier bye beer byes beers bye bier byes biers chide cheered die dear dies dears die deer dye dear dyes dears dye deer eye ear eyes ears eyeful earful eyefuls earfuls eyepiece earpiece eyepieces earpieces guide geared guy gear guys gears guyed geared hi hear hi here hie hear hies hears hie here high hear highs hears high here I ear I's ears lie leer lied leered lies leers line lien lines liens pie peer pied peered pies peers revise reveres ride reared rile real rise rears rye rear rye rhea shy shear shied sheared shies shears shy sheer snide sneered spy spear spied speared spies spears sty steer sties steers tie tear ties tears vie veer vied veered vies veers why weir why weir wide weird widely weirdly wider weirder widest weirdest wise weirs wryly really Y weir Y's weirs
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009