There is only 6 words ?
Only five base words, really: bear, pear, swear, tear, wear, and then words built from them like bearable and menswear and pearshaped.
I bet I can think of more words than just six.
Yes, there are a lot more but as far as I know they are all derived from these words e.g. pearshaped, bearable, unbearable, swearing, wearing, tearing, underwear.
Isn’t “pearshaped” two words?
Yes, it’s not in the Macquarie Dictionary, but it’s also not on this page.
normally Spelfabet has so many words that I haven’t thought of and I don’t even know. There are barely any words and they’re so simple surely there are more.
There are a lot more words with the SPELLING “ear” but not ones that sound like “air”. There are four ways to pronounce “ear”: as in hear, learn, bear and heart. This is the second-least common (heart and hearth are the least common).
Ummmmmmmmm this is not what I expected you’d think a professional website (dictionary) could think up more words than just 6. Build of these words people! ING ED ABLE UN add these on it’ll help trust me!
There really are only five base words with this phoneme-grapheme correspondence. I’m thinking about how to provide wordlists that account for morphology but I’m not keen to clutter up the wordlists with every possible affixed form. If you want word families, you can use a site like morewords, just google “morewords contains bear” and all the words which contain this letter sequence will come up.
No challenging words really!?!?!?!?!
This is a low-frequency phoneme-grapheme correspondence, there are some compounds and affixed versions of these words, though, such as unbearable and pearshaped. If you go to morewords and search for the base words you should get a list of all the other words with the same letter sequence, though they don’t control for phoneme-grapheme correspondence.
Thank you! Interesting that there are so few ‘ear as in bear’ base words. I hadn’t realised!
There are more comments than words!
This is unbelievable!
Why is it unbelievable? This is a low-frequency spelling, there are only five words plus their compounded and affixed forms, as far as I know.
No, but we DO want those compounded and affixed words.
Hi LeBron, sorry, my lists don’t include all the affixed forms, I’m really just trying to cover all the lemmas. If you want the affixed forms you can use a website like Morewords to find them, for example here are all the words containing “bear” https://www.morewords.com/contains/bear
What you are doing here makes sense Alison – can’t believe how ungrateful some of these commenters are. Clearly not interested in doing the work themselves, yet expect you to do it for them for free like it is your duty.
Ah well, there are a lot worse things on the internet, so I’m not worrying about them, but thanks for your concern. Alison
Echo this – I find your site so helpful. Thanks always!
I also agree. This website is absolutely amazing and all its content is FREE for us to access. Thank you!!
What about gear?
That’s a different sound, I have the /ear/ as in ‘gear’ words listed here: https://www.spelfabet.com.au/spelling-lists/sorted-by-sound/ear/ear-as-in-hear/
Only six words
No, only five lemmas, that’s all I could find in the entire Macquarie Dictionary, it’s a very low-incidence phoneme-grapheme correspondence. You can add prefixes and suffixes to make more if you need more for an activity e.g. unbearable, tearing etc. However, when you add a vowel suffix to these words, the /r/ becomes pronounced because it’s between two vowels and they need a consonant to separate them.
your website is always helpful.
Can you elaborate on why you chose ear as in bear rather than breaking it up into /ea/ /r/ as two separate sounds? Thank you for this great website!
Yes, Australian English is non-rhotic, we don’t say final /r/ sounds, but rather say the vowels in words like ‘bear’ as /e/ plus schwa, the unstressed vowel, so it’s a diphthong in our accent. A diphthong starts in one location and moves to another, like /ae/ as in play, /ie/ as in pie, /oe/ as in boat, /ou/ as in out and /oi/ as in join. I decided to count all the diphthongs in our accent as separate sounds (the sound /ear/ as in ‘cheer’ is also a diphthong in my accent) and to count triphthongs like the vowels in fire, tour and sour as two sounds. This is linguistically a neater way to slice up a writing system for our accent than counting /air/ and /ear/ as two sounds each. Yes, it’s imperfect and our accent has strayed further from its starting point than many, but we have to teach kids to listen to and feel the sounds in their own mouths, not an arbitrary ‘correct’ pronunciation that’s based on spelling, I think. Hope that makes sense, Alison
‘Tis quite a thankless task you do, Alison, but I’m very thankful you do it!
Thank you for providing these wordlists. I use them constantly and truly appreciate all you do and your generosity in sharing them. I recommend your website to many and I always say: “ Spelfabet is second-to-none, Is always accurate and can be trusted.”
Thank you so much and may 2023 be a wonderful year for you.
Dear Jo, thanks so much for the lovely feedback! I worry that the website needs a lot of work, as I’ve had to concentrate on earning a living and family issues in the last three difficult years, and haven’t been able to update it very often, so it’s great to hear that you still find it useful. Will be trying to refresh the site in the coming month. Happy New Year! Alison
Also a big thank you from me. I like that you keep it simple and to the point. Makes it much easier to find the key information and as professionals we should also build from there. Please everyone, can we just remember that this website – unlike many others – provides free information. Thank you Alison for sharing your knowledge.
And is this UK english?
I’m not sure about all accents, but I think so.
I speak Australian English, but these words are pronounced similarly in UK English.
Thanks for your brilliant work! I tutor students with dyslexic difficulties and refer to your word lists often. Working in Scotland pronunciation here is just a wee bitty different from in Australia but your lists are still incredibly useful.
A possible addition to this list is ‘bearing’ as in ball bearings and a compass bearing of 275 degrees as in the Oxford Dictionary this is a word in its own right and not a derivative of ‘bear’.
Hi Peter, thanks for the nice feedback, glad the lists are useful despite being in the wrong accent for you. I’m not 100% convinced about ‘bearing’ not being derived from the verb “to bear”, despite the Oxford Dictionary, as people do still say “we need to bear north”. Etymology Online says (see https://www.etymonline.com/word/bearing#etymonline_v_8206) “mid-13c., “a carrying of oneself, deportment,” verbal noun from bear (v.). The meaning “direction or point of the compass in which an object is seen or is moving” is from 1630s; to take (one’s) bearings is from 1711. The mechanical sense of “part of a machine that ‘bears’ the friction” is from 1791.” So maybe the Oxford Dictionary draws the morphological line after 1791, but I’m worrying that adding ‘bearing’ as a separate lexeme might open the floodgates and have people emailing me saying “what about bearable?” etc.
Isn’t chair one too?
Same sound, different spelling, that list is here: https://www.spelfabet.com.au/spelling-lists/sorted-by-sound/air/air-as-in-hair/
Also thank you for your awesome lists!
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