The “OY” Diphthong: /ɔɪ/ (Boy, Toy, Noise)

The “oy” Diphthong: /ɔɪ/ (Choice/Voice/Noise)

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. In this article, we’ll talk about how to pronounce the “oy” diphthong, or /ɔɪ/ in British and American English. 

How to pronounce the “oy” diphthong

To make the /ɔɪ/  diphthong sound, you will need to know how to make the separate sounds of /ɔ/, as in “law” or “dog”, 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 /ɔ/ to the /ɪ/. You may notice that your lips stay mostly in the same position, but you can feel your tongue move within your mouth.

The spelling of this diphthong is slightly more predictable than most diphthongs: look for the combination “oi”, usually in the middle of a word or “oy” normally found at the end of the word.

Examples of the /ɔɪ/ diphthong

The “oy” diphthong is commonly used in both British and American English: 

  • Choice /tʃɔɪs/ 
  • Voice /vɔɪs/ 
  • Noise /nɔɪz/
  • Boy /bɔɪ/
  • Toy /tɔɪ/
  • Employ /ɪmˈplɔɪ/ 

Need help?

For more on diphthongs, check out these articles:


Do you need a little more help with your pronunciation?  To learn more about English pronunciation, get needed feedback and practice in conversation, join SpeakUp, a dynamic program that engages you in authentic conversations on relevant topics and provides you with feedback from a professional and 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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