Vowel /3/ versus null, 20 pairs     [irking.html]

The /3/ sound is spelled with <er>, <ir> or <eur>.

The /3/ sound is usually stressed, which means that removing it rarely leaves a free-standing word. The few cases identified are perhaps not truly minimal since they involve promoting an unstressed syllable so that it carries stress.

The density value is 0.6%. The set makes 17 semantic distinctions, giving a loading of 85%.

asperse asps	
concurring conquering
curling cling
curlew clue
  curlews clues
ergo go
erring ring
furling fling  
irking king	   
masseur mass
milieu mealy
poseur pose	   
spurring spring
stirring string
tea-urn teen
  tea-urns teens
urbane bane
urchin chin
  urchins chins

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2010.