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As a phonics teacher, I have long had a problem with finding the right explanation to my students about an inconsistent sound. Hope someone has the explanation to it here.
The long i sound in English represented by the IPA: aɪ exists in a lot of words including lie, by, tie, night, rice, lice, etc. Here comes the problem.
Not even talking about accents of different regions, but even within the same person, there seems to be an inconsistency. For example, when one says lice, he/she doesn' say lie-s, but with the vowel being something different. It also applies to tie vs tight, bye vs bite, fly vs flight, and many more. I wonder whether other phonics teachers point this out to their students and, if they do, how they explain it? Is there a rule to when the long i is one way and when the other? Or is it really the same but it's my ears that's playing tricks on me? Appreciate any help and discussions.