The i: Sound (/i:/ Phoneme)

This is the i: sound. As in the words:

  • be /biː/
  • me /miː/
  • need /niːd/

i: sound

It is a Vowel sound and its technical name is the ‘Close Front Unrounded Vowel’.

How to Pronounce the i: Sound

Remember that the key to pronunciation s physical and the name tells us about how the sound is made physically. In this case your tongue is high and at the front of your mouth. The word ‘Unrounded’ refers to your lips because they are stretched out as if you are smiling and not rounded.
All vowels are made through the mouth and are voiced so you vibrate your vocal chords to make the sound.
It is similar to the /ɪ/ sound, but the two little dots mean that it is a longer sounds.
/i:/ not /ɪ/.

To produce the sound put your tongue high and at the front of your mouth and stretch out your lips, then make a long voiced sound.

How the i: Sound is Spelled

The i: sound is normally spelled with the letter ‘e’ or e-e’ as in the words:

  • three /θriː/
  • see /siː/
  • these /ðiːz/

But it can also be spelled with the letters ‘e-a’. As in the words:

  • leave /liːv/

Examples of the i: Sound

Here are some words that start with the /i:/ sound:

  • each /iːtʆ/
  • easy /ˈiːzi/
  • eat /iːt/
  • east /iːst/

Here are some words that have the sound in the middle:

  • feel /fiːl/
  • keep /kiːp/
  • seem /siːm/
  • between /bɪ’twiːn/

Here are some words with the /i:/ at the end:

  • he /hiː/
  • she /ʆiː/
  • we /wiː/
  • free /friː/

So that is it for the i: 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 phonetic chart.

3 Responses to “The i: Sound (/i:/ Phoneme)”

  1. Jos February 18, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    What about the end sound of the word “Cloudy”. Here the phonetic dictionary write it as /i/ and no /I/ or /i:/. Does this mean that it is like /i:/ but shorter?

  2. Jamal December 19, 2016 at 4:32 am #

    I can add digraph of ie as in siege.

    • Colin December 21, 2016 at 11:51 am #

      I am not sure I understand your comment. ‘ie’ is a digraph in the word ‘siege’. A digraph is two letters that make a single sound. In this case ‘ie’ = /i:/

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