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As a volunteer English teacher to newly landed to-be citizens of Canada, please bear with me, as I am trying to be as specific as possible, without being overtly wordy.

The word of the day in Merriam-Webster's daily post was "Itinerant."

Words that start with the letter "I" most often have a short, or informally, a soft vowel sound, if two consonants follow the letter "I." Many well used exceptions, such as if, in, and it.

Words such as intelligent, inconsolable, imbecile, irresistible, and most others follow this rule.

On the other hand, words such as itinerary, isolated, idol, ideal, and others give a long, or informally, a hard vowel sound.

Simply put, is there an English rule that could help a person newly learning the English language that would avail a more straightforward answer to this question? Thanks - Campaigner8

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    Why did you delete and repost this question? (This one: english.stackexchange.com/questions/558775/…) You shouldn’t do that: instead edit your original question. – Laurel Jan 27 at 23:25
  • Yes Laurel. I agree with your assertion. Though, I botched it up so badly, to be perfectly honest, I was embarrassed. – Campaigner8 Jan 27 at 23:34
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    Don't you think this is exactly the kind of question for which the English Language Learners (ELL) StackExchange was created? – linguisticturn Jan 28 at 0:19
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    There are no hard and fast rules that I'm aware of. I suspect the long vowel/diphthong is because of Open Syllable Lengthening. i-so-late, i-dol, i-deal, i-ti-ne-rant etc. – Decapitated Soul Jan 28 at 4:38
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    'Iran' and 'ideological' show that rules are going to be hard to find. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 28 at 13:33

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