The “I” Diphthong: Hi, Bye, My

The “I” diphthong: /aɪ/  (Rice/Die/Bike)

Diphthongs are sounds that contain two sounds within one syllable. If you were to clap for each syllable while you say these words, the diphthong would be part of just one clap. Let’s take a look a the commonly used “I diphthong, pronounced as/aɪ/ in both American and British English

How to produce /aɪ/ 

To make the /aɪ/  diphthong sound, you will need to know how to make the separate sounds of /a/ as in “start” and “arm”, and /ɪ/, as in “fish” and “pin”, shortly after each other. In a diphthong, the sound slides from the one sound, in this case the /a/ to the /ɪ/. You may notice that your jaw closes slightly as you move from the /a/ sound to the /ɪ/ sound.

Examples of the “I” Diphthong

As mentioned, we use this sound a lot in both British and American English.

The /aɪ/ sound can be created in multiple ways, including by writing i, i plus “magic e”, ie, ig, igh, y.   

  • Bind /baɪnd/
  • Bike /baɪk/
  • Die /daɪ/
  • Sign /saɪn/
  • Bright /braɪt/
  • Cry /kraɪ/
  • Eye /aɪ/

Need help?     

For more on diphthongs, check out these articles:

Would you like a little more coaching on your pronunciation with a professional ESL teacher?  To learn more about English pronunciation and practice it in conversation, join SpeakUp, a dynamic program that engages you in authentic conversations on relevant topics and provides you with feedback from a professional experienced English teacher.  In fact, the first week is free for you to try it out!

Sabine Hobbel

Sabine Hobbel

Sabine Hobbel has been helping people improve their English since 2004; the knowledge she gained from completing her Master's degrees in Psychology and in English helps her every day. She has lived in 4 different English-speaking countries and she currently lives in the Italian Alps.
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