Vowels 11 and 20, /3/ versus /ʊə/     14 pairs       [perpoor.html]

The /3/ vowel is spelled with <er>, <ir>, <ear>, <ur>, and <yr> in myrrh. The /ʊə/ diphthong is spelled <our> and <oor>.

This is a contrast between a long vowel and a diphthong. The starting positions are fairly close, but there is a difference of lip-rounding, so it causes no problems for learners.

Interesting pairs include:

pearly poorly
Shirley surely

The density figure is 1.33%. The set makes 10 semantic contrasts giving a loading of 71.4%.

burn bourn
  burns bourns 
burr boor 
  burrs boors 
gird gourd
  girds gourds
myrrh Moor 
pearly poorly
per poor
Shirley surely
spur spoor 
  spurs spoors 
turd toured 
year you're

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, December 2009