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    #1

    pronunciations of the letter 'i' and 'y' in words that contain 'oi' or 'oy'

    Is the pronunciation of the letter 'i' in the word 'oil' the same as that of the letter 'i' in the word 'ill' (and other words with a stressed short /i/, such as 'hit' and 'crystal')?

    Also, is the pronunciation of the letter 'y' in the word 'boy' the same as that of the letter 'y' in the word 'gym' (and other words with a stressed short /i/, such as 'system' and 'shrimp')?

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    #2

    Re: pronunciations of the letter 'i' and 'y' in words that contain 'oi' or 'oy'

    I would argue that the letter is not pronounced at all -- certainly not as a separate vowel.

    "Boy" is a one syllable word. The "oy" is pronounced as one particular sound, not as an "o" sound followed by a "y" sound.

    Same thing with "oil." There are large variations on how this word is pronounced in different dialects. But, generally, the "oi" is the same as in "boy."

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: pronunciations of the letter 'i' and 'y' in words that contain 'oi' or 'oy'

    I agree with Soothing Dave (as usual). Both "oi" and "oy" usually indicate diphthongs with identical pronunciation.

    But not always. For example "coincide" has three syllables, "co" "in" and "cide".

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    #4

    Re: pronunciations of the letter 'i' and 'y' in words that contain 'oi' or 'oy'

    No & no, IMO.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: pronunciations of the letter 'i' and 'y' in words that contain 'oi' or 'oy'

    If you'll excuse the plug, see here. The book's not for beginners, but it shows how any pair of written vowels can be pronounced - sometimes dozens of possibilities for one pair.

    b

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    #6

    Re: pronunciations of the letter 'i' and 'y' in words that contain 'oi' or 'oy'

    Sorry to have been late to say thanks to SoothingDave, probus, Tdol and BobK.

    According to the Oxford and Cambridge English dictionaries, the pronunciations of the words "oil', 'ill', 'boy' and 'gym' are as follows:
    oil /ɔɪl/
    ill/ɪl/ 
    boy /bɔɪ/
    gym /dʒɪm/

    Looking forwartd to more replies.

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    #7

    Re: pronunciations of the letter 'i' and 'y' in words that contain 'oi' or 'oy'

    You need to know the meaning in IPA terms of a diphthong phoneme: the diphthong phoneme /ɔɪ/ doesn't mean 'the speaker pronounces a fully realized /ɔ/ followed by a fully realized /ɪ/' (and in any case 'fully realized' there can have a plethora of meanings dependent on phonological context); besides, not many modern transcriptions use /ɔ/ as a monophthong phoneme in English (though some systems did use it once, where today we have /ɒ/ - the sounds of spoken English have changed since Daniel Jones made his recordings in 1917).

    A diphthong is dynamic; the tongue moves all the time. If I say /ɑ:/ I can keep saying it for as long as my breath lasts. You could say 'Stop' at any stage and my tongue would be in the same position. But because the tongue keeps moving throughout a diphthong, the same isn't possible; the sound is always changing. So a diphthong phoneme can't be said to be 'made up of' a string of monophthong phonemes (though for the last tiny fraction of a second the end of an /ɔɪ/ phoneme would - if you recorded it and played it in a continuous loop for long enough - be 'like' /ɪ/.

    b

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    #8

    Re: pronunciations of the letter 'i' and 'y' in words that contain 'oi' or 'oy'

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    You need to know the meaning in IPA terms of a diphthong phoneme: the diphthong phoneme /ɔɪ/ doesn't mean 'the speaker pronounces a fully realized /ɔ/ followed by a fully realized /ɪ/' (and in any case 'fully realized' there can have a plethora of meanings dependent on phonological context); besides, not many modern transcriptions use /ɔ/ as a monophthong phoneme in English (though some systems did use it once, where today we have /ɒ/ - the sounds of spoken English have changed since Daniel Jones made his recordings in 1917).

    A diphthong is dynamic; the tongue moves all the time. If I say /ɑ:/ I can keep saying it for as long as my breath lasts. You could say 'Stop' at any stage and my tongue would be in the same position. But because the tongue keeps moving throughout a diphthong, the same isn't possible; the sound is always changing. So a diphthong phoneme can't be said to be 'made up of' a string of monophthong phonemes (though for the last tiny fraction of a second the end of an /ɔɪ/ phoneme would - if you recorded it and played it in a continuous loop for long enough - be 'like' /ɪ/.

    b
    Thank you for your reply, BobK.

    In pronouncing the diphthong phoneme /ɔɪ/, does not your tongue move from the position of sound 'ɔ' to sound 'ɪ'?
    Last edited by TaiwanPofLee; 16-Dec-2014 at 16:38.

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    #9

    Re: pronunciations of the letter 'i' and 'y' in words that contain 'oi' or 'oy'

    Quote Originally Posted by TaiwanPofLee View Post
    Thank you for your reply, BobK.

    In pronouncing the diphthong phoneme /ɔɪ/, does not your tongue move from the position of sound 'ɔ' to sound 'ɪ'?
    Yes; but the time your tongue stays in those positions is so short that it doesn't produce an audible monophthong.

    b

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    #10

    Re: pronunciations of the letter 'i' and 'y' in words that contain 'oi' or 'oy'

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Yes; but the time your tongue stays in those positions is so short that it doesn't produce an audible monophthong.

    b
    Thank you for your reply, BobK.

    I agree to your opinion, and I am even in the opinion that the pronunciation of the word 'you' is different from that of the alphabetical letter 'u'. The pronunciation of the word 'you' is a clear consonant /j/ followed by a clear vowel /u:/.
    Last edited by TaiwanPofLee; 17-Dec-2014 at 07:07.

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