ɪ and i sounds

Nonverbis

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Please, have a look at the screenshot.

Screenshot from 2021-07-01 15-28-15.jpg

If is from English Pronunciation in Use by Jonathan Marks.

So, there happen to be an "i" sound at the end of words in unstressed sillables.

This is Oxford Learner's Dictionary:

https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/about/practical-english-usage/phonetic-alphabet

Well, "i" sound is not listed.

But it is used. For example in "happy":
https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/happy?q=happy

Could you tell me why it is ignored in the list of the sounds?

By the way, I can't distinguish this sound from [FONT=&quot]ɪ. And I can't reproduce [/FONT][FONT=&quot]ɪ and i so that there should be clear difference.
So, for me the sound i looks like a whim of phonetics theoreticians.

Could you comment on it?[/FONT]
 

Charlie Bernstein

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Please, have a look at the screenshot.

View attachment 4123

That is from English Pronunciation in Use by Jonathan Marks.

[STRIKE]So,[/STRIKE] There happens to be an "i" sound at the end of some words. They are unstressed syllables.

Most native English speakers call the sound a long E.


This is Oxford Learner's Dictionary:

https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/about/practical-english-usage/phonetic-alphabet

https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/happy?q=happy

The "i" sound is not listed.

But it is used. For example in "happy":
https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/happy?q=happy

Could you tell me why it is ignored in the list of the sounds?

It isn't ignored.


By the way, I can't distinguish this sound from ɪ. And I can't reproduce ɪ and i so that there is a clear difference.

Happy ends with a long E. The short I sound (this, him) doesn't exist in every language, so it can be hard to recognize and use.


So, to me the sound i looks like a whim of phonetics theoreticians.

Phonetics is not a whimsical field.


Could you comment on it?

I can't. I'm too whimsical.
I'm sure someone here who knows phonetics can explain in detail.
 

GoesStation

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I can't distinguish this sound from ɪ. And I can't reproduce ɪ and i so that there [STRIKE]should be[/STRIKE] is a clear difference.
So, for me the sound i looks like a whim of phonetics theoreticians.

Could you comment on it?
That a sound doesn't exist in Russian doesn't mean it's a "whim". The [ɪ] and sounds are easily perceived and produced by native speakers and distinguish many otherwise identical words like ship and sheep.

One day I was in a busy office in the American state of New Jersey when one of the workers, a Portuguese immigrant, held a piece of paper over her head and loudly proclaimed "I found the sh*t!" She'd produced the vulgar word for excrement instead of saying sheet. The whole staff broke out in laughter and she was very embarrassed.

You may never learn this distinction, and you can generally make yourself understood without it, but people will understand you better if you do master it. You may also avoid embarrassment.
 

Nonverbis

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That a sound doesn't exist in Russian doesn't mean it's a "whim". The [ɪ] and sounds are easily perceived and produced by native speakers and distinguish many otherwise identical words like ship and sheep.

One day I was in a busy office in the American state of New Jersey when one of the workers, a Portuguese immigrant, held a piece of paper over her head and loudly proclaimed "I found the sh*t!" She'd produced the vulgar word for excrement instead of saying sheet. The whole staff broke out in laughter and she was very embarrassed.

You may never learn this distinction, and you can generally make yourself understood without it, but people will understand you better if you do master it. You may also avoid embarrassment.



I beg your pardon, but you seem to have misunderstood me.

ship [FONT=&quot]/ʃɪp/ [/FONT]and sheep [FONT=&quot]/ʃiːp/
[/FONT]
sh*t [FONT=&quot]/ʃɪt/ and [/FONT]sheet [FONT=&quot]/ʃiːt/

You answered about [[/FONT]
ɪ[FONT=&quot]] and [i:] rather than [/FONT][FONT=&quot][[/FONT]ɪ[FONT=&quot]] and .

[/FONT]
 

5jj

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In the system of phonemic transcription used by most British writers, the /ɪ/ of kit and the /iː/ of fleece are two of the vowel phonemes. They are different in quality, hence the different symbols, and in length, hence the length symbol /[FONT=&quot]ː/[/FONT][FONT=&quot]. [/FONT]They are separate phonemes because, for example, the pairs ship/sheep, bid/bead, rim/ream, etc can be distinguished by the change of the vowel phoneme.

The sound at the end of happy is not a phoneme; there is no third word that is distinguished from ship/sheep, bid/bead, rim/ream, etc, by the use of this vowel sound. It has the quality of /iː/[FONT=&quot], [/FONT]but the length of /ɪ/ . When I first studied phonetics fifty-five years ago, the sound was represented by the symbol /ɪ/ . This was later changed to the more accurate/i/ .
 

Nonverbis

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In the system of phonemic transcription used by most British writers, the /ɪ/ of kit and the /iː/ of fleece are two of the vowel phonemes. They are different in quality, hence the different symbols, and in length, hence the length symbol /ː/. They are separate phonemes because, for example, the pairs ship/sheep, bid/bead, rim/ream, etc can be distinguished by the change of the vowel phoneme.

The sound at the end of happy is not a phoneme; there is no third word that is distinguished from ship/sheep, bid/bead, rim/ream, etc, by the use of this vowel sound. It has the quality of /iː/, but the length of /ɪ/ . When I first studied phonetics fifty-five years ago, the sound was represented by the symbol /ɪ/ . This was later changed to the more accurate/i/ .

But who can distinguish between [ɪ] and in practice? Not in a scientific article?
 

GoesStation

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I beg your pardon, but you seem to have misunderstood me.

ship /ʃɪp/ and sheep /ʃiːp/
sh*t /ʃɪt/ and sheet /ʃiːt/

You answered about [ɪ] and [i:] rather than [ɪ] and .
Sorry, I missed that. The colon tells you that vowel is longer. I'm not a phonetician, but I don't think [i:] and are distinct phonemes in English. Happy would sound a little odd with the longer vowel, but it wouldn't impede comprehension. Native speakers occasionally use the longer vowel to add emphasis; in informal writing, they'd probably spell that variant happ-ee or even happ-eeee.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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I beg your pardon, but you seem to have misunderstood me.

ship /ʃɪp/ and sheep /ʃiːp/
sh*t /ʃɪt/ and sheet /ʃiːt/

You answered about [
ɪ] and [i:] rather than [ɪ] and .


As you say.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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In the system of phonemic transcription used by most British writers, the /ɪ/ of kit and the /iː/ of fleece are two of the vowel phonemes. . . .
That's all I meant. And that those phonetic theoreticians are not a whimsical breed.

On we go.
 

5jj

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But who can distinguish between [ɪ] and in practice? Not in a scientific article?


The sounds are not uttered in a written article, scientific or otherwise.

Any person with a basic knowledge of phonetics can distinguish between the two vowel sounds. Many people with no knowledge at all of phonetics/phonology can distinguish between them once the difference is pointed out to them
 

Nonverbis

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5jj

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Ok. If the difference is that clear and easy, why do these two respectable dictionaries give us different sounds:
Because there is no clearly laid down pronunciation of the first syllable of emit. It may be /iː/, /i/, /ɪ/, /ə/ or some other similar sound. This is often the case with vowels in unstressed syllables.
 
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Charlie Bernstein

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Okay. If the difference is that clear and easy, why do these two respectable dictionaries give us different sounds?

https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/emit
https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/emit?q=emit

[STRIKE]?[/STRIKE]

You can argue that Macmillan doesn't recognize .

I wouldn't and won't.


But it does. Example: https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/empty_1

Different reference books can express different opinions.

You can pronounce emit with two short I's or with one long E and one short I. Empty is always pronounced with one long E and one short I.

Do you have any other word pairs that show the difference you're wondering about?
 
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GoesStation

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But who can distinguish between [ɪ] and in practice? Not in a scientific article?
If occurs only at the ends of words like happy and strictly, I don't think the distinction is significant and I don't think it affects comprehension. In fact, in my dialect I think it's fairly common to use [ɪ] if the next word is unstressed and begins with a consonant as in I'd be happy to do it.
 

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If occurs only at the ends of words like happy and strictly, ...

It can occur in other places, such as the underlined vowel in react, glorious, radiation.
 

GoesStation

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It can occur in other places, such as the underlined vowel in react, glorious, radiation.
Unless I'm mistaken, Americans use [i:] there. But again, the choice of or [i:] won't affect comprehension. It's not something a learner has to worry about too much.
 

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Nonverbis

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It's not something a learner has to worry about too much.

But Oxford Learner's Dictionary uses this phonetic symbol.
And that course on elementary phonetics course I mentioned at the very beginning of this topic mentions it on the threshold.

Maybe they consider this discrepancy important. But I catch the difference between the sounds. Therefore I can't reproduce at least one of them. For me they are all the same.
 

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But I catch the difference between the sounds. Therefore I can't reproduce at least one of them. For me they are all the same.
I don't understand what you are saying there. Do you mean that you can't catch/hear/recognise the difference between /i/, /ɪ/, and /ə/. If you are, don't worry about it. In some words, such as in the first syllable of emit, all three are possible. Most native speakers would not even be aware which they or their partner in conversation were using. In the final syllable of happy, only /i/ is natural, but /ɪ/ would not sound particularly unnatural, though /ə/ would.
 
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Tdol

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Do native and non-native speakers understand you when you say it? If so, you're doing OK.
 
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