My first language is Russian. I tried to learn American English pronunciation of the word "lee" and other words containing
/ li / sound, like "delete". When I compared the recording of my voice with the given example of correct pronunciation, they sounded quite different. My pronunciation sounded like
/ li /, and the correct one sounded like
/ lɪi / with the sound
ɪ being very short. I believe, that my pronunciation was not correct, but I was told my pronunciation was ok.
I listened to many examples of pronunciation in dictionaries and in YouGlish and I still believe my pronunciation had a distinguishable Russian accent.
I would be glad if any American Native Speakers could confirm one of the two things:
- there was a Russian or other Foreign accent in my pronunciation or...
- my pronunciation sounded like an American Native Speaker without any foreign accent would pronounce it.
I attached a screen recording video. In this recoding I first press a button and the correct dictionary pronunciation plays, and then I press another button and a recording of my pronunciation plays.
Update: I found an article saying that /iː/ is a diphthong.
Here’s John Wells on FLEECE in Accents of English, 1982:
the general phonetic nature of this vowel could be adequately represented as /i/, as /iː/, or indeed as /ɪi/, /ɪj/ (p. 140)
Gussenhoven & Broeders (English pronunciation for student teachers, 2nd ed., 1997):
RP /iː/, as in piece, sea, is a close, front, unrounded vowel. It is typically somewhat diphthongised, much like [ɪi] (p. 95)