Speech Work: Diphthongs /ei/ and /ai/
A diphthong is a sequence of two vowels. Diphthongs are generally described in terms of their direction of movement within the vowel space. Their articulation involves the tongue moving or gliding from one vowel sound to another. These two vowel sounds are pronounced so closely together that they almost sound like one instead of two!
This is the diphthong used in day, bait, and fail. There is no identifiable break between /e/ and /i/. In the production of diphthongs. The first part is usually articulated with great energy which gradually gets reduced with the glide towards the final part of the diphthongs /i/.
/ei/ – has different common spelling symbols which are listed below:
“a” – pray, and, raid, hale
“ai” – paid, gate, tail, laid
“ay” – tray, may, bray, slay
“ei” – eight, vein, freight, weight
“ey” – prey, they
“ea” – great, steak
Note: The diphthongs /ei/ is often pronounced as /e/ which is wrong and must be avoided.
The correct pronunciation of sound /ei/ is correctly spelt in the following constrast.
The articulation of this sound starts with a sound which has the quality of /a/ but the quality changes with a gradual glide toward /i/. the opening of the mouth gets smaller with the closing movement of the lower jaw following the glide towards /i/.
/ai/ – is represented with the following spelling symbols.
i, y – time, write, type, tyrant
igh, eigh – high, might, height
ei, either, height, neither, aisle
ie – fried, died, lied,
uy – buy, guy
1. Write out the right phonetic symbol for the letters in bold. Example: bite /aI/
2. Write five words each on diphthong: /ai/ and /ei/.