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

/klɪər/

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

/klɪ/

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

  • Wouldn't the usual (English) UK pronunciation be non-rhotic /klɪə/? Also, from what I understand, the monophthongal pronunciation is long, like /klɪː/. – sumelic 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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