“E” and “I” Mishap: Pronunciation is Everything!

The English letter “E” you pronounce exactly the same as the Spanish letter “I”.

In English phonetics: EEEEE.

In Spanish phonetics: IIIIII.

Sounds the same, trust me.

At school we recently had a Spelling Bee, and a couple students misspelled their words based on this bilingually confusing phenomenon.

Like spelling destiny: D. E. S. T. E. N. Y. The student says “EEE” but really means the English long “I” sound.

(Sorry if this is phonetically confusing if you’re just used to one language!)

So while proctoring our classroom Spelling Bee, I had a flashback to one of my first years teaching in Costa Rica.

At the end of the school day, a daily habit is for students to fill in a planner regarding homework assignments, upcoming events, etc. Those first couple years of teaching, I insisted checking every single planner every single day. (Funny how that changes over time… Now I do “random checks”… Anyway!)

So one student that year would write daily in her planner that she had a “math worksheet” as homework.

But she didn’t understand the difference between the English EE and the Spanish I yet…

So she would replace the EE with an I…

“Math workshit.”

That’s exactly what she would write in her planner. Every. Day.

And I would just about die laughing every day seeing this written down. The irony! I mean, am I really assigning kids worthless crap, as she so repeatedly stated?

My response?I would write a double E over the I but that wasn’t enough to change her habit. I had to eventually sit her down and explain the difference between E and I and, you know, that it’s important to use the right one at the right time.

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