I Sounds Diagram and Explanation

I Sounds

The letter I has two main sounds: the Short I in sit and the long I in light

Short I Pronunciation: This sound is very close to the simple u in up. The tongue moves forward a little bit and there is the slightest tension in the mouth. It is helpful to think of a low pitch. This makes the Short I distinct from the Long E (in many languages, an I spelling indicates a Long E sound). The Short I is also truly short, quick sound.

Long I Pronunciation: The Long I is actually a double vowel, though Americans learn it when young and forget that this is true. It is a combination of an Open A and a Long E, the sounds in father and meet respectively. These two sounds occur quickly, but the mouth opens a lot for the Open A. It is a long, clear sound. 

Short I Spelling: Most words with this sound have a simple spelling, just an I, as in big and lift. Rarely, you may see a u or ui spelling, as in busybusinessbuild or biscuit. The endings –age and –ate can also have the Short I sound–see the lessons on these sounds for more information. Two other exception words are pretty and women. These may be the only words in which E and O sound like Short I. 

Long I Spelling: This sound will have a complex spelling–silent letters near the I. Common spellings are ighi_eie and y, as in lightwhitetie and try respectively. If Y is in the middle of the word, it may be a Long I or a Short I, but it is usually Long, as in hype. Exception spellings for a Long I sound are height and guide.

Compare the 3 Short, Quick Sounds: Short E, Short I and Schwa.

Learn more about IE and EI spellings.
750 Business WordsI Sounds Main Page
* http://www.speakmethod.com is a part of I.E. Tutoring, Seattle, WA, which holds the copyright to all materials. Subscribers may print images and pages for individual use, but not for commercial use or distribution. *

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