As already seen in Lesson 24, the diphthong (aɪ) may be spelled several different ways. A recurrent difficulty is knowing whether a word contains a diphthong (aɪ) or a simple vowel (ɪ). This is one of the most common pronunciation mistakes. We will try to remedy this by targeting a few current examples, but practice is ultimately the most important factor in progress.
Please Note! The spelling I + consonant + E should usually create a diphthong. However, there are also many words constructed in this way that are not pronounced with a diphthong, as in machine, engine, and promise.
(ɪ) discipline, linen, kitchen, printer, intelligent
(aɪ) website, shy, sci-fi, genocide, compromise
(ɪ) an interesting film, a silly promise, a busy officer
(aɪ) a night flight, high in the sky
(ɪ) Just a minute!
(aɪ) It’s a sign of the times.
(ɪ) It’s not legitimate!
(aɪ) Come on! Rise and shine!
(ɪ) She had the courage to read the message.
Nathan: Angie, the washing machine is finished!
Angie: Just a minute! I’m busy in the kitchen. Can you get it?
Nathan: I’m trying to fix the printer now. Besides, I don’t know how it works.
Angie: Just press the button on the right. It’s not rocket science!
Nathan: Well, I don’t know this stuff. I’m a website designer, remember?
Angie: Maybe you should spend more time doing the laundry…
Nathan: Maybe, but it would be better to unwind when I come home at night.
Angie: What about me? Do you mind if I work night and day?
Nathan: I’m sorry. I promise I’ll try to spend more time helping out.
Angie: What we need is a compromise, not another silly promise!
- The Diphthong (aɪ)