Is there any accent that makes a distinction when pronuncing “here” and “hear”?

From Wiktionary:

  • Here

    • (UK) /hɪə(ɹ)/
    • (US) /hɪɹ/
  • Hear

    • (UK) /hɪə(ɹ)/
    • (US) IPA: /hiːɹ/

So, according to that, US accent pronounce in a different way “hear” and “here”.

According to Dictionary.com, hear and here are pronunced /hɪər/, and according to updn.com, both are /hɪr/ /hɪr/.

Having in consideration that Wiktionary can be edited by anyone, is there any place in the world that makes a difference when pronuncing these words?

  • 1
    The OED gives /hɪə(r)/ for both. Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 19:40
  • 4
    In the normal US accent, "hear" and "here" are pronounced exactly the same. Wiktionary is being confused and using two different IPA representations of the same phoneme for these two words. Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 20:24

3 Answers 3


Some parts of the South, including the part of Kentucky I grew up in, "here" gets pronounced in the UK manner with the schwa and without the 'r' (and as two syllables), while "hear" gets pronounced in the US manner without the schwa but with the 'r'.

  • 1
    That's a good example...but I'm not sure if that's -every- instance of 'here'. Can you give examples with contexts (that is, full sentences and if necessary social context).
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 20:23
  • 1
    One that sticks out in my mind from my childhood was hearing a minister (I don't remember which church) proclaim something about "all those hee-ah who wish to hear" and me wondering why he pronounced the words differently (they both parsed correctly in my head, so obviously I had the right mental context for it). Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 21:26

In standard US English they are pronounced the same. I've heard Southerners pronounce "hear" as two syllables with the "r" silent, as in, "Y'all come back now, yuh he-ah."

I'm surprised by Sean's statement of Kentuckians pronouncing "here" as two syllables but "hear" as one, because, as I say, the only dialect I've ever heard had it the other way around. But I've never lived in the South, only passed through now and then, so maybe there are multiple, mutually-confusing dialects down there. :-)

  • Och, many. And Ashland was a bit of an odd duck between butting up against both Ohio and West Virginia and also having a lot of people imported for Ashland Oil and AK Steel (now, most people coming in for Kings Daughters Medical Center). Myself, neither of my parents were originally from the area, so I grew up with something in between standard Midwestern and British received pronunciation with the occasional bit of twang. And, due to excessive reading, a vocabulary which occasionally exceeded my grasp. Commented Feb 4, 2012 at 18:49

I believe the two words have the same pronunciation according to the US English,but I've heard people in some part of Africa pronounce the two as: /hia/

  • 1
    There are also parts of Mississippi who pronounce here with two syllables as /hia/.
    – tchrist
    Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 1:48

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