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How do I know, in english language, when the letter "i" will sound like "y" or like "i"?

How do I know, in english language, when the letter "i" will sound like "y" or like "i"?
Ex: in the word "Microsoft" the letter "i" sounds like "y". In the word "mini" the letter i sounds like "i". How can I know how it would sound in other words.

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    Good question. In most cases you'll just have to be patient and learn the words as you go.

    One general rule is that if the "i" is followed by a silent e, then it's a long "i" (ai/y) sound. For example, mine, fine, Proserpine, pie, columbine. However, there are still exceptions (eg. amphetamine, Celestine and cutie have an "ee" sound). If a double consonant follows, then it's a short "i": little, bitter, hippocampus. I'm sure there are exceptions to that as well.

    Keep learning and listening. :)

     

    The "I" in Microsoft does not sound like a "Y". There are 2 sounds a vowel can have, and they are the alphabet sound or a relative sound. If the letter says it alphabet sound as in the word "cake", you hear a distinct "a" sound just like when you say the alphabet. If the letter "a" has the relative sound as in the word "father" you do not hear the vowel sound "a", but rather the "ah" sound. I teach an excellent class using the book "Clear Speech" if you are interested in improving your pronunciation from a professional. If you don't want to study with me, I am willing to send you the book for free. Just send me your email address I would like to help you.

     

    Here is a free online Talking English Pronunciation Dictionary - simply click over your entry to hear it pronounced.

    www.howjsay.com

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