I'm looking for a text that can be used to showcase various differences in pronunciation across English accents. For example, it could include examples of the various splits/mergers (Mary/merry/mary, fern/fir/fur, cot/caught, etc.), and feature words pronounced differently by, e.g., Canadian, American, and British speakers.

I once saw such a text referenced in a comment to a question here, but, alas, I can no longer find it.

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I think the text you saw referenced was probably Comma Gets a Cure. This text has words from all of John Wells's lexical sets, which were designed to encompass variation between standard British "Received Pronunciation" and standard "General American," two of the most well-known dialects of English.

Wells's lexical sets don't include the fern/fir/fur distinction however, since both of the source dialects have merged these (they all fall in Wells's NURSE set).

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