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How Do We Say "oi" and "oy"?

English is fraught with pronunciation and spelling challenges. Our accent modification clients are often puzzled with these RULES. Here is another tip to help you or your clients or  students in the ESOL classroom decipher some of the mysteries. A diphthong (pronounced "dif-thong") is a combination of two vowels. The letter combinations “oi” and “oy” are diphthongs and sound alike. The “oi” spelling is usually found in the middle of words, and the “oy” spelling typically occurs at the end. Of course, there will be exceptions to this rule.

When producing this diphthong, keep the tip of your tongue on the floor of your mouth, right behind your lower teeth. Your tongue is slightly lower than for the /o/ vowel. Round your lips slightly. Then shift to the high /I/ vowel by retracting your lips. Lift the tongue blade high in your mouth and move it toward the front of your mouth. Press the sides of your tongue against your upper teeth (molars). [audio wav=""][/audio]

Practice saying the following words and sentences aloud to practice this sound.

Record yourself, or try our Roy Moyers story in the RULES BY THE SOUND book or on the RULES BY THE SOUND online pronunciation platform






toy                              boy                             joy                               enjoy                       annoy

destroy                      coy                              employ                        deploy                     corduroy

rejoice                       voice                           foil                               boil                           point

boisterous                 noise                           poised                         coins                        avoid

moist                          broil                           appointment                choice                       join

 Now practice these sentences:

1. The secretary gave the lawyer the invoice, and was told to void it.

2. I try to avoid reading the tabloids because the stories annoy me.

3. When you crinkle aluminum foil, it makes a funny noise.

4. Can you point to where the dress is soiled?

5. I dropped some coins in the toy store and the little boy found them.

Add some of your own words below.


Find our RULES BY THE SOUND and other products for accent modification at our ESL RULES WEB STORE.