Every time I read a new and unknown word containing the letter 'i' I wonder how I should pronounce it. What's very frustrating for me is that, when I look up the words, I find out that my gut feeling was wrong for most of them.
A Google search only gave a few links talking about the pronunciation of this letter, but most times they are at a very low level.
From what I found and read, finally I daresay that:
- i is pronounce as /aɪ/ when i + consonant + e as in: time, site, fire, to entire, ...
- i is pronounce as /aɪ/ when i is followed by gh as in: sigh, sight, thigh, ...
- i is pronounce as /aɪ/ when i is preceded by a as in: aisle, ...
- i is pronounce as /aɪ/ when i is written as y: to try, to fly, to cry, ...
- else i is pronounce as /ɪ/: to hit, ship, sick
But there are many exceptions, too many in my opinion:
- to give, to notice, clandestine (/ɪ/ instead of /aɪ/)
- to fail, to contain (/eɪ/ instead of /aɪ/)
- gravity, paucity, hierarchy (/i/ instead of /aɪ/)
- pie, title, vital, giant, modifier (/aɪ/ instead of /ɪ/)
The following words are very interesting, because the pronunciation is swapped to what I expected:
My vocabulary is very rudimentary, but yet I know a lot of exceptions.
So, I know that it is hard to make pronunciation rules for English words. But how can I improve my gut feeling in pronouncing new words correctly?