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Thread: ai vs oi

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    #1

    ai vs oi

    I have a brummy lilt and my friend who studies linguistics has pointed out that when I say 'i' (as in high) it sounds a bit like oi (as in loit). I find it almost physically impossible to change the way I am saying this. i am wondering if anybody knew what the physical mechanics for proper pronunciation for this vowel was.

    I am also told that when I say 'a' (as in ray) it sounds a bit like 'I' as I already pronounce it. 'ee' (as in tweet) also sounds more like 'ay', for example university will often sound universitay.

    The alphabet when I speak it sounds a bit like: oi, bay, say, day, ay, etc. rather than A, B, C, D, etc.

    People often have a hard time understanding me (especially foreigners) because my accent is so thick so it is not as if I am just trying to adjust my voice out of self-consciousness or anything. If people could understand me I wouldn't mind.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: ai vs oi

    Quote Originally Posted by JHA91 View Post
    I have a brummy lilt and my friend who studies linguistics has pointed out that when I say 'i' (as in high) it sounds a bit like oi (as in loit). I find it almost physically impossible to change the way I am saying this. i am wondering if anybody knew what the physical mechanics for proper pronunciation for this vowel was.
    From your descriription, it sounds like more than a lilt to me. Your 'oi' pronunciation if the vowel in 'high' is the natural pronunciation in your variety of English. If you just attempt to change one or two vowel/diphthong sounds, you will sound very unnatural, both to brummies and to speakers of RP.

    Unless you feel that your accent is holding you back socially or professionally, then I suggest that you think carefully before attempting to change it. Some people can quickly change their accents with little effort; others never manage it despite months of work and, possibly, spending a lot of money on an elecutionist. There is also the risk of alienating friends, who may feel that you are putting on airs.

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