IPA phoneme /ɪ/

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ɪ

kit /kɪt/

In English, both in Received Pronunciation and in General American, the IPA phonetic symbol /ɪ/ corresponds to the vowel sound in words like "kit" and "English". It is one of the two vowel sounds we use in English for unstressed syllables, the other one being /ə/.[1]

In some dictionaries the vowel of KIT is written /i/. There is no confusion as long as the user knows the symbol for /iː/ (the vowel of FLEECE).

Notation KIT FLEECE
Standard British notation (including this website) ɪ
American notation ɪ i
Reduced symbol set i i:
SAMPA I i


Stressed /ɪ/[edit]

  • with "i": begin - big - bit - bring - chips - did - different - finish - fish - fit - give - hip - hit - interest - issue - kill - kiss - link - lip - liquid - little - quick - since - sing - sit - thick - thin - thing - think - this - will - win - with
  • with "y": crystal - physics - syllable - sympathy - system - typical

Spelling[edit]

Stressed /ɪ/ is always followed by one or more consonants. In derived words a single consonant is usually doubled (begin, beginning; win, winner).

"i" or "y" followed by a single consonant "i" or "y" followed by a double consonant "i" or "y" followed by two or more different consonants
/ɪ/ city, finish, liquid
cylinder, physics, typical
beginning, different, little
syllable, symmetry
children, interest, history
crystal, symptom, system
/aɪ/ final, item, tiny
dynamite, hygiene, xylophone
  binder, design, title
cycle, hybrid, hydrogen

Spelling anomalies[edit]

  • with "e": England - English - pretty
  • with "u": business - busy
  • with "ui": build - built
  • with "o": women

/ɪ/ followed by /r/[edit]

Both in Received Pronunciation and in General American when /ɪ/ is followed by /r/ in the same syllable, a diphthong is pronounced: IPA phoneme /ɪə/. Near is [nɪər].

In Received Pronunciation but not in General American there is a difference between /ɪər/ and /ɪr/ when these sequences are followed by a vowel: nearer is [ˈnɪərər]BrE and mirror is [ˈmɪrər].BrE In General American there is no difference: some people pronounce [ˈnɪərər] and [ˈmɪərər] and others [ˈnɪrər] and [ˈmɪrər]. Since the difference between [ɪər]AmE and [ɪr]AmE is predictable, phoneticians say that in American English there is no phoneme /ɪə/, only phoneme /ɪ/.

These words don't rhyme[edit]

  • limb - climb; rescind - remind; pretty - petty;

Unstressed /ɪ/[edit]

happy /ˈhæpiː/
or /ˈhæpɪ/

  • with "i": benefit - finish - important - include - liquid - music - office - practice - president - public - service - visit - without
-ing forms: eating - going - having - living - saying - singing
  • with "e": become - begin - believe - demand - emotion - report - result
  • with "y": homonym - synthetic
  • with "a": spinach
with "'-age": average - mortgage - package - percentage - village
church’s - Dennis’s - fish’s - Leeds’s

For unstressed final /ɪ/ (happy, coffee, money, recipe, taxi, zombie) see Pronunciation exercises: /ɪ/ vs /iː/ § Unstressed syllable

Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1[edit]

Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following section aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.

Spanish[edit]

The Spanish sound represented by the spelling "i" is similar to /iː/ but shorter, and also similar to /ɪ/ but longer (and of a different quality). Most Spanish speakers have difficulty distinguishing between the vowel sound in "sin" and that of "seen".

References[edit]

  1. Giegerich, Heinz J. (1992) English Phonology: An Introduction, p. 69. Cambridge University Press At Google Books
  2. Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary, conjugal

See also[edit]

External links[edit]