This vowel is usually stressed, as in these words:
However, /ɪ/ can also be unstressed. In an unstressed syllable, /ɪ/ is pronounced quickly and softly.
- "i" - it, little
- "y" - symbol, mystery
- "u" - busy, business
- "ui" - build, biscuit
The sound /ɪ/ occurs in the common prefixes “im-“ and “in-“. These prefixes usually occur at the beginning of a verb or adjective. The vowel /ɪ/ is usually unstressed in the prefix, though not always.
These are both high, front vowels. However, /ɪ/ is pronounced with a relaxed tongue and /iy/ is pronounced with a tense tongue.
1. A. bit, B. beat
2. A. pill, B. peel
3. A. litter, B. leader
4. A. grin, B. green
5. A. risen, B. reason
5. A. filling, B. feeling
These are both lax, front vowels. However, /ɪ/ is a high vowel, and /ɛ/ is a mid vowel.
You can hear the difference between /ɪ/ and /ɛ/ in these words.
1. A. sit, B. set
2. A. lift, B. left
3. A. listen, B. lesson
4. A. pin, B. pen
5. A. fill, B. fell
6. A. bitter, B. better
Now, practice /ɪ/ in sentences. Say the words first, then the sentences.
1. visit - sister – sit - kitchen
When I visit my sister, we sit in the kitchen.
2. sick – picking – mittens
I’m sick of picking up your mittens.
3. lip – sipping – milk
I burned my lip by sipping hot milk.
4. river - isn't - swim - in
The river isn't deep enough to swim in.
5. list – picks - film
Can you list your top picks for best film?
6. city – visitor’s – sixth
We’re at the city visitor’s center on Sixth Street.
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