IPA phoneme /iː/
In English, both in Received Pronunciation and in General American, the IPA phonetic symbol /iː/ corresponds to the vowel sound in words like "fleece", "tree" and "seat". Sometimes the triangular colon /ː/ is replaced by a normal colon, as in /i:/. Most American dictionaries don't write the triangular colon at all: fleece /flis/.
This phoneme is informally called “long E”.
Some common words which practice this pronunciation include the following:
- with "e": appreciate, equal, even, evening, evil, female, frequent, immediately, legal, meter, BrE, previous, procedure, recent, region, secret, senior, sequence, species, vehicle
- final "e": be - he - me - she - we
- With magic e: athlete - compete - complete - concrete - delete - extreme - gene - scene - scheme - theme - these
- with "ea": beach - bead - beat - bleach - breathe - cheat - clean - cream - creature - deal - dream - each - easy - eat - feature - heal - heat - increase - jeans - lead (verb) - leader - leaf - lean - leave - meal - mean - meat - pea - peach - peak - please - reach - read - repeat - reason - reveal - scream - sea - seal - seat - steal - steam - stream - teach - team - treat - weak - weasel
- with "ee": agree - between - deep - degree - fee - feed - feel - fifteen - free - green - indeed - keep - meet - need - proceed - screen - see - seed - seek - seem - sheet - sleep - speech - speed - street - succeed - sweet - three - tree - week
- with "ei": ceiling - conceive - deceive - AmE - perceive - receipt - receive
- with "ie": achieve - belief - believe - brief - chief - field - niece - piece - relief - skied
- with "i": gasoline - machine - magazine - police - routine - sardine - technique - vaccine
- others: key - people - ski - suite
For unstressed final /iː/ (happy, coffee, money, recipe, taxi, zombie) see Pronunciation exercises: /ɪ/ vs /iː/ § Unstressed syllable. See the same section for unstressed /iː/ before a vowel (as in associate or curious).
Less common words
- with "e": anesthesia - cathedral - decent - Egypt - genius - Indonesia - ingredient - intermediate - Korea - leverBrE - Norwegian - obedient - obesity - Peter - Steven - strategic - Sweden - Swedish - thesis - Venus
- With magic e: supreme
- with "ea": New Zealand
- with "ee": eel - Greece
- with "ie": grief - shield - thief
- with "i": Argentina - Christine - Costa Rica - kiwi - literAmE - litreBrE - Puerto Rico
- with "oe" or "e": amoeba/amebaAmE - foetusBrE/fetus - oedemaBrE/edemaAmE - Oedipus - oenologyBrE/enologyAmE - oesophagusBrE/esophagusAmE - subpoena /səˈpiːnə/
- bee - B; feat - feet; genes - jeans; heal - heel; meat - meet; pea - pee - P; peace - piece; sea - see - C; scene - seen; steal - steel; suite - sweet; tea - tee - T; weak - week; we'll - wheel;
- feel - deal; free - sea - me - ski - B; niece - increase - Greece
These words don't rhyme
- fever - never; fiend - friend; leader - header; leaf - deaf; police - service - advice; skied - died;
Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1
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.
While /iː/ is similar to the Spanish letter "i", it is actually much longer, and some Spanish speakers may have difficulty distinguishing between the vowel sound in "seen" and that of /ɪ/, as in "sin", which is shorter than the Spanish "i".
A problem much easier to correct is when students pronounce below their level of English. In words that are similar to Spanish, many people are confused by the spelling. The may pronounce "region" (Spanish región) as * or "obesity" (Spanish obesidad) as *. Any attempt at /iː/ they make will be much better than pronouncing /e/. See Decoding and spelling exercises: /e/ vs /iː/.
- Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary. See for example various.
- Geoff Lindsey, The British English vowel system, 8 March 2012.