So-called “long i”

From Teflpedia


fire /faɪər/

price /praɪs/

The so-called “long i” sound is an informal term that means the long sound of the letter i which is IPA phoneme /aɪ/.

Examples: night - kind - sign

When studying magic e two different sequences of sounds are called “long i”:

For /aɪə/ instead of “long i sound” it's better to say “long i spelling”.

In the case of i as /aɪ/ it is said that the letter “says its name”. In the case of five or kite it is said that the magic e “makes the letter say its name”

The term “long i” should only be used when the spelling is actually “i”. It's confusing to say "fly is pronounced with long i". If this sentence had to be spoken it would be better to say "fly is pronounced with the PRICE vowel". Alternatively it could be said "fly is pronounced with the long sound of the letter i".

The term “long i” is not recommended because /aɪ/ and /aɪə/ are not identical; and because the opposition between /aɪ/ (or /aɪə/) and /ɪ/ (“short i”) is not only a difference in length, but mainly a difference in quality.

Common words[edit]

  • with magic e: bike, fine, life, like, line, provide, time, while, wise, write
  • ending with igh: high, sigh
  • ending in consonants: behind, bind, blind, child, climb, find, grind, I, I'll, I'm, I've, kind, mild, mind, pint, remind, rewind, wild
  • with igh: bright, fight, flight, high, knight, light, might, night, right, sight, slightly, tight
  • in other positions: bible, final, icon, idea, ideal, idol, item, library, miner, minor, pilot

“Long i” in combinations[edit]

When a combination of i and another vowel letter has the sound /aɪ/ it is said that it has the “long i” sound.

  • "ie": die, lie, pie, tie

See also[edit]

“Short” “Long” Long rhotic monophthong
“Short” vowel spelling
Rhotic diphthong
“Long” vowel spelling
Short monophtong
A /æ/ trap /eɪ/ face /ɑː/ start /eə/ square /æ/ carry
E /e/ dress /iː/ we /ɜː/ term /ɪə/ here /e/ cherry
I /ɪ/ kit /aɪ/ price /ɜː/ girl /aɪə/ fire /ɪ/ mirror
O /ɒ/ lot /əʊ/ hope /ɔː/ north /ɔː/ store /ɒ,BrE ɔːAmE/ torrid
U /ʌ/ strut /juː/ cute /ɜː/ nurse /jʊə/ cure /ʌ,BrE ɜːAmE/ hurry