English JSSCE Notes

Vowels /ei/

VOWEL /ei /

This is a diphthong. The articulation of /ei/ starts with a sound whose quality is like that of /e/ and ends with another sound which has the quality of /i/. The lips are ‘spread’ for the production of /ei/. The common spelling symbols are shown below:

‘a’ e.g. face, lame, bane, mate.

‘ai’ e.g. rain, main, lain, gain.

‘ay’ e.g. pay, way, ray, may.

‘ei’  e.g. eight

‘ey’ e.g. they

‘ea’ e.g. break.

Learners of English often pronounce /ei/ as /e/. This is an error in pronunciation which you should always avoid.

Now, pronounce the following pairs of words which show the contrast between /e/ and /ei/ clearly.

 /e/                                                      /ei/

Let                                                      late

  Fell                                                     fail  

    Men                                                   main

       Wet                                                    wait

           West                                                  waist

               Get                                                      gate


Indicate the vowel used in each of the following words. Enclose the vowel symbols in slanting lines.

  1. Plait
  2. Wait
  3. Head
  4. Break
  5. Tape
  6. Pass


Look at the words listed below and identify those that contain vowel /ei/.

  1. Main
  2. Way
  3. Gain
  4. Leave
  5. Quay
  6. Take
  7. Chair
  8. Pair
  9. Pail
  10. Made.

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