Pronunciation / the relation between sound-spelling [i-ɛ]

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/i/ as 
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"Paris” or "dix” 
The "i”  in French is a high-pitch and sharp sound. To pronounce an /i/ correctly, you have to stretch your body: your tongue is far in front of your mouth, your lips are stretched. You have to smile “from ear to ear”, keep your mouth almost closed.
 
[i] - "ici” 

The sound [i] can be spelled:
  • i: c’est ici, la famille, habitent, Louisa 
  • y: le lycée, le pays (exception)
 
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/ɛ/ as 
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"sept” 
The sound /ɛ/ ("è”) is more loose than the /i/. Your mouth and body are relaxed. Your tongue stays forward. You have to smile, but with an open mouth.
 
[ɛ] - « père »

The sound [ɛ] can be written:
  • è: le père, mon frère
  • ê: être en Suisse, peut-être
  • ei: elle est enseignante, treize 
  • ai:  sur la chaise
  • e: je m’appelle, sept (when the letter "e” is followed by two consonants.)

Practical exercises

Pronunciation: The sound and spelling relationship of [i- ɛ]

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Listen • Pronunciation (Sons / Voyelles - i, u, o...)