The /əʊ/ diphthong is spelled in many ways including <oCe>, <oe>, <oa>, <ow>, <eau> in beau, and occurs in the letter name O. The /eə/ diphthong is spelled <ear>, <air> or <are>.
This is a contrast between two diphthongs with different starting positions and direction of movement. It is not a problem for any learner.
Interesting pairs include:
The density figure is 9.98%. The set makes 54 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 56.3%.
beau bare beaux bares beau bear beaux bears bow bare bows bares bow bear bows bears blow blare blowed blared blows blares bode bared bone bairn bones bairns bonus bareness chose chairs code cared cone cairn cones cairns compose compares dispose despairs doe dare does dares don't daren't floe flair floes flairs floe flare floes flares flow flair flows flairs flow flare flows flares flowed flared foe fair foes fairs foe fare foes fares glow glare glowed glared glows glares hoe hair hoes hairs hoe hare hoed hared hoes hares impose impairs known Nairn load laird loads lairds low lair lows lairs low layer lows layers mow mare mows mares O air O's airs O ere O heir O's heirs ode aired owe air owed aired owes airs owe ere owe heir owes heirs pose pairs pro prayer pros prayers prose prayers repose repairs show share showed shared shows shares snow snare snowed snared snows snares Spode spared stow stair stows stairs stow stare stowed stared stows stares though their though there those theirs toe tare toes tares tow tare toes tares woad wared woe aare woes wares woe wear woes wears
John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009