What is the difference in pronunciation between "и" and "й"?
They sound very similar and I can't really hear a difference.
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Russian "и" is a vowel and sounds more like the 'ee' in "tweet", while "й" is a consonant and sounds more like the first sound of "young". Btw, you could try listening to words on http://www.lingvo-online.ru/ to hear the difference.
The Russian "и" sounds like the vowel [i] in the International Alphabetical Alphabet (IPA) and like the letters 'ee' in the English words "bee", "see" and "tweet".
The Russian й" sounds like the semivowel/consonant [j] in the IPA and like the letter 'y' in the English words "young", "year" and "you", and the letter 'u' in the English words "use" and "unit".
The difference between both is that the middle part of the tongue is raised to the hard palate only in [j]. I suggest watching this video: https://youtu.be/XhqGU1WxOfc .
Russians transliterate boy as бой. The word бои is a plural form of бой and is pronounced distinctly differently — something like buyee.
So и is a vowel and sounds longer than the consonant й. Your confusion stems from the feature of Russian pronunciation where Russian sticks an invisible й in front of many vowels, which makes them sound a little longer. For instance, when Russians say ем (I'm eating), they actually say something like yem. So in the first example бои has that invisible й in front of и.