English Pronunciation Podcast 3

Podcast 3: Recognizing and Using the Vowel /I/

by Charles Becker


Recognizing and Using the Vowel /I/:

Today’s podcast teaches you how to recognize the vowel / I / by its spelling and shows you how to use this vowel to make your accent sound more like an American’s..

In today’s podcast, we’re going to continue to learn and practice the very important vowel /I/.

*I strongly recommend that you listen to podcast #2 (Vowels/ i/ and / I / ) before this one!

The focus of today’s lesson is:

  • learning how to recognize / I / by its spelling
  • learning the most common spelling patterns and the exceptions
  • Using / I / in contractions to make your accent sound more like a native speaker’s

One of the most challenging aspects of English pronunciation is that one vowel can have a few different spellings, so it’s important to learn the most common spelling patterns of a vowel, as well as the exceptions. Learning these will make your pronunciation much more accurate and will make it easier to determine the pronunciation of a word.

The most common spelling pattern of / I /:
<i>+< consonant or two consonants>. :    We find this spelling pattern in a lot of grammar or function (structure) words.
For example: “is”,
pronouns: it, him, his
demonstratives: this
helping verbs: did, been
suffix <ing>:
Present continuous tense: I’m speaking. You’re listening.
Gerunds. Cooking for friends is fun.

These types of words are some of the most common and frequently used words, so pronouncing them correctly is a great way to improve your accent.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words containing / I / spelled with <i+consonant>:


Exceptions:police… machine

Spelling pattern #2 /I/ spelled <y>(less common):

Exercise : Listen and repeat the following words containing /I/ spelled <y>

system… physics…rhythm…syllable…mystery….

Important Exceptions: strange spellings of / I / .
Looking at these words, you would never guess they were pronounced / I /, so it’s important to memorize them. :

/Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words which contain /I/:

busy…business… build… guilt… guitar… been… pretty… English… England… women.. .Mrs. …Ms. …

“Why are there so many exceptions in English ??

In your native language, the way the word is written is almost always the way it’s pronounced. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in Engilsh.
English is a mix of various languages and this resulted in the some of the strange spelling patterns that we learned today. One of the best ways to memorize these strange spellings is to practice them.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following sentences which contain words with exceptional spellings of /I/
He’s been pretty busy lately.
Mrs. Smith was found guilty.
He built a guitar.

Using /I// in contractions :

One of the best ways to make your speech sound more like a native speaker is to use contractions. A contractions is a short form of two words:

For example: A native speaker will say “he’ll come” /hIl/ (instead of: He will come. )
Native speakers only use the full form for emphasis or for extra clarity.

Contracted forms of will which contain /I/ :

  • he’ll = he will
  • She’ll= she will
  • it’ll =it will
  • there’ll=there will
  • that’ll = that will
  • this’ll = this will

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following sentences which contain the contracted form of will:

He’ll call you.
She’ll be there.
It’ll be sunny.
We’ll meet you at seven.
This’ll be my first time.
There’ll be wine at the party.

The more you practice and repeat the exercises, the more you’ll develop muscle memory– -the ability to so something without thinking- automatically.
Think of dancers, athletes and musicians- how do they get so good at what they do? Practice, repetition- training.
They practice their routines until it becomes automatic habit, muscle memory. The same is true for accent reduction and English pronunciation !

Looking for more practice? Try Best Accent Training mp3s!

Any questions, comments or suggestions ?
Contact us at: contact@englishpronunciationpod.com

Thank you and see you next time!