Episode #5 [i:] vs [ɪ]

16 September 2016

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Hello, and welcome to this week’s Real English video.

I’m Darcy and this week we’ll be talking about the difference between the [ɪ] and [i:] vowels. These can be especially difficult to distinguish if your native language doesn’t have one or both of them.

Both of these vowels are pronounced with the jaw high and the tongue right behind the lower teeth. For the [ɪ] vowel it’s relaxed and shorter, however, the [i:] vowel is tense and longer, and the front of the tongue pushes forward.

Distinguishing these vowels is especially important in English because everyday words like ‘beach’ or ‘sheet’ could be confused with some less polite words if you don’t use the correct vowel.

Here are some words that differ only in this vowel. Ship, sheep. Kin, keen. Dill, deal.

And here’s a tongue twister to help you work on them. In the tongue twister, the words ‘Rick and ‘six’ have the [ɪ] vowel but the words ‘cheap’ and ‘peaches’ have the [i:] vowel.

‘Rick bought six cheap peaches’.

Make sure you work on this for at least a minute everyday and see how good you can get by next week.

Good luck and see you next Friday.