LONG i AND SHORT i

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MaureenQC
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LONG i AND SHORT i

Post by MaureenQC » Sat Mar 19, 2016 2:59 pm

I teach ESL Conversation classes to adult learners. They know that some words have a hard "i" and some a soft "i". Once I pronounce the words for them, it is just a question of remembering. But how can they identify which pronunciation to use if they've only read it (and don't have the luxury of looking each word up in a dictionary, paper or electronic) and not heard it pronounced? Is there some rule or tip I can share with them?

I should mention that we are talking about North American pronunciation, in case there is a difference.

Thanks

knowable
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Re: LONG i AND SHORT i

Post by knowable » Sat Mar 19, 2016 7:46 pm

You will find that letters ee and ea as in word keep, neat, heat, beat, seat, knee, heal, sea, see, or heel, are realized as long vowel , which you are referring to as hard i. The letter i as in word sit kip, skip, hit, ring, sing, or bit, is realized as short vowel ɪ which you are referring to as soft i.
However, owing to the irregularity between spelling and pronunciation in English I cannot say with certainty this pattern works for all such cases.
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MaureenQC
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Re: LONG i AND SHORT i

Post by MaureenQC » Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:39 pm

I must not be expressing myself well. What I am talking about is the "i" in write, bite, etc. versus the "i" in sit, skip, etc.

How can a ESL student know which is which without previously hearing it?

Thanks

knowable
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Re: LONG i AND SHORT i

Post by knowable » Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:12 pm

The letter i as in word bite, bright, or write is represented by diphthong ai, the same sound of letter y in ‘my’.

So, one suggestion I can make here is to teach them phonics (letter/s and sound correlation) as taught to children. Because one of the methods that have been found to work for children learning to read, is to use words they know how to pronounce to determine the sound/s within a word that is new to them.
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shinesa
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Re: LONG i AND SHORT i

Post by shinesa » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:44 pm

☺ Hello Maureen,
Great question. I apologize for not responding sooner but I just joined the forum today. Here in the U. S., one-syllable words that are spelled with 3 letters have what is known as a CVC pattern--Consonant Vowel Consonant. In this instance, the vowel is always short.
Examples:
bit
kit
sit

When you add an "e" to this pattern, the vowel becomes long.
Examples:
bit becomes bite
kit becomes kite
sit becomes site

This is actually a spelling rule for a number of words fitting the CVC pattern.
Examples:
rat becomes rate; cut becomes cute

There are exceptions.

Listed below are a few resources that may be helpful. Once you review them you may find them suitable or you may recognize a way to adapt them to your needs and objectives.

http://blog.dictionary.com/spelling-rules/
http://homepage.smc.edu/reading_lab/bas ... _rules.htm
http://www.ling.upenn.edu › pri › pdfs

I sincerely hope this helps.

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