Could any English speaker recommend me the best spelling for an 'invented' word that would be pronounced something like /ˈlɛvɪ/.

As I'm no expert in phonetic symbols, those phonetic symbols are just approximate. The main concern is that the first syllable sounds more like an 'e' instead of an 'ɪ', while the second one is an 'ɪ' or 'iː', instead of an 'aɪ'.


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    Did you want it to rhyme with heavy? There's an actual English word, levy, that does. – Peter Shor Sep 13 '18 at 10:24
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    Yes, 'heavy' seems pretty accurate in pronunciation likeness. Would 'Levie' be pronounced that way too? – Thomas Sep 13 '18 at 10:34
  • @PeterShor, Hi Peter, thanks for the reply. I forgot to mention you in the previous entry. – Thomas Sep 13 '18 at 13:13
  • @FumbleFingers, But Stevie and eerie rhyme with levy and bevy, right? Or are those two rhyming with sky? – Thomas Sep 13 '18 at 13:15
  • OOps! My assertion By default the final vowel in Levie would be assumed to rhyme with Stevie, eerie was intended to point out that we can "derive" the default for your neologism by analogy with known words sharing the relevant orthography. I don't know what I was thinking of when I included that not levy and bevy, but I've removed that meaningless / ,misleading / incorrect comment. The final vowel is the same in all cases. What's different is that Levie would by default have the same "long e" as Stevie, not the "short e" of bevy, levy, bet, red. – FumbleFingers Sep 13 '18 at 13:43

IPA shows a slightly different pronunciation than what has been suggested:

l = "L" such as in law or lie;

ɛ = "E" such as in bed or Ed;

v = "V" such as in volt or vest;

ɪ = "I" such as in bit or ick.

My spelling for the made-up word would be "LEVIH" or "LEHVIH"


This is going to be difficult, and in the long run impossible, to express using existing patterns in English orthography.

That’s because if you mean for your word to end with the KIT vowel, then that is impossible under the rules of English phonotactics. That’s a checked (or lax) vowel and so cannot occur at the end of the word. Other checked vowels include those in TRAP, DRESS, STRUT, PUT.

So I’m pretty sure you want the FLEECE vowel, or if you distinguish them, the HAPPY vowel. That would be therefore not /ˈlɛvɪ/ but /ˈlɛvi/ or maybe /ˈlɛviː/ if you have phonemic length (Americans don’t).

As Peter Shor points out, we already have a word levy that is pronounced that way; likewise levee.

Even if you manage to get people to say some version which is like lev plus ick but without the ck, it will quickly fall back into the allowable patterns of English and end up being just levy (or levee) again to rhyme with bevvy (short for beverage) and Chevy (short for Chevrolet).

  • Thanks for the checked vowel explanation, didn't know about that. Let's end the word with one of those open /i/ or /i:/ sounds then. With levy isn't there a 'risk' of having the first syllable pronounced as an /i/ as well? As it is the case with the brand name Levi's. – Thomas Sep 13 '18 at 13:23
  • @Thomas What part of speech is this? Levy is a verb. – tchrist Sep 13 '18 at 18:19
  • I'm wanting to use it as a name – Thomas Sep 13 '18 at 22:14
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    @Thomas Oh then just call him Levvy. – tchrist Sep 13 '18 at 23:22

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