Podcast 2

Podcast 2: Introduction to English Pronunciation

by Charles Becker


Vowels / i / and / I /: This podcast teaches you how to pronounce / i / and / I / accurately with special emphasis on learning how to distinguish between them.

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In today’s podcast, we’re going to learn two very important vowels in Eεnglish: the vowels/ i /and / I /.

The focus of today’s lesson is:

  • learning and practicing how to pronounce / i /
  • learning and practicing how to pronounce / I /
  • Learning how to distinguish between / i / and / I /

Many English students make the mistake of pronouncing / i / like / I / or / I / like / i / (depending on their native language.)
For example, “leave” sounds like “live” or “live” sounds like “leave”.
Did you say:    “I don’t want to leave here?” or “I don’t want to live here?”
This can be confusing to a native speaker.
We will learn to develop a clear and distinct pronunciation for / i / and / I / .

How to articulate /i/ correctly:

Tongue: high, forward and tense

lips:spread (use a mirror to check your form)

Exercise :Listen and repeat / i /.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words containing / i / :

eat… seek… least…. reach… heel… leave…

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following expressions and idioms
which contain / i /:

Please have a seat.
He‘s a real team player. (He works well in groups, unselfish, thinks of others)
Making ends meet isnt always easy. (paying the bills, covering expenses)

How to pronounce / I / correctly:
/ I / is considered one of the most difficult vowels but it is also one of the most common.
It appears in thousands and thousands of words, especially common grammar words (structure words) such as: is, him, this, in and it.
It’s also the sound we use in the suffix< ing> as in: I am speaking. He’s writing. You’re listening.

How to articulate / I / :

tongue: high, forward, center of tongue is relaxed*


* Your tongue is lower for / I / than for / i /.

If your / I / sounds too much like / i /, then you probably need to lower and relax the center of your tongue. It’s a very small difference in terms of position but a big difference in sound to a native speaker.

Exercise: Listen and repeat / I / .

Having a problem finding / I / ?

Tip: You can find / I / by moving from / i / to /ε/ as in “get” or “send”.
Start with your tongue in / i /; high, tense, and forward and gradually lower it to / E /. If you stop in the middle between / i / and / E /. You’ll find / I / .

Exercise: Try going from / i / to /ε/ on your own-

Now, try going from / i / to / I / on your own-

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


Exercise: Listen and repeat the following expressions and idioms which contain / I /:

I miss him.
Click on the link.
Give me a ring some time. (call me)
He’s going to flip his lid. (get very angry)

Developing a clear distinction between / i / and / I /

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following pairs of words:

/ i /            / I /

eat               it

seek           sick

least           list

reach           rich

heel             hill

leave           live

Hearing and pronouncing the difference often takes time, practice and a lot of patience but with practice, you will get it!
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!ε