Spanish Vowel

When by itself or accented, the Spanish letter I is pronounced "ee," as in see or fee, but without the "y" sound at the end.

Por ejemplo…

i   the letter i
cinco   five
repita   repeat
pimienta   pepper

When I is unaccented and preceded or followed by a strong vowel, it diphthongs with that vowel and is thus pronounced more like "y":

abierto   open
baile   dance
estudioso   studious

Type of vowel

Hard vs soft   I is a soft vowel
Strong vs weak   I is a weak vowel

Please note that this explanation is only a guideline for the Spanish that I know, which is Castilian Spanish. There are many regional variations in Spanish pronunciation.

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