aɪ Sound: How to Pronounce the aɪ Diphthong (/aɪ/ Phoneme)

This is the aɪ sound, as in the words:

  • I /aɪ/
  • by /baɪ/
  • time /taɪm/


How to Pronounce the aɪ Sound

aɪ sound

/aɪ/ is a diphthong sound which means it is a combination of two vowel sounds that are pronounced within the same syllable.

The /aɪ/ sound is a combination of /æ/ and /ɪ/ or /i:/. Like vowels the diphthongs are all made through the mouth and are voiced which means that you vibrate you vocal chords to make the sound.

Unlike with vowels and consonants, when you pronounce a diphthong sound, your mouth will change position and shape as you say the sound, because they combine two vowel sounds.
So as you say the /aɪ/ sound your mouth will start on the position of the /æ/ sound and then it will close a little and your pipe become more stretched out as you finish on the position of the /ɪ/ or /i:/ sound.

How the aɪ sound is Spelled

One of the most difficult things about learning English is the spelling. This is because spelling is often not phonetic especially the vowels and diphthongs. So you will find the /aɪ/ sound spelled many different ways. But it is often spelled with the letters “I” or “y”, as in the words:

  • life /laɪf/
  • my /maɪ/
  • find /faɪnd/
  • buy /baɪ/

Examples of the aɪ sound

Here are some words that start with the /aɪ/ sound.

  • idea /ˈaɪðә/
  • either /ˈaɪðә/
  • item /ˈaɪtәm/

Here are some words with the /aɪ/ sound in the middle.

  • child /tʆaɪld/
  • while /waɪl/
  • might /maɪt/
  • five /faɪv/

Here are some words with the /aɪ/ sound at the end.

  • try /traɪ/
  • high /haɪ/
  • why /waɪ/
  • guy /gaɪ/

So thats it for the aɪ sound but we have made additional videos on each of the groups of sounds Vowels, Diphthongs, Single Consonants, or Consonant Pairs as well as a video explaining the the phonetic chart.


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