I'm wondering about the dual pronunciations of the letter /i/ in open syllables. Usually it has the realization [a͡ɪ], representing the regular outcome of long i after the great vowel shift, but sometimes it is [iː], as in "saline". Can anyone provide some theories on why this is?
(My theory is that, as spelling has remained the same since the pronunciation of the letter changed while English has continued to take in more and more foreign loan words, this is an imitation of the letter /i/'s pronunciation in most other languages, that is, a high front vowel. Or maybe it has something to do with stress patterns?)
I wasn't sure whether to post this here or in the linguistics stack exchange.