How to pronounce "Shear" and "Sheer"?

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skydown13

Senior Member
Mandarin
How to pronounce "Shear" and "Sheer"? Do you pronounce it with short I, [ʃɪr], or long i, [ʃir]? I checked several online dictionary and they all have the phonetic symbol of [ʃɪr], but I hear people pronouncing "sheer" with long i in words like "sheet" and "feet", not like short I in "shit". Can anyone explain?
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    For me they are both pronounced the same - /ʃɪər/ but, as with all vowel sounds, there will be differences through dialect and accent. I have heard both pronounced almost as /ʃɛər/
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The traditional (southern) BrE symbol for this contains the short vowel symbol, [ʃɪə], but the contemporary pronunciation for many speakers (such as me) is perhaps more like [ʃiə]. It is a diphthong, so it is neither long nor short as such, but the first part of it can resemble either vowel [ɪ] or [i:] in quality if not length. In the middle of a word there are two possibilities in BrE, with serious having the diphthong or a long [i:] and Sirius having a short [ɪ]. AmE does not make this distinction, and just has the one sound whether it's at the end of a word or in the middle - but I can't comment on the exact sound AmE speakers use.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    As others have said, it depends on the accent of the speaker. I say /ʃɪə/. As Paul has said, some people might say /ʃɛə/ (I think around Liverpool?) I'm sure some Scottish speakers might say /ʃiːr/ with the long vowel sound.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    For me they are both pronounced the same - /ʃɪər/ but, as with all vowel sounds, there will be differences through dialect and accent. I have heard both pronounced almost as /ʃɛər/
    Same here ... to the point that there is a play on words.

    For example, I go to the "Shear Delight Barber Shop."
     
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