Usually in BrE words like clear, fere, clear, mere, etc are pronounced with a diphthong comprising an open high front vowel followed by something resembling a schwa. However, they are sometimes pronounced as a true monophthong at a position somewhat intermediate to either.

I don not use this pronunciation myself and it seems quite alien: I cannot work out the register, nor does it seem obviously regional, nor associated with RP. It doesn't seem to be an artefact of fast speech. I find see any indication of it being historical (but such things are hard to determine for a casual researcher).

Can anyone provide information on the use of this monophthong?

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    This blog entry says that /ɪə/ is being replaced by /ɪː/ in RP (and also that /eə/ is being replaced by /ɛː/). So it's not historical; it's contemporary. – Peter Shor Oct 30 '15 at 22:40
  • @Dan Sheppard - You aren't a musician per chance, are you? ... You could just write it off as "British nonsense." Just like "appl_I_cable" is American nonsense. – Ricky Oct 30 '15 at 23:26
  • I'd ruled out it being innovative as I most often hear it from announcers on Radio Three. How terribly narrow-minded of me! – Dan Sheppard Oct 30 '15 at 23:27

The usual (UK) way to pronounce clear is something like this


The OP is wondering what it says of someone if they pronounce the word


This sounds, to my ears, like a posh pronunciation - upper-class,'cut-glass'.

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  • Wouldn't the usual (English) UK pronunciation be non-rhotic /klɪə/? Also, from what I understand, the monophthongal pronunciation is long, like /klɪː/. – herisson Oct 30 '15 at 23:33
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    As it says in the blog @Peter Shor linked to: the diphthong itself is somewhat of a movable feast, as I don't reckon anyone not in-line to the throne being interviewed by Mr Cholmondley-Warner on Pathe News has pronounced it properly as /ɪə/ since about 1950: that's why I gave the vowel a narrative description, :-) . – Dan Sheppard Oct 30 '15 at 23:34
  • @sumelic - you're probably right, although there's a lot of regional variation. My part of the world (Bristol, UK) is rhotic++. We are also prone to add an 'l' to words ending with a vowel sound! – Dan Oct 30 '15 at 23:53

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