The /æ/ vowel is spelled <a> followed by two consonants or by one consonant in a monosyllable. The /eə/ diphthong is spelled <air>, <are>, and <er> in the place name Termi.
This contrast is between a short vowel and a diphthong, but the starting positions are fairly close so confusions are possible, though not associated with particular nationality.
Interesting pairs include:
The density value is 3.43%. The pairs make 26 semantic contrasts, giving a high loading of 78.8%.
ad aired Alice airless as airs bad bared bally barely ban bairn bans bairns cad cared callous careless callously carelessly callousness carelessness can cairn cans cairns Chad chaired Chas chairs dad dared fad fared farrow Pharaoh farrows Pharaohs glad glared had hared harrier hairier Harry hairy has hairs lad laird lads lairds marry Mary pad paired rabbit rarebit rabbits rarebits rally rarely shad shared tammy Termi
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, November 2009