British Accent Academy logo

Vowels 2 and 11, /ɪ/ versus /з/    194 pairs     

Vowel /ɪ/ is here spelled <i> in all the syllables which show the contrast. Vowel /з/ is spelled <er>, <ear>, <ir>, <ur> and <or> after <w>. There is also the special case of the German city name K´┐Żln.

The difference in length and separation in the mouth make the sounds sufficiently different to obviate any problems for learners.

The only pairs with taboo words are piss/purse and shit/shirt.

Interesting pairs include:

civics cervix
jiminy Germany

The mean density is 1%. The list makes 104 semantic contrasts, giving a loading of 54%.

bid bird
  bids birds
bidden burden
big berg 
bigger burgher
Billy Burley
bin burn
  bins burns
bitch birch
  bitched birched 
  bitches birches 
  bitching birching 
bitten burton
biz burrs
blitz blurts
chill churl
  chills churls
chin churn
  chinned churned
  chinning churning
  chins churns
chip chirp
  chipped chirped
  chipping chirping
  chips chirps
civics cervix 
civility servility
coition coercion 
Dick dirk
ditty dirty 
  ditties dirties 
emission immersion
  emissions immersions
fill furl
  filled furled
  filling furling
  fills furls
Finnish furnish
finish furnish
  finished furnished
  finishing furnishing
Finn fern
  Finns ferns
fin fern
  fins ferns
fist first
  fists firsts 
fizz firs 
flit flirt 
  flits flirts 
  flitted flirted 
  flitting flirting 
giggle gurgle
  giggled gurgled
  giggles gurgles
  giggling gurgling
gill girl
  gills girls
gym germ
  gyms germs 
hid heard 		
hid herd
hill hurl
  hills hurls
his hers 
hiss hearse 
  hisses hearses 
hit hurt
  hits hurts
  hitting hurting
id erred 
ill earl 
ills earls 
in earn 	
in urn
inn earn
  inns earns 
inn urn
  inns urns
inning earning 
  innings earnings 
is errs 
Jim germ
jiminy Germany 
kick kirk
  kicks kirks
kid curd 
  kids curds 
kill curl 
  killed curled 
  killer curler 
  killers curlers 
  killing curling 
  kills curls 
kiln Koln 
kiss curse 
  kissed cursed 
  kisses curses 
  kissing cursing 
kit curt 
kitten curtain 
  kittens curtains 
lick lurk
  licked lurked
  licking lurking
  licks lurks
lint learnt 
Lynn learn
Mick murk
Mickey murky
midge merge 
  midges merges 
Misses mercies
missy mercy 
mitten Merton 
pick perk 
  picked perked 
  picking perking 
  picks perks 
pill pearl 
  pills pearls 
piss purse
  pissed pursed
  pisses purses
  pissing pursing
pit pert 
pitch perch 
  pitched perched 
  pitches perches 
  pitching perching 
quick quirk
quin quern 
  quins querns 
shit shirt 
  shits shirts 
  shitting shirting 
sickle circle 
  sickles circles 
Sid surd
sieve serve 
  sieved served 
  sieves serves 
  sieving serving 
silly surly
  sillier surlier
  silliest surliest
  silliness surliness
skiff scurf 
skill skirl
  skills skirls
skit skirt 
  skits skirts 
skivvy scurvy 
slid slurred
spin spurn
  spinning spurning
  spins spurns
spit spurt 
  spits spurts 
  spitting spurting 
stilling Stirling 
submission submersion 
swill swirl
  swilled swirled
  swilling swirling
  swills swirls
ticks Turks 
tiff turf
tiffs turfs
Tim term
tim turn
  tinned turned
  tinning turning
  tins turns
tinny tourney
tips turps
tittle turtle
'twill twirl
twilled twirled
unbidden unburden
Viv verve
whim worm
  whims worms
whit wert 
whiz whirrs
wick work
  wicks works
wicker worker
will whirl 
  willed whirled 
  willing whirling 
  wills whirls 
withe worth
  withies worthies

Credit: John Higgins