Pure vowel 1: /i/

We’ll start our journey through the Spanish vowel sounds by looking at /i/. Remember, all the phonemes are represented within two slashes: “/”.

How it sounds

/i/ sounds similar to the pronunciation of our English letter “e” . The vowel length should be fairly short, somewhere between “bin” and “been” in English.



Mouth position

To make the sound, the lips need to be spread quite wide. The tip of the tongue is placed forward and up – very close to the front of the roof of the mouth. The muscles around the mouth are tensed.

What to avoid

In English, many people end the /i/ sound with a “y” (from “yoghurt). This results in an “unpure” vowel sound:


We need to keep the vowel pure, so it’s important to try to avoid the “y” type sound we might be tempted to use.