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Short ih vs long ee (pronunciation tips) (Fluency MC)

Are you confused about these two sounds? Many languages don't have these two vowel sounds, so many foreigners can't make the difference between "live" and "leave" because they can't hear the difference, they think these two words sound more or less the same! But for an English native these sounds are completely different and it can be very confusing for them if you don't make the difference. This teacher will help you with that.

You can also go to our vowels page to practise the difference.

It is very important to remember that the difference between the vowel in ship /ɪ/  and the vowel in tea /i:/ is not simply a question of length. Length helps, but even if they had the same duration, these two vowels would still sound completely different for a native.

/ɪ/ is shorter, but also more relaxed and "dull", "obscure", less clear and defined (and a bit similar to the sound /e/ in many languages).

/i:/ is longer, but also more tense and strong, more clear and defined.

In phonetic transcription we use the colom (:) to signify that the vowel is long.

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