I have come to the sudden realization that I don't pronounce all "-ire" words alike. Some have (ajr), with the same long diphthong I ordinarily have before voiced codas, as in "hide" (hajd), and some have (Vjr), with the short diphthong I usually have before voiceless codas, as in "height" (hVjt). There's even a minimal pair between the two "-ire"s, which I'll get to in a moment.
But the thing is, I don't seem to regard them as separate phonemes on the conscious level. A word from one class is a perfect rhyme, for me, with a word from the other class; and moreover I'm not even aware of which "-ire" I use in a given word: to arrive at the list below, I had to say each word aloud and listen to myself. Most of them sounded "odd" (if not "wrong") if said the other way (especially the (ajr) ones if said with (Vjr)), but I'm not conscious of there being two different vowels here such that one is in some words and another is in others.
A.u.e: Does anyone else have these two different "-ire"s? Consciously or unconsciously? With the same distribution as mine or different?

Sci.lang: Same question as a.u.e, plus: How should this be analyzed, given that it's a difference I'm not conscious of? Different underlying vowels, which I just never noticed before? Same underlying vowels, different syllable structure? Or what?
These are some sample words for each class:
(Vjr):
fire, tire (on a wheel), admire, (a>in>per)spire, expire, hire, (in>ac>re)quire, retire, sapphire, attire, desire
(ajr):
dire, ire, lyre, mire, shire, spire, squire, choir, sire, tire ('make weary'), wire
The more I think about it the less certain I get about many of them. "Admire" and "desire" seem to be the most volatile; they're also the only ones in the (Vjr) class with voiced onsets. Most of the ones in the (ajr) class are "learned words" in one way or another for me, but "wire" isn't and I can't say (wVjr).
-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
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A.u.e: Does anyone else have these two different "-ire"s? Consciously or unconsciously? With the same distribution as mine or different?

Yep, there definitely is a subtle difference for me - and I'm completely non-rhotic. The default pitch for your former class (fire, tyre) is higher than for the latter (dire, choir). The former starts high and goes down on the schwa, the latter does either the reverse or has no noticeable pitch change. I don't think I have your minimal pair difference though. All "-tire" words are the same, as is "tyre".
I have come to the sudden realization that I don't pronounce all "-ire" words alike. Some have (ajr), with the ... in one way or another for me, but "wire" isn't and I can't say (wVjr). -Aaron J. Dinkin Dr. Whom

I pronounce them all in the same way. But I have heard others pronounce them differently, as you say. Fi-uhr, with a schwa. But no one says di-uhr.
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(Vjr): fire, tire (on a wheel), admire, (a>in>per)spire, expire, hire, ... and I can't say (wVjr). -Aaron J. Dinkin Dr. Whom

I pronounce them all in the same way. But I have heard others pronounce them differently, as you say. Fi-uhr, with a schwa. But no one says di-uhr.

No one?
I don't have Aaron's distinction.

Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
(Vjr): fire, tire (on a wheel), admire, (a>in>per)spire, expire, hire, ... and I can't say (wVjr). -Aaron J. Dinkin Dr. Whom

I pronounce them all in the same way. But I have heard others pronounce them differently, as you say. Fi-uhr, with a schwa. But no one says di-uhr.

No one?
I don't have Aaron's distinction.

Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
A.u.e: Does anyone else have these two different "-ire"s? Consciously or unconsciously? With the same distribution as mine or different?

When I come to think about it, it appears that words in your first list are slightly shorter sounds. But they're the same sound otherwise.
Sci.lang: Same question as a.u.e, plus: How should this be analyzed, given that it's a difference I'm not conscious of? Different underlying vowels, which I just never noticed before? Same underlying vowels, different syllable structure? Or what?

To me: Same underlying vowels, same phonemes (typically written /[email protected]/ or similar in BrE dictionaries), same syllable structure, just marginally different length.
These are some sample words for each class: (Vjr): fire, tire (on a wheel), admire, (a>in>per)spire, expire, hire, (in>ac>re)quire, retire, sapphire, attire, desire (ajr): dire, ire, lyre, mire, shire, spire, squire, choir, sire, tire ('make weary'), wire

lyre and choir don't end in -ire. But still, they belong in the same sound category. And where would "liar" come in your pronunciation? Just thinking about it:
- all the words in your second list are monosyllabic; most in your first list are disyllabic
- "higher" and "fryer" seems to be yet another variation, unless I'm thinking too hard by now..
Stewart.

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A.u.e: Does anyone else have these two different "-ire"s? Consciously or unconsciously? With the same distribution as mine or different?

When I come to think about it, it appears that words in your first list are slightly shorter sounds. But they're the same sound otherwise.

Is your short/long difference here the same as that you have (if you do) for /aI/ before voiceless codas? As I said, my diphthong in "fire" (before the (r)) is the same as the one I have in "height"; the one in "mire" is the same as the one I have in "hide".
Sci.lang: Same question as a.u.e, plus: How should this be ... noticed before? Same underlying vowels, different syllable structure? Or what?

To me: Same underlying vowels, same phonemes (typically written /[email protected]/ or similar in BrE dictionaries), same syllable structure, just marginally different length.

Then what causes the length difference? Most, but not all, of the short ones are disyllabic; most, but not all of the short ones have voiceless onsets; "tire" and "tire" have no other difference.
These are some sample words for each class: (Vjr): fire, ... mire, shire, spire, squire, choir, sire, tire ('make weary'), wire

lyre and choir don't end in -ire. But still, they belong in the same sound category. And where would "liar" come in your pronunciation?

All the ones with morphological boundaries between /aI/ and /R/ are in the (ajr) class for me: "liar", "higher", "fryer".. Also, anything where the spelling clearly indicates a syllable boundary between /aI/ and /R/, whether there's a morpheme boundary or note - I'm thinking mainly of names like "Meyer" here, but also "friar".
This is why I suggested syllable structure above as an explanation - it might be that that (ajr)-class words are underlying two syllables for me and the (Vjr)-class are underlyingly one: so "dire" is /daI R/ and "fire" is /faIr/. However, all the words in both classes feel like two syllables on the surface to me - if I were singing "fire" I'd give it two notes just like "fryer".
Hm. I guess I should have written (VjR) and (ajR) originally, not (Vjr) and (ajr), since (R) is ASCII IPA for a syllabic (r).

-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom

A.u.e: Does anyone else have these two different "-ire"s? Consciously or unconsciously? With the same distribution as mine or different?

When I come to think about it, it appears that words in your first list are slightly shorter sounds. But they're the same sound otherwise.

Is your short/long difference here the same as that you have (if you do) for /aI/ before voiceless codas? As I said, my diphthong in "fire" (before the (r)) is the same as the one I have in "height"; the one in "mire" is the same as the one I have in "hide".
Sci.lang: Same question as a.u.e, plus: How should this be ... noticed before? Same underlying vowels, different syllable structure? Or what?

To me: Same underlying vowels, same phonemes (typically written /[email protected]/ or similar in BrE dictionaries), same syllable structure, just marginally different length.

Then what causes the length difference? Most, but not all, of the short ones are disyllabic; most, but not all of the short ones have voiceless onsets; "tire" and "tire" have no other difference.
These are some sample words for each class: (Vjr): fire, ... mire, shire, spire, squire, choir, sire, tire ('make weary'), wire

lyre and choir don't end in -ire. But still, they belong in the same sound category. And where would "liar" come in your pronunciation?

All the ones with morphological boundaries between /aI/ and /R/ are in the (ajr) class for me: "liar", "higher", "fryer".. Also, anything where the spelling clearly indicates a syllable boundary between /aI/ and /R/, whether there's a morpheme boundary or note - I'm thinking mainly of names like "Meyer" here, but also "friar".
This is why I suggested syllable structure above as an explanation - it might be that that (ajr)-class words are underlying two syllables for me and the (Vjr)-class are underlyingly one: so "dire" is /daI R/ and "fire" is /faIr/. However, all the words in both classes feel like two syllables on the surface to me - if I were singing "fire" I'd give it two notes just like "fryer".
Hm. I guess I should have written (VjR) and (ajR) originally, not (Vjr) and (ajr), since (R) is ASCII IPA for a syllabic (r).

-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom

A.u.e: Does anyone else have these two different "-ire"s? Consciously or unconsciously? With the same distribution as mine or different?

When I come to think about it, it appears that words in your first list are slightly shorter sounds. But they're the same sound otherwise.

Is your short/long difference here the same as that you have (if you do) for /aI/ before voiceless codas? As I said, my diphthong in "fire" (before the (r)) is the same as the one I have in "height"; the one in "mire" is the same as the one I have in "hide".
Sci.lang: Same question as a.u.e, plus: How should this be ... noticed before? Same underlying vowels, different syllable structure? Or what?

To me: Same underlying vowels, same phonemes (typically written /[email protected]/ or similar in BrE dictionaries), same syllable structure, just marginally different length.

Then what causes the length difference? Most, but not all, of the short ones are disyllabic; most, but not all of the short ones have voiceless onsets; "tire" and "tire" have no other difference.
These are some sample words for each class: (Vjr): fire, ... mire, shire, spire, squire, choir, sire, tire ('make weary'), wire

lyre and choir don't end in -ire. But still, they belong in the same sound category. And where would "liar" come in your pronunciation?

All the ones with morphological boundaries between /aI/ and /R/ are in the (ajr) class for me: "liar", "higher", "fryer".. Also, anything where the spelling clearly indicates a syllable boundary between /aI/ and /R/, whether there's a morpheme boundary or note - I'm thinking mainly of names like "Meyer" here, but also "friar".
This is why I suggested syllable structure above as an explanation - it might be that that (ajr)-class words are underlying two syllables for me and the (Vjr)-class are underlyingly one: so "dire" is /daI R/ and "fire" is /faIr/. However, all the words in both classes feel like two syllables on the surface to me - if I were singing "fire" I'd give it two notes just like "fryer".
Hm. I guess I should have written (VjR) and (ajR) originally, not (Vjr) and (ajr), since (R) is ASCII IPA for a syllabic (r).

-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
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