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English Sounds and Spelling (#4), by Dennis Oliver

English Sounds and Spelling #4:

 

The symbols / iy / and / I / show the English vowel sounds
in the words beat (or beet) and bit. These vowels have
very similar pronunciation: both are made with the tongue
high at the front of the mouth. For the / iy / sound, however,
the tongue is tense and for / I / it is more relaxed. Also, / iy /
is longer than / I /. Although the sounds of these vowels
often seem very similar or even the same to many learners
of English, native English speakers hear them as completely
different sounds.

There are many pairs of words that are different only in
whether / iy / or / I / is used. Here are some examples:


/
iy /
 


/
I /
     

bean
bead
beat (beet)
breeches
 

 bin
bid
bit
britches
     

cheek
cheat
cheap (cheep)
creel
 

chick
chit
chip
krill
     

deed
deal
deem
dean
 

did
dill
dim
din
     

each
eel
ease
eat
 

 itch
ill
is
it
     

feel
fees
fleet
freeze (frees, frieze)
 

fill
fizz
flit
frizz
     

greed
green
greet
 

grid
grin
grit
     

heed (he'd)
heel (he'll)
heat
he's
 

hid
hill
hit
his
     

keyed
keel
keen
 

kid
kill
kin
     

lead (V)
leak
leap
least (leased)
 

lid
lick
lip
list
     

meal
meet (meat, mete)
 

mill
mitt
     

kneel (Neal)
neat
 

nil
knit
     

peak (peek, pique)
peel (peal)
peat (Pete)
peach
 

pick
pill
pit
pitch
     

reach
reek (wreak)
real (reel)
ream
 

 rich
Rick
rill
rim
     

seek
seal
seen (scene)
seat
 

sick
sill
sin
sit
     

scream
sheen
sheep
sleep
sleet
steel
 

scrim
shin
ship
slip
slit
still
     

teak
teal
team
teen
 

tick
till ('til)
Tim
tin
     

weak (week)
wean
wheat
wheeze
 

wick
win
whit
whiz
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