Although in general discussion you are right, for the purists, the long i
sound is a diphthong, spoken as <ah-ee>. You can observe its formation by
comparing the "proper" pronunciation with dialectical variants like the
Southern American "Ah" for the pronoun "I," as in the phrase, "Ah'm [I'm]
glad to meet you."
BTW, long a is also a diphthong: it is a quick elision from the short e
to the long e, thus <eh-ee>.
Thought you'd like to know.
Institute of Government, UNC-CH
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