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Phonetic Symbols: Pronunciation-ɪ

Phonetic Symbols and pronunciation of ɪ is an installment of 46 sounds of the English language. Language is ‘audible, articulate speech as produced by the action of the tongue and adjacent vocal organs…..The body of words and method of combining words used and understood by a considerable community, especially when fixed and elaborated by long use; a tongue’- Webster International Dictionary.

As you have taken heart to go through this pronunciation learning process you will also have to bear in mind this is a scientific method of learning to be familiar with signs and symbols of the English language and their sounds.

Having said that, the language is based on two objectives: competence and performance. ‘competence, says Noam Chomsky, is the native speaker’s knowledge of his language, the system of rules he has mustered, his ability to produce and understand rules, and performance is the study of the actual sentences themselves, of the actual use of a language, is a real-life situation’.

Again, whereas competence is a set of Principles that a speaker musters performance is what a speaker does in real life. Therefore, competence is a kind of code and performance is an act of encoding or decoding. Competence concerns the kind of structure the person has succeeded in mustering and internalizing, whether or not he utilizes them, in practice, without interference from many factors that play a rule in actual behavior’, says Noam Chomsky.

Phonetics is a scientific study production, transmission, and reception of speech sounds. It studies the defining characteristics of all human vocal noise and concentrates its attention on those sounds which occur in the language of the world. In learning phonetics, the speaker or learner uses his lungs, larynx, soft palate, tongue, and lips in the production of speech.

As we have already seen on the previous page, English Pronunciations of 46 Sounds, about Short Vowels, Long Vowels, Diphthongs, Voiced Consonants, and Voiceless Consonants. And we are going to be familiarized with the Vowels and their characteristics

Vowels may be defined with an open approximation without any obstruction, partial or complete, in the air passage. They are referred to as vocoids (vowel sounds) in phonetics. They can be described in terms of three variations:

  1. Height of tongue
  2. Part of the tongue which is raised or lowered
  3. Lip-rounding

Going by the descriptions, Vocoids or vowel sounds can be typified in three criteria:

How phonetic symbols work:

In order to describe the vowels, we usually draw three horizontal axes: front, central and back. So we have-

  1. Frontal Vowels: during the production of which the front of the tongue is raised toward the hard palate e.g. /ɪ/, /e/, /iː/ and /æ/.
  2. Back Vowels: during the production of which the back of tongue is raised towards the soft palate e.g.  /ʊ/, /uː/, /ɔː/, and /ɒ/ as in put, book caught and pot.
  3. Central Vowels: during the production of which the central part of the tongue is raised e.g. /ə/ and /ʌ/ as in about and but.

The following is of the Short vowels of frontal types: ɪ.

For Bengali speakers, according to Bangla Academy Dictionary, it is represented by –ই- দিয়ে। উচ্চারণত বাংলা লিপিতে ই এবং ঈ থাকলেও মুলত এদের একটি ধ্বনিই আছে আর তা হল-ই। কিন্তু ইংরেজিতে /ɪ/ এবং /iː/ বা ই এবং ঈ’র দুটি আদালা ধ্বনি। বাংলায় sit এবং seat শব্দ দুটি উচ্চারণে অভিন্ন মনে হলেও ইংরেজিতে দুটি উচ্চারণই সম্পূর্ণ আলাদা। The matter of the fact is, in Bengali there is no distinguishable differences between the two sounds. Therefore, the sound of the vowel mentioned is very short as its name represents and we must not mix up /ɪ/ with /iː/ long sound as used in seat.

The following table contains some examples of the sound. Following the table, we do not notice any differences between British and American pronunciation as we have taken only a few words for the sake of examples. /ˈmɪnɪt/ is the unit of time where /maɪˈnjuːt/ means to say tiny, extremely small or very detailed. 

WORDSBRITISH PRONUNCIATIONNORTH AMERICAN PRONUNCIATION
Kit/kɪt//kɪt/
Bid/bɪd/ /bɪd/
Hymn/hɪm//hɪm/
Minute/ˈmɪnɪt/-/maɪˈnjuːt/ˈmɪnɪt//maɪˈnjuːt/
Writ/rɪt//rɪt/
Indict/ɪnˈdaɪt//ɪnˈdaɪt /ˈ
Indoorɪndɔː(r)/ɪndɔːr/
Jewish/ˈdʒuːɪʃ//ˈdʒuːɪʃ/

I hope the sound of the phonetic symbol /ɪ/ is is clear now. We will see examples of another sound ʊ in the next post.

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